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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Split Boarding

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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The backcountry – know before you go

The absolute majority of skiers and boarders enjoy their sport in resorts. Yet the continued interest in ‘side country’ and backcountry skiing and riding continues. While here in Australia, the backcountry (BC) does seem busier, it’s hard to tell if more people who mostly ski or ride in  resorts are spending some time in the side country, or whether it’s mostly people who are new to the sport who are venturing into the backcountry. It’s probably a mix of the two.

Either way, it does pose an issue. If people who are not familiar with ‘un managed’ winter environments are getting out of resorts under their own power, are they likely to get themselves into trouble in the backcountry? How can we help people to be ready for the conditions and terrain they might find?

Continue reading “The backcountry – know before you go”

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 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.

Continue reading “The winter of awesome”

Backcountry film festival in Canberra

Mont Equipment, in partnership with Main Range Backcountry, is hosting a Canberra showing of the 2016 Backcountry film festival on Thursday August 11 at 6pm.

It will be held at the Mont store, 18 Pirie Street Fyshwick.

Tickets are available from the Mont Shop in Fyshwick and are only a gold coin (you can give more) that will go to the Mountain Critter Cause, a fundraiser to protect the Mountain Pygmy Possum.

Tickets are limited and will go quickly, so hurry in to avoid disappointment!

Facebook page available here.

 

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

Splitfest 2016

The Australian Splitboard gathering will be held for the fourth year in the Snowy Mountains next winter.

August 21 – 23, 2016.

Chuck it in your diary. It will start with the usual gathering at the Banjo Patterson Inn in Jindabyne on the friday night. Facebook page available here.

SnowSurf premieres in Australia

A new snowboarding and surfing film will have three premiere showings in Australia next week.

BIGFISH_01_lFilmed 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.

Snow Sense

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.

Continue reading “Snow Sense”

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