Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


Telemark skiing

The winter of awesome

Apart from that beautiful dump of snow across the Alps, autumn has been warm and dry so far. But winter is just over the horizon, and it’s time to plan trips and lock in dates. Famed snow forecaster, The Grasshopper, saysI am going to forecast a slightly worse than average season this year based on the initial climate model forecasts which hint at a developing El Nino going hand in hand with a positive IOD event”. But s/he goes on to say “It’s still definitely going to be worth getting the season pass, as we are bound to get our fair share of epic days. So don’t get too dis heartened”.

Here’s a short list of some of the backcountry-related snow events that I’m aware of.

Continue reading “The winter of awesome”

World telemark day

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.

Anyone is welcome to organise an event.

At this point there are plans for gatherings at MT HOTHAM and the SNOWY MOUNTAINS.

Full details will be available here closer to winter.

World telemark day, Sept 3

World telemark day is an annual event that was established by Telemark magazine.

In the southern hemisphere, there will be a get-together on Saturday September 3. There is an event planned for Mt Hotham. All tele and Alpine Touring skiers and split boarders welcome.

Full details available here.

The Grasshopper prediction for winter 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).

The first prediction for 2016 has arrived.

Continue reading “The Grasshopper prediction for winter 2016”

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”

Snow Safety Australia

Anyone who backcountry skis or rides outside Australia will know about the need to be careful of avalanche risk. Many regions around the world with lots of backcountry or mountaineering terrain will have online or phone service avalanche information which can be consulted before heading out into the hills.

With our moderate sized mountains and lower avalanche risk, many Australians are not aware that there are actually dangers to be found in our backcountry.

Now we have our first avalanche/ conditions info service: Snow Safety Australia.

Continue reading “Snow Safety Australia”

World telemark day

Following the northern hemisphere world tele day, the southern hemisphere event will be on saturday September 5.

This is an initiative of Telemark Skier magazine who see it as “a day for telemark skiers to get together and go telemark skiing. Wherever you might be around the world let’s gather at our local hills and drop a knee together!”

In Australia, there are events planned for both NSW and Victoria.

Details here.

All welcome.

World Telemark Day

Plans are shaping up for the first World Telemark Day gathering in the southern hemisphere.

It will be held over the weekend of September 5 and 6.

There is an event planned for the Hotham area in Victoria, and possibly the Main Range in NSW.

All backcountry skiers/ splitters welcome. Come along, pitch in, and meet like-minded people.

Full details here.

The Wait Is Over, up to 50cm inbound

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]

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