Anyone who is paying attention can see the changes that are already happening in the Australian mountains. Apart from the environmental costs of global heating, there are massive economic impacts as tourism dependent towns and resorts are disrupted. But there is also a huge cost for recreation. For many of us, the mountains are our ‘heart place’ where we go to ski, ride, paddle, climb and walk. The mountains are a place for camping, for sitting by a river, to recharge. What happens when climate change disrupts our ability to get into the Alps?
It’s getting cold and the snow is starting to fall. Winter lovers are getting excited for a big winter. So it’s perfect timing for the release of a new backcountry safety film. The Australian Ski Patrol Association (ASPA) has launched its revamped SnowSafe website, which includes a new backcountry safety film and other videos.
KEEN TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Protect our Winters (POW) Australia is looking for local organisers in each resort and nearby towns to host a gathering on Saturday June 11th 2022 to help #welcomebackwinter
WHAT? Join us in a major mobilisation of the snow sports community on opening weekend in June.
We are all familiar with the impacts of climate change on snow in Australia. For instance, the snow pack has been in decline since 1957. And a report commissioned by the Victorian government suggests that the end of natural snow could be as close as a couple of decades.
One obvious phenomena we have seen often in recent years has been weather coming down from the tropics in north western Australia. These rains are often ‘snow killer’ events which can massively impact on the snow base.
The Backcountry Film Festival is produced each year by the Winter Wildlands Alliance as a celebration of the human-powered winter experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community.
The 2022 season is screening early and will be an online festival. You can get tickets here.
However, Bright Brewery will be hosting a screening on Wed, Dec 1.
Mountain Journal started back in the summer of 2010. Inspired by great magazines like Mountain Gazette, the plan had always been to produce a print version. But I never got around to it – until now!
The first print edition is hot off the press, and will be (covid lockdowns permitting) surfacing in cafes, mountain huts and public spaces across the Alps soon.
The aim is to produce an Annual, taking content from the website, including some new content, and covering the key mountain/ environment issues of the year.
Protect Our Winters Australia has launched a new campaign, drawing the link between winters missed and climate change.
‘Winter 2020 was one like no other. With limited or no access to our favourite mountains. It was difficult no being able to see our shred buddies, no fresh morning mountain air and for those who did manage to get some on-snow time, what snow did fall was well below average. But what if Winter 2020 was a look into the future? What if missing winter was the new norm?’
2020 was the ‘Year that Wasn’t’ for many of us mountain lovers. Essentially no ski season in Victoria in the resorts, alpine parks closed, and no international travel to get to higher mountains elsewhere.
That had a huge impact on snow based and snow reliant businesses. As was reported recently in The Age, ‘During the 2020 snow season, Victorian alpine resorts received about 90,000 visitors, a 90 per cent decline on the previous year. The visitation collapse dealt a heavy financial blow, with economic activity plummeting to $109 million compared to more than $1 billion generated in the 2019 Victorian snow season’.
One small mountain business that made it through was Chillfactor, which is an essential part of Australian skiing culture. And the 2021 issue of the magazine is a great reflection on the winter that wasn’t.
Backcountry festival back at Hotham in 2021
The fourth Victorian backcountry festival will happen at Mt Hotham over September 3, 4 and 5. This is a media release from the group organising this year’s festival. Continue reading “Fourth Victorian backcountry festival – September 3, 4 & 5”
Recent snowfalls across the Alps has got every snow lover excited about winter. Here is an initial list of snow related events happening across Victoria, NSW and the ACT this winter.
Please check here for a list of tour guides, all avalanche training providers, and gear hire options.
Last winter was pretty ‘ordinary’ in terms of the snow pack, and many people were unable to get into the mountains because of lock down. However, in the places where outdoor adventure was allowed, it was clear that there was a boom in visitation to side country (areas in or near ski resorts) and backcountry (more remote areas).
It has been the same this winter in North America, with some significant results. The New York Times reports:
‘In the throes of a pandemic that has made the indoors inherently dangerous, tens of thousands more Americans than usual have flocked outdoors, fleeing crowded cities for national parks and the public lands around them. But as these hordes of inexperienced adventurers explore the treacherous terrain of the backcountry, many inevitably call for help. It has strained the patchwork, volunteer-based search-and-rescue system in America’s West’.
This winter we have to expect lots of new and inexperienced people getting out of resort and into the higher peaks.
This will bring lots of impacts to our precious high country – especially around human waste (check here for our Let’s talk about poo guide to managing human waste in the backcountry). It also brings risks to inexperienced skiers and riders, and others in the mountains who may need to assist people and groups in difficulty, and put strain on police and volunteer search and rescue groups like Alpine Search and Rescue and the SES.
Here are some ideas on getting skills if you’re planning to head out into higher mountain environments this winter.
The Andrews government has announced the establishment of a new management structure for Victoria’s alpine resorts.
Alpine Resorts Victoria – set to start work by July 2022 – is intended to ‘make Alpine Boards more efficient’. It will be created by merging Victoria’s four alpine resort management boards, and will govern Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Mt Stirling, Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw resorts.