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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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snow sports

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!

Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts

There is no doubt that climate change is already impacting on snow conditions in Australia, and hence impacting on the industries that need snow to be viable. When it comes to responding to this existential threat, there are three key options: ignore it (in the hope it will go away), reduce our contribution to the problem (also called mitigation) or just try to adapt to the changes that the problem brings (also known as adaptation). With few exceptions, ski resorts in Australia have opted for the first and the third options. A sensible, responsible and forward thinking ski industry would be doing both adaptation and mitigation.

A report released by the Victorian government will help local resorts steer themselves along the path of adaptation.

Continue reading “Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts”

Featured post

Backcountry film festival – Melbourne, May 9.

It’s happening tonight!

Melbourne

Wed May 9. 7pm – 9.30pm.

Co-hosted with RMIT Outdoors Club.

Storey Hall (RMIT), 342-344 Swanston St, Melbourne.

Suggested donation:

$8 conc & students/ $15 waged/ $20 solidarity.

Tickets at the door. There will be plenty of room. All funds raised go to the Friends of the Earth climate campaign

There will be a bar run by the RMIT Outdoors Club before the films start (from about 6.15pm).

THE PROGRAM

6.15ish – Bar opens

7pm sharp – 1st films – local films plus first half of the Winter Wildlands program (6 films)

8pm – ish: intermission

8.25 – 2nd batch of films (3 films)

8.45 ish – end of program

 

Facebook page here.

In addition to the BCFF program (eight great films – check here for full details), we will be showing:

Mount Townsend 2209 – Australian Freeride Story (3 mins 53 sec)

Mt Townsend imageIn keeping with our tradition of showing an Australian backcountry film at the start of the program, this year we have a great short production about a late season mission in 2016 to ski Mt Townsend on the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains.

Film maker Lachlan Humphreys says

With the Australian ski season coming to the end, I joined Australian sisters and pro skiers, Anna and Nat Segal, for one last push for the hills. Filmed in October last year, Mount Townsend 2209 follows Anna and Nat as they spend five days camping and touring together under the peak of Mount Townsend, together with their American/Canadian skier friend, Holly Walker.

Ski touring is undergoing a rebirth; a new form of free skiing, attracting people to the great outdoors and encouraging people to venture beyond the boundaries of ski resorts. There is no better way to explore the vast terrain Australia has tucked away than to camp out under the stars and experience the magic of the sunset on the western faces.

The sisters’ mission was to nut out a plan for their upcoming ski film, Finding the Line and they felt Mount Townsend was no better place to do so.

Produced by Clean Line Productions

cleanlineproductions.com

Climate change impacts on resorts – and how they’re taking action to reduce emissions

We all know that climate change poses an existential threat to the snow and alpine environments that we love. While Australia’s lower mountains and modest latitude make it something of a miracle that we even have snow, there is little doubt that already our seasons are getting shorter, with less snow (our snow pack has been in decline since 1957).

But it is disturbing to see the impacts that are happening elsewhere, in countries at higher latitudes and with higher peaks. This recent story sums up some of what’s happening in North America, and how some resorts are responding.

Continue reading “Climate change impacts on resorts – and how they’re taking action to reduce emissions”

The economic impacts of climate change on winter sports

Protect Our Winters has released an update of it’s report ‘the economic contributions of winter sports in a changing climate’. It is yet another reminder about the economic benefits of the snow industry, both in local economies and at the national level, and the threat posed by climate change to this economic activity.

Continue reading “The economic impacts of climate change on winter sports”

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.

Continue reading “Backcountry Film Festival in Sydney”

#ClimateWhiteout: climate change and the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics are underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Climate and winter sports advocacy groups have been using social media to highlight the expected impacts of global warming on future Winter Olympic sites.

This is not a new story, but research that shows that climate change is likely to make nine former Winter Olympics sites too warm to host the Games again has been circulating using the hashtag #ClimateWhiteout.

Continue reading “#ClimateWhiteout: climate change and the Winter Olympics”

Park City has pledged to reduce it’s carbon footprint to zero by 2032

Climate change is bearing down on us. The threat posed to people, economies and natural ecosystems is of a level only surpassed by the risk of nuclear war. For those of us who love mountains and winter, the threat is obvious enough: shorter, more erratic snow seasons.

While here in Australia we face a dwindling snow pack, it’s the same story in ranges around the world. For instance, in the Northern Cascades National Park, which contains 1/3 of the glaciers in the Lower 48 states of the USA, the glaciers have lost a half of their mass over the past century. Since 1955, the mountains of the western ranges of the USA have lost 23% of snowpack.

This is having a direct impact on local economies. Low snow seasons in the western USA between 2000 and 2010 cost the ski industry more than US$1B in lost revenue.

Many resorts and individual players in the snow industry have been stepping up and joining the fight against climate change. Park City in Utah is one of the latest.

Continue reading “Park City has pledged to reduce it’s carbon footprint to zero by 2032”

Australia’s southern most ski field

The Mt Mawson ski field in the Mt Field National Park is the southern most ski area in Australia. It’s a remarkable place, and while it’s of a low elevation, with very limited vertical terrain, and is subject to the notoriously fickle snow conditions to be found in Tasmania, it is a magical spot. It has several rope tows, and is a Club ski field composed of seven lodges, with no public accommodation. Its also a fairly solid 30 to 45 minute walk up the mountain to get to the ski field.

But like the surrounding ranges within the Mt Field national park, when its in condition its truly fantastic.

Continue reading “Australia’s southern most ski field”

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