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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Snowy Mountains

Spring splitboarding mission to the western faces

This great story about a late season trip to the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains comes from Main Range Backcountry.

Antony von Chrismar goes on a Spring splitboarding mission to the western faces after getting back from a European summer.

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Fears over Snowy River’s health without independent monitor

The Snowy Mountains scheme, built between 1949 and 1974, diverts the water of the Snowy River and some of its tributaries, much of which originally flowed southeast onto the river flats of East Gippsland, inland to the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers irrigation areas. This has caused the health of the Snowy to decline dramatically.

Following long running campaigns, the Snowy Water Inquiry was established in January 1998. The Inquiry recommended an increase to 15% of natural flows. In 2000, Victoria and NSW agreed to a long-term target of 28%, requiring A$375 million of investment to offset losses to inland irrigators. It has been hoped that this increase in flow will help the health of the river system improve.

However there have been ongoing fears that the flows are not being properly managed in a way that will maximise environmental benefits. In 2013, the NSW Government abolished the Snowy’s scientific monitor and a replacement body, announced in 2014, has not yet been established. As pointed out recently by ecologists, without an independent monitor, there is a risk that the health of the river will go backwards.

Continue reading “Fears over Snowy River’s health without independent monitor”

World Telemark Day 2017 – Snowy Mountains event

World telemark day is celebrated in both the northern and southern hemispheres

In NSW World Telemark Day will be celebrated on Saturday 9 September.

It will be held at Perisher. Meet at 8am at Perisher skitube.

The Plan: there will be two groups; 1 will go backcountry (ideal for those who don’t want to lash out on a lift ticket for the day) and 1 will take to the lifts to explore the great terrain that Perisher has to offer!

Both are great options, especially with the awesome snow that’s out there at the moment!!

There will be demo gear available through the Wilderness Sports Perisher store, with both NTN and 75mm gear to try!

Hire is also available through the store in Jindabyne on Friday night and Saturday Morning, as well as in our Perisher shop on Saturday morning. You can bring book through the WS website https://www.wildernesssports.com.au/pages/telemark-hire.

Come join us and have an awesome day with fellow freeheelers!

Please email or PM us to let us know whether you are interested in resort or backcountry to bruce@wildernesssports.com.au

 

For full details on world tele day, please check here.

 

What is happening with the lease at Perisher?

In Victoria, ski resorts operate on designated permanent Crown land reserves, each managed by a Resort Management Board appointed by, and responsible to, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. The Boards are responsible for the development, promotion, management and use of each Alpine Resort. In contrast, the resorts in NSW exist within the Kosciuszko National Park and operate through negotiating a lease with the government through the Parks Service (NPWS). They are then required to develop an environmental management system (EMS), which seeks to regulate and minimise the impacts of the operation on the natural environment.

As has been reported widely in regional media, it has been recently announced that the Parks Service has not granted any company a new head lease arrangement for Perisher Range in their recent Governance Review. Having a head lease allows the holder of the lease to then sublet to other businesses such as venues, accommodation, family lodges, etc.

This has caused a lot of anxiety among businesses, both in the park and adjacent communities who are reliant on the smooth functioning of the industry. While it is obviously essential that the conditions of the lease ensures minimal impacts on the surrounding environment, the uncertainty in terms of the future of Perisher and Charlotte Pass is very stressful for people whose livelihoods depend on these operations. One local owner said “NPWS made the announcement publicly before the stakeholders knew that it was off the table ….this means that clubs are unable to accept bookings for the following year or budget, invest or plan due to lack of vision first & foremost.”

The following article written by Steve Cuff comes from the Snowy Mountains Magazine, and provides a comprehensive overview of what the delay means for businesses (and hence the ski industry in general).

Continue reading “What is happening with the lease at Perisher?”

World telemark day, September 2017

Saturday September 2, 2017.

This is the annual day for telemark skiers (and any other backcountry inclined skiers and riders) to get together, share some turns, make new friends, and generally enjoy getting out in the mountains.

WTD was initiated by Telemark magazine, with events both in the northern and southern hemispheres.

At this point there are plans for gatherings at MT HOTHAM and the SNOWY MOUNTAINS. Any tele skiers are encouraged to come along to the organised events or plan their own on their local hill.

Full details are available here.

SplitFest 2017

As far as I’m concerned, SplitFest – the Splitboarding festival – is the highlight of the winter backcountry calendar.

You get a great party in Jindabyne on the Friday night, a camp out up in the mountains at Island Bend with a big mob of fantastic people, and an outing with Adam West, who will share his knowledge of the backcountry, reading terrain and all things splitboarding.

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Snowy brumby cull plan to be shelved

The Telegraph is reporting that the state government proposal to cull ­almost the entire population of wild horses in the Snowy Mountains is set to be shelved after a government deadlock.

Sadly it seems that the ‘horses are a cultural icon and must be protected’ interests have won out (for the time being) over sensible land management. For a summary of the environmental impacts of wild horses, check here.

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SplitFest 2017

The NSW Splitfest DownUnder will be held on weekend of the 25-27th of August in the NSW main range.

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The Snowy Hydro Scheme 2.0

The Federal Government’s announcement of a feasibility study into the expansion to the Snowy Hydro Scheme in NSW could potentially break the current impass in the fossil fuels vs renewables energy debate.

Pumped hydro represents stored energy, which can be created through the use of renewables. It is a ‘game changer’ in that it can, in effect, provide baseload power for when renewable energy supplies like wind and solar need back up. This will be done through what is called Pumped Hydro.

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