Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


Mt Baw Baw

Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts

There is no doubt that climate change is already impacting on snow conditions in Australia, and hence impacting on the industries that need snow to be viable. When it comes to responding to this existential threat, there are three key options: ignore it (in the hope it will go away), reduce our contribution to the problem (also called mitigation) or just try to adapt to the changes that the problem brings (also known as adaptation). With few exceptions, ski resorts in Australia have opted for the first and the third options. A sensible, responsible and forward thinking ski industry would be doing both adaptation and mitigation.

A report released by the Victorian government will help local resorts steer themselves along the path of adaptation.

Continue reading “Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts”

Logging stops in Quoll habitat

Great news! Logging machines have left Mount Baw Baw near where the endangered Spot-tailed Quoll was found. Congratulations to Minister Lily D’Ambrosio MP for taking action. Send the Minister an email in your own words thanking her for acting and encouraging her to ensure the protections stop further logging that is planned nearby.

You can write your own email here >>>

Baw Baw resort installs ‘snow factory’

Mt Baw Baw is adding a snow factory to guarantee snow for the 2018 season. It’s a TechnoAlpin Snow Factory 100 R717 and is currently being installed. Mt Buller introduced one last year and Buller Mountain Manager Nick Reeves told SnowAction it was a ‘game changer’, allowing ‘skiing right from the get go of the season’ (although a problematic side issue is that the mountain doesn’t have enough water supplies for snow making, resulting in plans for a destructive new dam).

General Manager of Baw Baw resort, John Fascio, says that the factory will allow their snow season to open earlier than the usual Queen’s Birthday weekend. “We’re targeting June 1st, everything going well”.

It’s not clear whether the factory will be run off renewable or dirty electricity.

[IMAGE: Mt Baw Baw resort]

7 peaks ride

Its October, so its ‘officially’ road riding season. While there are endless riding opportunities across the entire Australian Alps, the ‘iconic’ series of rides in Victoria is called the 7 Peaks Ride.  It’s designed as an ‘at-your-own pace’ cycling challenge which runs from October to April.

The rides take you to the top of the seven Victorian Alpine Resorts, each one ranging from 6 to 40 kilometres in length.

The idea is that you register online and track each ride using the 7 Rides app. You can find out more and register here. Of course you can get out there and do the rides. Either way its epic, with a total distance of just over 450 kilometres.

Keep an eye out for willows and other weeds

The following comes from Parks Victoria.

Help us eradicate willow and other noxious weeds from the Baw Baw and Alpine National Parks by participating in the West Gippsland Peatland Community Threat Surveillance Program, keeping an eye out for willows while you are visiting.

Continue reading “Keep an eye out for willows and other weeds”

7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge

The 7 Peaks Ride is an iconic set of rides up seven mountains in the Victorian High Country. You do each ride when it suits you, but has a five month window, with riders being encouraged to do at least four of the rides. The riding season starts this week.

The peaks are Mt Baw Baw, Mount Buffalo, Mt Buller, Dinner Plain, Falls Creek, Hotham, and Lake Mountain. Each ride involves a serious ride from the valley.

As you go you get your 7 Peaks passport stamped.

You can tackle the 7 Peaks any time from October 16 2015 to March 31 2016.

Full details here.

Baw Baw resort under private management.

After struggling financially for several years, it has been announced that the day-to-day management of the Baw Baw alpine resort has been handed to private enterprise.

As with many key decisions taken by the current Coalition government, it appears to be blind to the reality of climate change. Climate science is consistently pointing out that the lower elevation resorts will suffer from shorter and more erratic snowcover earlier compared with higher resorts. Yet government continues to ignore the huge elephant in the room.

Like other resorts, Baw Baw has sought to broaden its appeal in recent years, with a strong focus on ‘green season’ activity and an emphasis on arts and culture, and community-orientated events. Let’s hope the new management continues to develop a diverse range of low impact events that can draw in larger numbers of people.

