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Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Backcountry festival will be epic

The second Victorian backcountry festival will happen at Mt Hotham over the weekend of September 7 and 8. The program now has 28 sessions on offer. Most are free. They cover everything from cross country and tele skiing, split boarding, alpine touring, to avalanche safety, snow shoeing and fat tyre bikes.

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Alpine Access Australia

Alpine Access Australia started as a guiding company and now provides a range of snow safety programs and avalanche training. Many in the backcountry will know Dave and Pieta Herring and instructor Luka Panik. AAA operate both in the Snowy Mountains and a growing number of mountain areas in Victoria.

AAA are the avalanche safety course providers at this year’s VIC backcountry festival (September 8 and 9) and will be offering courses in the Hotham area before, during and after the festival.

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Alpine Access Australia AST1 avalanche courses

Alpine Access Australia is an accredited Avalanche Canada AST Provider. We run AST1 courses in NSW and Victoria. Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. Participants acquire new skills and knowledge to help them keep safe in the backcountry. Yes, avalanches do happen in Australia, and AST1 is also essential if you and your friends venture into the side or backcountry when skiing or snowboarding overseas.

Our Avalanche Canada Accredited Instructors are David Herring and Luka Szczepanik.

They are offering AST 1 courses this winter in the Snowy Mountains, Mt Hotham and Mt Stirling.

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Here it comes

After a fairly ordinary opening weekend, are we finally getting to the real part of winter?

It seems to depend who you talk to but the general answer is YES.

These are the seven day forecasts for Australia from MountainWatch.

This is the one from SnowWatch. Obviously, longer term models become less reliable, with a greater chance of the cold front being shunted off by a blocking High system or weakening, etc. We’ve all had our hearts broken many times by seeing a 15 day forecast that looks mind blowing slowly dissolve into drizzle and a bit of cloud, so do ‘adjust your set’ to prepare yourself for disappointment. But the short term forecast looks great.

The Jane Bunn forecast (via ski.com.au) looks pretty spectacular.

A series of cold fronts is passing through, driven by a complex area of low pressure that slowly moves past, just south of Australia.  

The heavier snow coincides with the colder air. Its still a little warm today (Wednesday) and Thursday, then we are proper cold from Friday. Snow down to 900 metres on Friday and Saturday, lowering to 600 metres for Saturday night and early Sunday.

Northern resorts see the most from this system as the airflow is northwesterly for much of the time. Baw Baw picks up what is left on Monday into Tuesday. 

The high moves in on Tuesday, bringing a return to sunshine.

We’re looking at 40 to 95 cm of snow for northern resorts.

Lets hope this is correct!

Backcountry Ski Night at Mont Canberra

Mont in Canberra are holding a backcountry ski information night on June 6.

“Learn from Australia’s most accomplished mountaineer Andrew Lock, backcountry expert Doug Chatten and Australia’s fastest skier and Paralympic gold medalist Michael Milton on how you can venture into, fall in love with and stay safe in the Australian backcountry this winter”.

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Timely drive for ski patrol volunteers

With the arctic blast that is currently hitting the alps and (hopefully) heralding the approach of winter,  Lake Mountain Ski Patrol (LMSP) has launched a timely drive for volunteer patrollers for the 2018 snow season.

The patrol is looking for people who can cross country ski, have basic first aid training, love to work outdoors and are keen to join the weekend roster for volunteers over the winter.

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SnowAction heads to Tassie

The southern winter edition of SnowAction (‘Australia’s #1 magazine for snow sports and mountain culture’) has some great stories from Tasmania.

There are excellent stories from a big roadtrip to NZ/Aotearoa, great powder images from Hotham, a piece on the more serious side country terrain at Mt Buller, and skiing in Chile, plus profiles on Chumpy Pallin and film maker Warren Miller. There is also substantial coverage of Tassie’s two resorts.

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‘Finding the Line’ screenings happening in Australia

Nat and Anna Segal have announced the Australian launch of their long awaited film, Finding the Line. The premiere will be in Melbourne on May 29th at the Astor Theatre, and be followed by shows in Canberra (May 30), and Sydney (May 31) and then a final show in Melbourne (June 1).

The film runs for an hour with a Q&A with Anna and Nat after the film with SnowsBest.com founder, Rachael Oakes-Ash, for the first three screenings in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

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Grasshopper says the 2018 snow season will be ‘Not Bad’

The famed Grasshopper has released their first assessment of what the 2018 season may be like. Obviously its early in the year so hard to make definite predictions, but this first one is fairly hopeful.

It is definitely worth a read but the take home message is that:

‘At this early stage, I estimate that we will have a fairly good start to the season, then a slowish late winter. I’m leaving the door open for a spring dump, possibly even a rerun of the ‘Blizzard of Oz’ but that might be going too far. Maximum snow depths should lie within a range of 180-220 cm when comparing to a long-term average of 195 cm at Spencer’s Creek. The potential for artificial snow making may be hampered during the preseason due to warm and wet conditions, but later in the season snow machines will get their chance to shine.’

The next forecast will be released in early May.

 

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