We have snow! Time to get out in the mountains.
A big part of having a successful trip (and not having to rely on the emergency Spam and VB in the hut) is to research the weather and conditions.
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.
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.
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).
A new snowboarding and surfing film will have three premiere showings in Australia next week.
Filmed in the powder capital of Hokkaido, and focusing on the legendary Gentem Family, who have pioneered the ‘Snow Surf’ revolution epitomised by Gentemstick, this film features some of the very best Japanese and western Snow Surf riders.
Many of the key players in the movement are featured in SnowSurf, which was filmed over two years by Australian surf photographer, Shane Peel.
It features: Taro Tamai, Gerry Lopez, Ken Miyashita, Alex Yoder, Osamu “Om” Okada, Beau Young, Hideki Takeda, Hidehiko Wajima, Forrest Shearer, Makato Yamada, Par Dahlin, Timo Paarvala, Kazushi Yamauchi, Alex Lopez, Takuya Harayama, Tomomi Kuwahara, Toru Kuwahara, Toshiya Kasuga, Jarrkko Kauranen, Haruna Kito and the Gentemstick Family.
Patagonia, the major sponsor of the film, will be screening Snowsurf at their Sydney, Torquay and Byron Stores next week.
23rd September. Sydney store – 6pm (93 Bathurst St, Sydney)
25th September. Torquay store – 6pm (116 SurfCoast Hwy, Torquay)
26th September. Café Byron – 6pm (Shop1/ 58 Jonson st Byron Bay)
You can see the trailer here.
You can rsvp for the events on Facebook.
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.
As we swing into the southern spring, it’s autumn in the northern hemisphere and everyone is gearing up for winter. All the magazines have their buyers guides and this year’s crop of mountain related films are doing the rounds.
Here’s a couple that have surfaced, for some late season inspiration.
After a good, early start to the season, the dreaded El Nino influence has seen very ordinary conditions across the Alps since opening weekend in early June…. Most resorts are getting by with very limited terrain being open, and snow making being the source of the skiable stuff. The backcountry, at least in Victoria, is bare, and the Main Range looks pretty basic.
So, this report from The Grasshopper at Mountain Watch is bringing hope to lots of folks:
“The good news: “The best hope of some decent snow is still 11 to 14 July, but unfortunately there’s a bit less agreement amongst the various computer models today. Cold air does not look like it will be an issue; with high pressure to the west and low pressure to the east we’re assured of several days of cold south-west to southerly flow.”
“The big question is whether we get the moisture to combine with that cold air to create snow. Yesterday, I was getting good signals wherever I looked and so 30 to 50cm was the call if those forecasts could hold. Today I’m just seeing a couple of uncertain wobbles in the weather pattern which means I’m going to hedge my bets a little wider and call this 10 to 50cm. Long story short, the upside potential is still very much in play, but a bit more downside has crept in. It happens.”
Check MountainWatch for updates as we get closer to the 11th.
And if you’re getting out amongst it, why not post some photos on the Mountain Journal facebook page?
[Header image: fantastic early snow on Mt Thetis, Tasmania, April 2015]