Ski resorts rely on patrollers to keep visitors safe, help them when accidents happen and find them when they get lost. Many patrollers are volunteers, and some commit decades to their local patrol. Its always good to see long term volunteers recognised. Lake Mountain ski patroller, Mike Sutton has been honoured with a National Medal for his many years of volunteer service.
The pandemic has thrown yet another spanner in the works for Victorian skiers and riders. With the authorities struggling to keep a lid on infections in metropolitan Melbourne, the premier has now announced stage 4 restrictions for the metro area, and stage 3 (stay at home) restrictions for the rest of the state until at least September 13.
This means that basically all resorts and mountain areas are closed.
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.
If you’ve ever walked or climbed in Tasmania, you’re probably aware of the eastern face of Mt Geryon in the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. It has climbs of more than 350 metres in length and is a truly inspiring mountain environment. There are a series of couloirs that break the cliffs to the north of Geryon, along the spine of the Ducane Range.
Ben Armstrong recently skied the most impressive of these lines.
The second Victorian backcountry festival will happen at Mt Hotham over the weekend of September 7 and 8. The program now has 28 sessions on offer. Most are free. They cover everything from cross country and tele skiing, split boarding, alpine touring, to avalanche safety, snow shoeing and fat tyre bikes.
Alpine Access Australia started as a guiding company and now provides a range of snow safety programs and avalanche training. Many in the backcountry will know Dave and Pieta Herring and instructor Luka Panik. AAA operate both in the Snowy Mountains and a growing number of mountain areas in Victoria.
AAA are the avalanche safety course providers at this year’s VIC backcountry festival (September 8 and 9) and will be offering courses in the Hotham area before, during and after the festival.
Alpine Access Australia is an accredited Avalanche Canada AST Provider. We run AST1 courses in NSW and Victoria. Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. Participants acquire new skills and knowledge to help them keep safe in the backcountry. Yes, avalanches do happen in Australia, and AST1 is also essential if you and your friends venture into the side or backcountry when skiing or snowboarding overseas.
Our Avalanche Canada Accredited Instructors are David Herring and Luka Szczepanik.
They are offering AST 1 courses this winter in the Snowy Mountains, Mt Hotham and Mt Stirling.
After a fairly ordinary opening weekend, are we finally getting to the real part of winter?
It seems to depend who you talk to but the general answer is YES.
These are the seven day forecasts for Australia from MountainWatch.
This is the one from SnowWatch. Obviously, longer term models become less reliable, with a greater chance of the cold front being shunted off by a blocking High system or weakening, etc. We’ve all had our hearts broken many times by seeing a 15 day forecast that looks mind blowing slowly dissolve into drizzle and a bit of cloud, so do ‘adjust your set’ to prepare yourself for disappointment. But the short term forecast looks great.
The Jane Bunn forecast (via ski.com.au) looks pretty spectacular.
A series of cold fronts is passing through, driven by a complex area of low pressure that slowly moves past, just south of Australia.
The heavier snow coincides with the colder air. Its still a little warm today (Wednesday) and Thursday, then we are proper cold from Friday. Snow down to 900 metres on Friday and Saturday, lowering to 600 metres for Saturday night and early Sunday.
Northern resorts see the most from this system as the airflow is northwesterly for much of the time. Baw Baw picks up what is left on Monday into Tuesday.
The high moves in on Tuesday, bringing a return to sunshine.
We’re looking at 40 to 95 cm of snow for northern resorts.
Lets hope this is correct!
Mont in Canberra are holding a backcountry ski information night on June 6.
“Learn from Australia’s most accomplished mountaineer Andrew Lock, backcountry expert Doug Chatten and Australia’s fastest skier and Paralympic gold medalist Michael Milton on how you can venture into, fall in love with and stay safe in the Australian backcountry this winter”.
With the arctic blast that is currently hitting the alps and (hopefully) heralding the approach of winter, Lake Mountain Ski Patrol (LMSP) has launched a timely drive for volunteer patrollers for the 2018 snow season.
The patrol is looking for people who can cross country ski, have basic first aid training, love to work outdoors and are keen to join the weekend roster for volunteers over the winter.
The southern winter edition of SnowAction (‘Australia’s #1 magazine for snow sports and mountain culture’) has some great stories from Tasmania.
There are excellent stories from a big roadtrip to NZ/Aotearoa, great powder images from Hotham, a piece on the more serious side country terrain at Mt Buller, and skiing in Chile, plus profiles on Chumpy Pallin and film maker Warren Miller. There is also substantial coverage of Tassie’s two resorts.
Nat and Anna Segal have announced the Australian launch of their long awaited film, Finding the Line. The premiere will be in Melbourne on May 29th at the Astor Theatre, and be followed by shows in Canberra (May 30), and Sydney (May 31) and then a final show in Melbourne (June 1).
The film runs for an hour with a Q&A with Anna and Nat after the film with SnowsBest.com founder, Rachael Oakes-Ash, for the first three screenings in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.