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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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snow sports

Mountain winter events 2021

Recent snowfalls across the Alps has got every snow lover excited about winter. Here is an initial list of snow related events happening across Victoria, NSW and the ACT this winter.

Please check here for a list of tour guides, all avalanche training providers, and gear hire options.

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Get the skills you need for a Winter of Awesome

Last winter was pretty ‘ordinary’ in terms of the snow pack, and many people were unable to get into the mountains because of lock down. However, in the places where outdoor adventure was allowed, it was clear that there was a boom in visitation to side country (areas in or near ski resorts) and backcountry (more remote areas).

It has been the same this winter in North America, with some significant results. The New York Times reports:

‘In the throes of a pandemic that has made the indoors inherently dangerous, tens of thousands more Americans than usual have flocked outdoors, fleeing crowded cities for national parks and the public lands around them. But as these hordes of inexperienced adventurers explore the treacherous terrain of the backcountry, many inevitably call for help. It has strained the patchwork, volunteer-based search-and-rescue system in America’s West’.

This winter we have to expect lots of new and inexperienced people getting out of resort and into the higher peaks.

This will bring lots of impacts to our precious high country – especially around human waste (check here for our Let’s talk about poo guide to managing human waste in the backcountry). It also brings risks to inexperienced skiers and riders, and others in the mountains who may need to assist people and groups in difficulty, and put strain on police and volunteer search and rescue groups like Alpine Search and Rescue and the SES.

Here are some ideas on getting skills if you’re planning to head out into higher mountain environments this winter.

Continue reading “Get the skills you need for a Winter of Awesome”

Victoria’s alpine resort management boards to be merged into Alpine Resorts Victoria

The Andrews government has announced the establishment of a new management structure for Victoria’s alpine resorts.

Alpine Resorts Victoria – set to start work by July 2022 – is intended to ‘make Alpine Boards more efficient’. It will be created by merging Victoria’s four alpine resort management boards, and will govern Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Mt Stirling, Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw resorts.

Continue reading “Victoria’s alpine resort management boards to be merged into Alpine Resorts Victoria”

Victorian Alps relief auction

Your chance to give back to Victoria’s Alpine Region, hit hard by bushfires and Covid-19. 

The Victorian alpine community has a special place in all of our adventure hearts, filled with beautiful mountains, great people and businesses, amazing food and memories shared through generations. 

But the community we all love is hurting – first with the bushfires, then the cancellation of the 2020 ski season due to Covid-19. They need our help. 

Which is why the team at Amer Sports have brought the Australian outdoors and snow industry together to create an online auction for you to support the alpine businesses doing it tough in Victoria. 

Continue reading “Victorian Alps relief auction”

2020 VIC backcountry festival cancelled

Due to the new COVID-19 restrictions, we are sad to announce that the Victorian Backcountry Festival has been cancelled for 2020.

However do not despair, as the VBCF organisers have two exciting dates for you to put into your calendars right now.

  1. Victorian Backcountry Festival 2021 will be at Hotham again. It will be a three day festival, held on Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September 2021. Plan to come up on the Thursday night so you can take advantage of all the festival activities. And, if you can, aim to stay the Sunday night to hang out with your new snow buddies.
  2. In lieu of the 2020 festival that was scheduled for 4-6th September, the organisers are planning a weekend afternoon full of backcountry speakers, seminars and workshops to be held over Zoom. This will happen on Saturday September 5.

We are in the early stages of organising the program, and would love to hear from people about suggestions for potential speakers. If you have a great snow adventure story, a backcountry skill you can teach over Zoom, or want to suggest an author/ athlete/ mountaineer/ etc you want to hear speak, let us know: admin@backcountry-festival.com

Hope to see you all virtually at the online event next month – and in person next year up at Hotham.

Keep an eye on the website for updates.

 

Full steam ahead for the 2020 VIC backcountry festival

The 3rd Victorian backcountry festival is planned for Friday – Sunday September 4, 5 and 6, 2020 in and around Mt Hotham. Sure, with the pandemic, everything is up in the air, and lots of things could happen between now and September. But we are planning in the hope it can go ahead.

Continue reading “Full steam ahead for the 2020 VIC backcountry festival”

VIC ski season update – what’s open

With the announcement that Mt Hotham and Falls Creek lift operations will be closed ‘until at least 19 August’, and other resorts about to make announcements, the season has suddenly changed (again).

Here’s what’s known as at July 12.

Continue reading “VIC ski season update – what’s open”

MSC kicks off the 2020 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Mountain Sports Collective is a membership based not-for-profit user group organisation for human powered alpine sports in Australia.

In winter it produces a regular ‘Backcountry Conditions Report’ covering three areas: North East VIC, the Central Alpine Ranges in VIC, and the Main Range in the Snowy Mountains. The reports cover alpine snow and weather conditions and travel and terrain advice. It is generally updated as conditions change significantly.

This winter MSC has set up a ‘community observation’ page that allows backcountry users to contribute information about conditions. You can add your observations here.

Now that proper winter conditions have finally kicked in, the Reports will be updated on a regular basis.

Please check the reports before heading into the backcountry.

 

You can support the efforts of MSC by becoming a member.

 

 

 

The Winter of Awesome

Now that we know that ski resorts will be open at least for some of the winter we can really get on with our planning. In NSW an announcement on the ski season is expected this week, and the season will start in VIC from June 22. I hope this helps with your planning for trips and events. Here are some events that I am aware of. Please feel free to send in details on others.

Continue reading “The Winter of Awesome”

Climate change impacts on VIC mountains – less snow, more fires

The Victorian government has recently released the ‘Climate Science Report 2019’, which brings together the latest climate change science knowledge gained from the government’s ongoing investigations into climate science. The report provides further useful insights into both how our climate is changing and what it means for Victoria’s future.

In many ways, there is nothing new in the report. It notes that Victoria’s climate has ‘changed in recent decades, becoming warmer and drier’. These changes are expected to continue in the future.

In general terms, the state’s environment is becoming hotter and drier, with

  • an overall increase in the frequency of unusually hot days
  • a decline in cool season rainfall over the last 30 years
  • greater number of very high fire danger days in spring

There are some details relevant to mountain environments, which we will outline briefly below (as direct quotes).

Continue reading “Climate change impacts on VIC mountains – less snow, more fires”

Backlash forces International Ski Federation to adopt pro-climate position

You might remember when the president of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Gian Franco Kasper went on-the-record in February, denying human-caused climate change and the science that supports it? Many in the snow sports community were suitably outraged, and Protect Our Winters (POW) started a letter writing campaign to ensure that FIS adopted a position consistent with mainstream climate science.

Following the campaign, FIS announced this week that it had joined the U.N. Sports for Climate Action Framework and made it part of its sustainability policy.

POW reports that ‘after seven months and more than 9,000 letters sent to FIS from the outdoor community, check out what we’ve accomplished together––it’s encouraging news and shows what the outdoor community is capable of’.

Continue reading “Backlash forces International Ski Federation to adopt pro-climate position”

Environmental week at Thredbo

Environmental week is an annual event that happens at Thredbo resort in NSW which is ‘dedicated towards driving awareness to our guests, community and beyond about all of our environmental initiatives in place and what we can all be doing as a community to protect winter and Thredbo’.

It will happen from July 22 – 28, and features talks and presentations, a hike to Mt Kosciuszko, and a fund raiser for tree planting.

Continue reading “Environmental week at Thredbo”

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