Back in the depths of time, I used to organise an annual World Telemark Day get together at Mt Hotham in early spring. It happened for 5 or 6 years and eventually some friends convinced me to shift it over to Falls Creek because of the strong tele community there.
In moving it over, world tele day became the first Victorian backcountry festival and happened in early 2018. It was a fantastic couple of days, based out of the Windy Corner Nordic shelter. There is a report here.
Now, in 2022, the 5th festival is about to get under way.
The original idea was based on this premise: ‘Our vision is to host a grass-roots gathering at Falls Creek for backcountry skiers and riders of all abilities. If you’re interested in any form of human powered adventure in the winter backcountry, you should be there. Beginners to advanced, all are welcome’.
Feedback from participants at the 2018 event was that we should hold the 2019 festival at Mt Hotham. We came up with the idea of holding a festival that might move each year (Mt Stirling was another possible location). It was another great success, and it felt like the festival had found it’s spiritual home’ on the mountain. There is a report on 2019 here.
Then, of course, covid happened. We tried to keep the dream alive, turning the festival into an online event. See for instance the 2021 program.
In those years, the profile of the festival grew, there was solid support from the Mt Hotham community, and a team developed to organise the festival. I organised the first two festivals and now Anne Chiew has stepped up as festival convenor, with the support of Brendan Sydes, Peter Robinson and Peter Campbell and myself. Simon Murray took on developing the tours program, and others such as Simon Wright and Simon Head, took on organising specific aspects of the festival.
We incorporated Victorian Backcountry and finally secured public liability insurance and it feels like the festival has now matured into a wonderful community event.
And now, here we are. The 2022 festival is about to start. Here is a bit of a diary of the event.
For full details on what is happening, please check here.
DIARY (newer updates at the top)
The outdoor bar – always a favourite
Saturday – its going off
ABOVE: the demo village is happening all saturday
The guys from Terra Rossa Gear hard at work fixing people’s damaged gear.
ABOVE: there were so many incredible stories at the festival – Hamid Shafaghi in particular had some amazing stories to tell.
Above: Mel Clarke MC’d our event on climate change, fire and mountain environments (details here).
ABOVE: saturday saw an epic number of tours.
Friday – its finally here!
Above: festival convenor Anne Chiew hard at work at festival HQ.
The merch is ordered and the stickers have arrived!
The design is based – as always – on ‘Barry’ the mountain pygmy possum created by Simon Murray.
Mt Hotham has an ongoing program which seeks to stabilise the possum population on the mountain.
Tour guides induction weekend
More than 20 people have offered their time and skills as tour guides. In late August we held an induction weekend for the guides, where we did an assessment of skills, then went on a wonderful day tour over Hotham and along the Razorback, skiing and riding ‘firm’ (icy) south facing ridges and gorgeous spring like slopes on the eastern side of the Razorback.