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.