After two great winters, we all knew 2020 was unlikely to be awesome snow-wise. But some of the early forecasts were for a ‘slightly better than average’ season. Then the snow started. We always get early winter snow in the alps, but this year it seemed more consistent. When we got that burst in late May I wondered if this was our base and it would indeed be capital letters Awesome ™

Sadly, June was different. NSW has fared better so far than Victoria, but this probably isn’t one of the winters we will reminisce about in 20 years’ time. But we will be talking about the COVID-19 lock down.

Chillfactor magazine just came out. Chillfactor – in its 21st year – is a mountain institution that has seen both fantastic and some pretty ordinary winters, and has always celebrated a broad cross section of Australian mountain culture.

As you would expect, this year it’s a bit different, with an  acknowledgement of the impacts of the pandemic.

As Watkin McLennan says in the magazine: ‘For those of you worried about your lost international freedom in a COVID-World, see it as an opportunity to join the gums. Embed yourself in Australia’s High Country. … It is rich with stories, characters and life’. Good advice.

As always, it has wonderful images from some of our best high country photographers, some good backcountry stories and profiles of local and international luminaries, like Cody Townsend. Feathertop enthusiasts (aren’t we all?) will appreciate the story of an attempt to ski the magnificent eastern face of that mountain. The obligatory stories from places like Jackson Hole will make you jealous and pine for different days, when flying to ski might have been an option. It finishes with a lovely profile of the people involved in the recently released ‘Western Faces’ film (more here).

Chillfactor is a labour of love. Keeping a magazine in print is a big job these days, so hat’s off to Reggae, Harro, Watkin and Rhylla for another great edition.

You can find the 2020 edition in many newsagents and subscribe online. Check them out and support local mountain media.


IMAGE: East Peak Valdez, Alaska. Photographer – Harro.