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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Skiing

In praise of the winter road trip

The snow roadtrip. Most snow and mountain obsessed Australians end up traveling overseas to explore and ride bigger mountains and deeper snow. And while the destination might be the mountains, the roadtrip to get there is sometimes equally essential to the experience.

Japan by van, the Powder Highway in BC, doing the circuit of the resorts from Park City to Cedar City in Utah are all standout trips. Last January I spent a month doing backcountry trips in central Colorado. The hut system is fantastic, the skiing was mind blowing, and the road trip, a big loop from Vail to Salida, to Crested Butte and Ouray and then north to Grand Junction and Aspen, was a huge part of the fun.

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Reducing the impact of our snow obsession

Outside magazine recently posted a great piece on the environmental impact of skiing/ riding. Well, one particular aspect – the amount of carbon pollution we produce through driving or flying to get to ski destinations.

They tracked and collated the travel mileage during winter of their most snow-obsessed staff, then consulted a carbon offset specialist, who estimated they would have to plant 704 trees to sequester all the carbon generated.

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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

The waiting is over. Winter is finally here!

Now all that’s left to do is get out into the hills.

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

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Atone for your carma by supporting mountain critter cause

Winter may be long over, but the snow is still there across the higher ranges of the Australian alps. It was a winter that went through so many boom and bust cycles and if all that rain had been snow, we’d be skiing until January. Long after the resorts have closed there is still decent and rideable cover in many places, but we are getting towards the end of season 2016.

Continue reading “Atone for your carma by supporting mountain critter cause”

Nat Segal. Greenland and the future of skiing

In March of 2014 six women set sail from Ísafjörður, Iceland with the intention of sailing across the Denmark Straight and up the south-west coast of Greenland. They hoped to explore the remote coastline, pioneer new ski descents, and collect scientific data in some of the most incredible wilderness on earth.

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Backcountry film festival – Melbourne, May 2

We now have a date for the Melbourne showing of the Backcountry film festival:

Monday May 2

‘Public Lecture Theatre’ in Old Arts Building

Melbourne University, Carlton.

Map available here.

Suggested donation: $8 conc & students/ $15 waged. Tickets at the door. There will be plenty of room.

All proceeds go to the Friends of the Earth climate campaign against new coal and gas drilling in Victoria.

7 – 9pm. Films start at 7.15pm. There will be a short intermission.

Hosted by Friends of the Earth and Melbourne University Ski Club.

Facebook page for the event here.

For a listing of the films (and details on the April 30 show in Sydney) please check here.

For further information: Cam Walker 0419 338 047 cam.walker@foe.org.au

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.

Continue reading “The Grasshopper prediction for winter 2016”

Bushfire impacts on snow pack

People who visit the Australian high country know how badly it has been impacted by bushfires over the past decade.

In Victoria, we experienced the Eastern Alps fire of 2003, which burnt 1.3 million hectares, and also in 2006/07 which burnt almost 1.3 million hectares. Then over the summer of 2012/13, the Aberfeldy-Donnellys Creek and Harrietville fires also burnt large areas of the mountains. Some sections have been burnt three times in a decade, with loss of significant stands of Alpine Ash and snow gums.

I have often wondered what the fire impact might mean in terms of snow cover. Obviously where there is the classic open canopy of a mature snow gum woodland, at least half the ground is at least partially shaded from direct sunlight. Often snow will stay in better condition under the trees when its getting sun affected in the open areas. And equally you will often get snow lingering in the forests once it is mostly burnt off in adjacent treeless areas.

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