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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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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.

 

Backcountry Film Festival in Sydney

The 2018 Sydney screening of the Backcountry Film Festival will happen on saturday April 21.

For the third year, the Sydney screening will be hosted by the NSW Nordic Ski Club.

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Which resorts have been most impacted by climate change?

The Climate Council has released a report which outlines the likely impacts of climate change on tourism in Australia.

The section on the snow sports industry confirms what we already know: that climate change will have significant impacts on the economics of the sector, with resulting loss of jobs and local businesses. It highlights the fact that despite attempts to broaden activity at ski resorts into the ‘green season’, a large proportion of income is still derived during winter and hence there are limitations to how resorts can buffer against bad winters.

In Victoria, Mt Stirling and Mt Buller have been most affected by shorter ski seasons.

Continue reading “Which resorts have been most impacted by climate change?”

Lake Tahoe Resort to run on 100% Renewables

Next winter, Squaw Valley Ski Corporation, who have two resorts at Lake Tahoe in California, plans to source all its electricity from solar and other renewable sources. This will make it the first ski resort in the USA to power its operations without fossil fuels.

Continue reading “Lake Tahoe Resort to run on 100% Renewables”

Australian backcountry festival. September 1.

This winter we will be co-hosting a backcountry gathering.

It has grown out of the World Telemark Day gatherings that have been happening at Mt Hotham in north eastern Victoria each September.

This year we have moved to Falls Creek resort and broadened the focus to cover all forms of human and gravity powered backcountry travel, including telemark skiing, split boarding, cross country, snow shoeing and alpine touring.

Continue reading “Australian backcountry festival. September 1.”

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‘Ski resorts cling on against climate change’

Mountain Journal often covers developments in the snow industry relating to climate change – both in terms of the expected impacts of global warming on snow and resorts, and positive responses by resorts to reduce their emissions.

As we know, action here in Australia by resorts is sketchy at best and most are still in denial about the reality of the change that is coming.

This recent piece by Bob Berwyn from Deutsche Welle (Germany’s international broadcaster) looks at the limitations of relying on artificial snow making as a buffer against climate change. Looking mostly at Europe, the key message is really just common sense – it will be the lower altitude resorts that will be hit first. That’s directly applicable to the reality that Australian resorts face given our low elevation mountains and moderate latitudes.

Continue reading “‘Ski resorts cling on against climate change’”

‘Finding the Line’ launched

Finding the Line is a ski ‘film about fear, it’s paralyzing grip on humans and how it affects our decision-making’. It stars Australians Nat and Anna Segal. They were filming last winter on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains as part of the production.

‘Fear. Unless you’re insane, it’s a very natural and necessary part of life in the mountains. Fear can keep us alive and finding a way to understand and either overcome or bow to our fears is where much of the adventure lies.’

The film is now finished. It is having a launch in Whistler this week (this has a great background to the film). Stay tuned for details on the Australian launch.

More info available here. This site will have details on screenings as they are organised.

You can watch the trailer here.

Image: GUY FATTAL PHOTO / FINDING THE LINE

A mountain community stands up against hate

There can be little doubt that the election of Donald Trump has emboldened racists, homophobes and bigots not only across the USA but also around the world. A growing number of people are actively opposing the ‘normalisation’ of hate. Many people and even businesses who would normally consider themselves to be ‘non political’ are finding that they need to speak up and get active.

One simple example of this has been the outdoor industries becoming active in opposing Donald Trump’s anti environment agenda.

Another example of (perhaps unexpected) opposition to bigotry and homophobia comes from the ski resort of Aspen Snowmass in Colorado, who have launched a campaign to clearly explain the core values of the resort: based on unity and non-discrimination.

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The Last Hill – bikes & skis

Skiing/ snow boarding and MTB riding are natural partners. So many of my snow obsessed friends ride outside of winter. Despite the introduction of Fat Tyre bikes, not too many people ride above snowline in winter at least here in Australia.

But there is the spring tradition of assessing snow through riding MTBs along still closed roads – heading towards Mt Kosciusko from Charlottes Pass, riding the Dargo road to get to the southern slopes on Blue Rag Range, or riding from Falls Creek to access the Fainters are all stand out trips.

But this new film from Patagonia, The Last Hill (15 mins) pushes bike packing with skis to another level.

Continue reading “The Last Hill – bikes & skis”

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