The backcountry scene still tends to be quite ‘bloke heavy’: a lot of the people involved in BC riding and skiing tend to be white males. While demographics are changing in the resorts, with a wider range of people visiting than in previous decades, this has also been noticeable in the backcountry community. There are lots of women and gender diverse people who are out there, and as with the festival last year, we want to provide a platform for a diversity of voices in the program for the VIC backcountry festival, which will happen at Mt Hotham over the weekend of September 7 and 8..

As former Olympic skier Katya Crema said last year: ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’. We have worked to ensure a range of voices, including women, are strongly represented in the program. Here are some highlights:


(Full details on the program available here).

Intro to the basics of Split Boarding Session with Girls Who Split Kelly, Mia and Lisse (Saturday morning).

This trip is aimed at riders new to split boarding or riders wanting to brush up on skills for the festival. ‘We’ll give you our tips for touring and help with gear. You will have the opportunity to set up and test gear and practice some basic skills to keep you safe and get you started’.

Then Kelly, Mia and Lisse will be involved in the speakers program in the afternoon at The General

And they are also offering a tour to Mt Loch on the Sunday.

[ABOVE: Lisse, Kelly and Mia]

On Saturday am, Narelle Watters is leading a Women’s tour for intermediate skiers.

Cari AhSam and Louie Dalzell are leading a workshop on the basics of winter camping in the snow. Cari is also hosting an Introduction to backcountry navigation workshop.

[ABOVE: Cari and Louie]


Saturday afternoon. (full program here)

Some of our featured speakers include:

Georgina Boardman, from Mt Hotham resort management, who will be giving an update on resort’s work to care for the iconic Mountain Pygmy Possum.

Melissa Clarketouring in the NSW backcountry. Melissa is a keen backcountry skier from Canberra and will be chatting about where you can start your exploration of the New South Wales backcountry.

[ABOVE: Georgina & Melissa]

Kelly Kavanagh – will be talking about her human-powered ski traverse of Antarctica.

Kelly van den Berg, Mia Walker and Lisse Dunser – Girls who Split.

Come and share the adventures and tales of three split boarding gals across diverse ages as they tell their stories from various destinations around the world and the experiences of women in the backcountry.

Katya Crema – ‘Getting into the backcountry. Katya will talk about her transition from an Olympian ski cross racer to backcountry adventurer.

Ash Peplow BallWhy Aussie snow lovers should get active about climate change. Ash will be chatting about how you can get started if you want to get active in protecting the places we love for future generations to enjoy.

[ABOVE: Katya & Ash]



And we will finish the weekend with an info and film night at The Bird, raising funds and awareness of Protect Our Winters.

Speakers include Niamh O’Connor Smith, 16 year old lifelong skier and student climate striker.

Program for Sunday night available here.


[FEATURE IMAGE: 2 of our speakers, Niamh and Mia, in the Ten Mile Range, Colorado].