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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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cross country skiing

BackcountryHuts.net

Many backcountry huts in the Australian Alps are either intended only for emergency use or are fairly uninviting places to stay (in contrast with many of the ones in high visitation areas of the Tasmanian high country). But the best ones can be fantastic spots for a winter camp when the conditions outside aren’t great.

The best resource I know for locating huts in the mountains is Backcountry Huts. You can search by area or state and find a huge number of buildings, from the ruinous to the fabulous.

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Lake Mountain seeking ski patrollers

Recruiting volunteer ski patrollers

With the 2017 ski season fast approaching (hopefully), Lake Mountain Ski Patrol (LMSP) is recruiting volunteers to join the weekend patrol team.

Ski patrol is a great way of volunteering and helping others, as well as spending time and being active in a fantastic environment.

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Backcountry film festival – Melbourne, May 30

As the Alps gets another blast of pre winter snow, I’m happy to be able to tell you that we have a date for this year’s backcountry film festival program in Melbourne!

The BC festival is the annual mini film festival that covers human powered winter adventure.

The Melbourne show will be held on Tuesday May 30.

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The winter of awesome

Apart from that beautiful dump of snow across the Alps, autumn has been warm and dry so far. But winter is just over the horizon, and it’s time to plan trips and lock in dates. Famed snow forecaster, The Grasshopper, saysI am going to forecast a slightly worse than average season this year based on the initial climate model forecasts which hint at a developing El Nino going hand in hand with a positive IOD event”. But s/he goes on to say “It’s still definitely going to be worth getting the season pass, as we are bound to get our fair share of epic days. So don’t get too dis heartened”.

Here’s a short list of some of the backcountry-related snow events that I’m aware of.

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Hotham to Dinner Plain ski race

This year will mark 25 years for this race from The General at Mt Hotham to the Dinner Plain Hotel. Saturday August 6, starting at 11am.

It is billed as “an event for skiers of all ages and abilities, and you’re likely to see first year skiers lining up with Australian champions. While we encourage everyone to get involved, the event does require you to be able to ski the 12 kilometres without assistance within 2 hours or thereabouts and be able to cope with the wild conditions this mountain can often produce. Entry fees remain at $20 for adults and $5 for juniors, and as always if we get a good rollup then the excess funds can go into more bottles of wine as spot prizes!”

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Proposed Falls Creek Altitude Training Centre at Nordic Bowl

The Nordic Bowl, on the edge of the Falls Creek resort, has long been a play area for XC skiers and others to enjoy the snow.

The Falls Creek Resort Management (FCRM) proposes constructing a sporting oval and mixed use facility at the Nordic Bowl. An application for a planning permit has been submitted to the Minister for Planning Department of Environment Land and Water.

The following information comes from materials posted on the Backcountry Forum.

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Recruitment drive for Lake Mountain ski patrol

Lake Mountain Ski Patrol (LMSP) is gearing up for the 2016 winter season and has launched a recruitment drive for more volunteers to join its weekend team.

Volunteer patrollers need to be 18 years and older, and be fit, competent cross country skiers with a minimum Level 2 First Aid qualification.

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The Grasshopper prediction for winter 2016

It’s April: two months til winter… Which gets us all thinking about what type of season it will be.

Most Australian snow enthusiasts know about The Grasshopper, who writes snow forecasts for MountainWatch (‘resident meteorology sensei’ at MountainWatch).

The first prediction for 2016 has arrived.

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Snow Sense

As we all know, backcountry is the new black. The ski and boarding magazines are full of stories about the western faces of the Main Range, Bogong and Feathertop. And while there are lots of new outdoor enthusiasts who are getting a good all round experience of conditions and terrain, as well as sound BC skills, we have probably all seen the 20 something (mostly male) boarders who are fresh out of the resort and ready to shred, but lacking in BC experience. This is all great. But what it does mean is that we are finding ever more good resort riders and skiers getting out into backcountry areas and big terrain, without having done any apprenticeship in the mountains. What this means is more rescues, injuries and other incidents.

As recently noted on Mountain Journal, there is now a site that reports on snow conditions for backcountry users in the Snowy Mountains, called Snow Safety Australia.

There is also a site that covers conditions right across the mainland Alps, called Snow Sense.

Snow Sense is the mastermind of Simon Murray. It seeks to cover weather as well as snow conditions across three key regions: the Kosciusko area, north east Victoria and the Central Victorian Alps. Regular updates are made, called in by ski patrollers, generally after the dawn patrol. It is a fantastic resource for all backcountry skiers, riders and snow shoers who like to get out into the higher country.

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