Anare lodge
Anare lodge

According to resort management:

Belgravia Leisure will manage the resort on a fee for service basis “with the incentive to improve financial performance”.

Board Chair Vicky Papachristos welcomes Belgravia who has a proven track record in the leisure industry, managing over eighty facilities throughout Australia including successfully managing Lake Mountain.

“I am delighted with Belgravia’s appointment because this will allow them to gain an understanding of the resort’s commercial operations and to assist us with improving the long term sustainability of the resort for the future”.

“We are looking to them to bring new ideas and expertise to help us achieve our vision for Mount Baw Baw to become a more vibrant centre for year-round alpine experiences.

“For some years the resort has required additional funding from Government to remain operational. This funding will continue but we will be drawing on Belgravia’s expertise to reduce this burden on the taxpayer and produce a better overall offering,” she said.

“Belgravia will apply their significant experience to manage the resort and produce efficiencies. We will work with them to develop a plan to secure investment in the resort to ensure the long term independent financial sustainability of the resort.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith said: “The private operation of Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort by Belgravia Leisure is a major boost for tourism and the economy. It will help to build a more innovative and sustainable future for the resort so that its facilities can be enjoyed by Victorians and visitors to the area.”

Belgravia Leisure will assume management responsibilities for the resort immediately and in time for the 2014 snow season. They will report to the Board and will be subject to the same legislation and regulations that are currently in place.

The contract follows the tender process that commenced in November 2013 seeking expressions of interest from private operators to manage and operate Mount Baw Baw. The contract is for one-year with the option to extend this arrangement.

new management at lake Mountain & Baw Baw?

wtg_14The Victorian government recently called for Expressions of interest for long term private managers to take on running the Lake Mountain and Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resorts. Tender applications have now closed.

As noted recently on this site, the Victorian Government has previously decided to open up the state’s national parks to further development and private investment. The depth of this agenda is not yet clear.

The government describes Mt Baw Baw as
“an all-season alpine resort, open year round for summer and winter adventures. It is Victoria’s affordable, family friendly ‘learn to ski’ destination. Activities include downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, tobogganing, terrain parks and other event in the white season, plus walking, hiking, cycling, downhill and mountain biking and a number of events in the green season”.

And Lake Mountain as
Lake Mountain is a Crown Land reserve which is open year round for summer and winter experiences. It is Victoria’s affordable family getaway in the great outdoors, and is Australia’s premier cross country skiing and snow play resort. Only a two hour drive from Melbourne, Lake Mountain is Melbourne’s closest alpine resort.

Given the prognosis of expected warmer conditions and less reliable snowfalls as a result of climate change, any private operator considering taking on a new project in these lower elevation resorts will need to be building up the ‘green season’ activity at the resorts.

This begs a fairly obvious question: with the pro development agenda of the current state government and a limited ability to run economically viable resorts based on snow activity at lower elevations, what devil in the detail might emerge once the new operators are announced?

Let’s hope this doesn’t become an opportunity for new operators to radically increase the footprint and impact of activity at these resorts.

eco arts retreats at Baw Baw

This comes from Baw Baw resort. A nice bit of low impact value adding to the resort.

eco_arts_retreats-703x1024The ECO Arts Retreat program consists of Studio and En Plein Air workshop elements inspired by the Pristine Alpine Environment which surrounds you at the Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort. Mixed in with some of the fundamental theory aspects of landscape painting and photography, this years program will be facilitated by the current Mt Baw Baw Arts & Culture Ambassador, Educator and Environmental Expressionist, Peter Biram.

A series of Photography and Painting retreats will be available during summer on the mountain:
9/10 November 2013 : Eco Arts Retreat #1 : Painting
14/15 December 2013 : Eco Arts Retreat #2 : Photography
11/12 January 2014 : Eco Arts Retreat #3 : Painting
1/2 February 2014 : Eco Arts Retreat #4 : Photography

For further information contact:
Caroline Hammond, Mt Baw Baw Arts and Culture Manager on 5165 1136
or email

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