Not great news today with the massive amount of rain that has come through the mountains. However, we have some good news for you. We are excited to announce the program for the Victorian Backcountry Festival 2022

2022 Festival Lineup
At the moment we are just announcing the lineup to keep the stoke high and let the folks know that the committee is working extremely hard to bring you the best festival yet. Tickets will be on sale next week so don’t bother trying to click on any links in the PDF.Unfortunately the event funding we normally get from Alpine Shire fell through this year as Hotham isn’t technically in Alpine Shire. Plus we are in the middle of negotiating our final insurance quote from our broker. So we don’t know what to charge for ticket prices yet to cover our costs, which is why we haven’t released festival registration or tour tickets for sale yet. Thank you for your patience as our festival committee is full of backcountry enthusiasts, not insurance experts.However despite these challenges, we can share the following news with you.

Thanks to the generosity of our backcountry community for the huge volunteer turnout to lead group tours, we can gladly offer tours on all 3 days of the festival weekend. Friday will be half days tours only. Saturday and Sunday will be both half day and full days.

There are some changes this year you need to be aware of especially if you have attended 2018 or 2019:

Tours will now be operated centrally by VBCF. In the past we sent you to individual volunteers to organise tour admin. This was a huge stretch for our volunteers and unnecessary overlap of tasks. No more. One contact for all tours.

Safety is the #1 concern for the festival. Therefore, Introductory and Intermediate terrain tours are on offer to keep everyone’s risk low and festival insurance costs down.

Even if you are an advanced backcountry skier, the tours are perfect for a social outing to meet other folks and get a lay of the Hotham backcountry land, especially if you are new to the Vic Alps. While the tours are graded intermediate and introductory, the group leaders can still point out to you where all the gnarly advanced terrain are from the introductory and intermediate zones – for your future visit to Hotham.

There will be no advanced or expert terrain tours offered by the festival. If you are seeking a more advanced experience, you are welcome to drop a message in the backcountry festival Facebook group looking for touring partners that are more aligned to your adventure needs.

The festival is all about volunteering and the BC community. But unfortunately there are necessary costs that the committee and volunteers cannot absorb themselves. To give everyone a heads up, the festival will be charging a nominal fee for tours this year. At the moment we are aiming for under $50 per person for a day tour but this is subjective to what our final insurance costs are.

There will be no more segregation. Skiers and splitboaders will be together at long last so you don’t have to break up your friendship groups. Everyone can be touring together in harmony.

Due to weather and backcountry avalanche safety you won’t get to nominate what Hotham area your tour goes to. Think of it like ski school. You find out at the meeting point who your instructor is and where your lesson is going on the morning of.

Safety briefing will be held again at The Genny – hosted by VBCF, Mountain Safety Collective and Bill Barker Hotham Ski Patrol. Mandatory attendance or you don’t get to come out on tour.

You will need to bring your own gear including avalanche safety equipment. Speak to Tirol Sports at Alberg if you need to rent gear on the hill. They have 4 x splitboards, 12 x touring skis and 4 x avvy backpacks available.


Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth and Mountain Journal is this year’s speaker program curator and he has put together an inspiring and informative program. You can get a sneak preview of Friday’s agenda on Mountain Journal

Saturday and Sunday agenda coming soon.


Aligning with festival values about environment and minimising waste, I’m thrilled to announce we are having the inaugural repair cafe at the festival. Thanks to Evan at Terra Rossa Gear. He will be bringing up his industrial sewing machine, set it up at Last Run Bar so bring your soft gear, jackets, pants, tent for repair while enjoying a coffee and berry cheesecake.

And there will even be a tour of the Mt Hotham recycling workshop for those who are interested in how the used glass goes into the road.

Mountain Safety Collective are also hosting an inaugural event: The Avvy Rescue competition. It will be a three-person team event to test out your  probing senses, beacon search skills and shovelling speed. Start forming your team and team names now. Volunteer details below on how to get involved with the competition.

Everest Sports in Bright are back with lots of goodies for you to try out at the Demo Village outside the Genny.

Last and certainly not least, the very popular ski-in outdoor bar is back on Saturday. More details on the Facebook Event


It’s amazing to see the backcountry volunteers stepping up to offer their skills and expertise to the community. This year we have classes that cover a huge range of topics including sport, safety, equipment, communication and navigation.


We haven’t forgotten about you. Thank you for your support last year during the lockdowns and the inevitable cancelled festival event. We have all the email addresses of everyone that purchased a festival ticket last year and we will be emailing you a promo discount code when the 2022 festival registration tickets are available for sale.


New call out for Vollies from MSC. They need folks to help host the Avvy Competition. Shifts are available so you don’t have to stand out there all day. Contact Rolf to register your volunteering interest email subject: avy rescue comp


Not news for most folks here, but Hotham accommodation is a struggle for volunteers and festival participants this year. If you don’t already have accommodation up on the hill, I don’t think you can secure it now. Options are staying in Harrietville or Bright where there are still beds available.

I have started a carpooling thread on Facebook and Instagram so you can look for a ride share.

There is a bit of a big group forming for snow camping at JB Plain Hut. So if you can brave the cold, you definitely won’t be the only festival participant there. I am working with one of the major apparel brands to host a camper’s hot breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning before tour safety briefing begins.


While the festival hasn’t released tickets yet, you can still book tours and classes with our friends of the festival:

Alpine Access Australia are offering AST1 courses before and after festival weekend

Let’s Split are hosting an overnight Loch splitboarding trip on festival weekend

Traverse Hotham offer Backcountry Tours on most days, not just on festival weekend (The annual Women’s Intro to Backcountry is on this Sunday 7th August – only 2 spots left)


Hang in there. Everything in the backend is practically ready to go. Once our insurance has been sorted, we will get tickets online and let you start planning your backcountry weekend asap. In the meantime, stay safe out in the backcountry.