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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

SplitFest 2017

As far as I’m concerned, SplitFest – the Splitboarding festival – is the highlight of the winter backcountry calendar.

You get a great party in Jindabyne on the Friday night, a camp out up in the mountains at Island Bend with a big mob of fantastic people, and an outing with Adam West, who will share his knowledge of the backcountry, reading terrain and all things splitboarding.

Continue reading “SplitFest 2017”

Stay safe out there.

We have snow! Time to get out in the mountains.

A big part of having a successful trip (and not having to rely on the emergency Spam and VB in the hut) is to research the weather and conditions.

Continue reading “Stay safe out there.”

Seasonal road closures start this weekend

Many roads and tracks in the mountains are seasonally closed to vehicle traffic each year. These tracks are closed to vehicles for visitor safety, to maintain water quality and prevent erosion during the wetter months as rain and snow softens the tracks, making them vulnerable to damage.

Seasonal road closures generally operate from the long weekend in June through to the end of October, but may be extended due to seasonal conditions. Continue reading “Seasonal road closures start this weekend”

Snow Without Skiing? A New Alpine Experience.

This is an interesting idea: an alpine experience for people who want to visit the mountains in winter but don’t want to ski or ride. A new business venture, Alpine Nature Experience, is setting up operations at Wire Plain at Mount Hotham this winter.

It’s driven by Jean-Francois Rupp, who grew up in the French Alps.

His aim is to help visitors ‘truly immerse themselves in the remote, pristine Australian alpine environment’.

“I’ve realised that a lot of people don’t go to the snow because they don’t like to ski, so I wanted people to come up to the snow and discover how good it is without having to do that,” Jean-Francois said. “It’s the same as going to the beach, where you don’t have to surf to enjoy being by the ocean, it’s a similar idea and an alternative offer to skiing.”

The Alpine Nature Experience at Mount Hotham starts with an evening snowshoe walk through the majestic snow gums, weaving its way to a hidden ‘eco-village’ and central tipi with a fireplace. Once a the tipi, Jean-Francois will share French cooking tips and guests will preparing a French cheese fondue.

You can sign up for emails or book one of the trips here.

This looks like a good, low impact way to expand what’s on offer within land designated as being part of the alpine resort. Good luck with the venture, hope it goes well, Jean-Francois.

Lamont magazine

Any skier, rider or MTB enthusiast who has travelled in North America will know that there is a wealth of mountain themed magazines and media on that continent. Journals that celebrate the people and culture of mountain towns, the outdoor life, and the landscapes that make it all possible. Australia, with a much smaller population and a lot fewer mountain towns, has traditionally been a bit sparse when it comes to this type of media.

So, it’s a real delight to see a new magazine which is seeking to explore and celebrate the ‘mountains and the people whose lives and loves are in them’.

Lamont magazine is the brainchild of Jindabyne-based photographer Mandy Lamont, and describes itself as a ‘mountain lifestyle magazine’. Having worked hard to make her life in the high country sustainable through pursing a range of ventures, she is now sharing her love of the mountains with others through this magazine.

Continue reading “Lamont magazine”

Snowy brumby cull plan to be shelved

The Telegraph is reporting that the state government proposal to cull ­almost the entire population of wild horses in the Snowy Mountains is set to be shelved after a government deadlock.

Sadly it seems that the ‘horses are a cultural icon and must be protected’ interests have won out (for the time being) over sensible land management. For a summary of the environmental impacts of wild horses, check here.

Continue reading “Snowy brumby cull plan to be shelved”

The Big 3: best winter backcountry trips in Australia

Finally! Winter is here. A number of resorts have opened early – Baw Baw, Buller, and Perisher …

By now you’ve probably locked in lots of trips (here’s some ideas of great BC related events if you haven’t already got a full schedule, and some ideas on getting backcountry skills if you need them). A bit of resort is fun. Weekend trips are great. But winter is not winter without at least one big outing. Here’s my shortlist of the best winter backcountry touring trips in the country.

Continue reading “The Big 3: best winter backcountry trips in Australia”

The 10 Peak Challenge

Through summer and autumn, seven year old Mt Beauty local Mack Hull has been working his way through a series of walks to the top of the 10 highest peaks in the state.

His 10 Peaks Challenge aimed to generate funds for Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA). DWA assisted thousands of individuals with disabilities to participate in winter sports.

He has now raised more than $1,600!

There is still time to donate to the Challenge: All money raised will go to Disabled Wintersport Australia and can be made to the following Bendigo Bank account.
Mack’s 10 Peaks Challenge
BSB 633000
Acct 160028809

Having finished the Challenge, Mack is now focused on helping out DWA on the snow at Falls Creek this winter.

What a fantastic effort.

There’s a great set of photos of all the peaks on Mack’s ‘Challenge’ facebook page.

 

Early open at resorts

The Alps received some fantastic snow falls in the last couple of days, prompting at least two resorts to announce they will open a week early.

Perisher has announced it will open a week early (Saturday June 3). Queen’s Birthday weekend is the traditional start to the season in the resorts.

Mt Buller has also been promoting its new snow making technology. The resort spent $1.6m on its ‘Snowfactory’, which is already making and stockpiling artificial snow, and is now spreading this to create a base for operations.Mt Buller will start operations from friday night (June 2).

Hotham has also invested $4.4 million in snowmaking over the past two summers, with the new system, covering more terrain, ready to go. Most resorts have started making snow on the back of this recent weather system. There is a nice summary of how the resorts fared in terms of snowfall on Mountain Watch.

The question, of course, is: is this the start of the 2017 snow pack, or the last autumn snow fall?

Snow forecaster The Grasshopper suggests that 2017 will be a ‘slightly worse than average season’ but it now looks like we will skiing/ riding opportunities over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, at least in the resorts. And unless there is some kind of rain event disaster in the next couple of weeks, it looks like this is the beginning of the base for the season.

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