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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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snow sports

VIC backcountry festival happening this weekend!

After two years of cancellations due to covid restrictions, the stoke is building for the 2022 Victorian backcountry festival, which will happen over three days – September 2, 3 and 4 – at Mt Hotham resort and the surrounding terrain.

While the tours are now booked out (you can go on a wait list), there is still heaps to do.

Continue reading “VIC backcountry festival happening this weekend!”

A quick look at the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management

In 2021, the New South Wales government released its 40-year plan to turn the Snowy Mountains into a ‘year-round tourist destination’. There were two aspects to these plans – a draft Special Activation Precinct plan, which outlined options for future growth in and around Jindabyne, and proposed amendments to the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management (background available here).

The Park Plan proposed substantial new developments within the Kosciuszko National Park. Environmental groups expressed strong opposition to many of the plans outlined in the document. The NSW National Parks Association described the plan as ‘reckless proposals (which would) overturn more than 40 years of careful planning and management of the park.” 

Now, the final Kosciuszko National Park Amendment to the Plan of Management Snowy Mountains Special Activation Precinct has been released (available here).

Continue reading “A quick look at the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management”

Backcountry festival registrations are now OPEN!

After a long wait, registrations to the 2022 Victorian backcountry festival are now open!

Happening over three action packed days – with tours, workshops, massive speakers program, demo village, ski in outdoor bar and lots more, the festival is back in real life after two years of having to operate online. Mt Hotham resort and surrounding side country and Alpine national park.

Once you register you will be able to book in to tours.

You can register via the VBCF website.

Victorian backcountry festival 2022 – Lineup announcement

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

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What should be in Mountain Journal magazine #3?

For the second year, Mountain Journal appeared as a magazine. This year, the print edition was produced as a collaboration with Mandy Lamont of Lamont magazine. It was distributed across resorts and valley towns during early winter.

The plan is to keep producing a printed annual edition, and I would really appreciate your feedback about this year’s edition and your thoughts on what should be in the 2023 edition.

Continue reading “What should be in Mountain Journal magazine #3?”

Plans revealed for Falls Creek Lakeside Development project

The Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board (FCARMB) has released details about the proposed development of the Rocky Valley Lake foreshore. This focuses on the old Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) shed, which needs to be renovated to be usable.

The proposed developments are intended for year round use, meaning that the clearing of the Bogong High Plains road (which currently ends at the gate near Windy Corner) will be extended through to the Lakeside site. This will result in loss of crosscountry skier access, which FCARMB says will be ‘offset’ by an upgraded track to Nordic Bowl and beyond.

The new development will have a number of businesses, parking and public facilities and act as the staging point for winter backcountry touring on the east side of the High Plains.

Continue reading “Plans revealed for Falls Creek Lakeside Development project”

Local gear stores. If we don’t love them, we’ll lose them

We know that lockdowns and covid has been hard on all mountain businesses. Now, many are struggling to find enough staff as Australians head to the snow in droves. The rise in interest in backcountry skiing and riding was certainly good for some businesses through the hard winters of 2020 and 2021, and this year is providing a welcome boost. But, faced with the rise in online shopping and the buying power and reach of large chain stores, it’s remarkable that there are still so many locally owned outdoor gear shops in and around the Australian Mountains.

Here are a few of them. If we don’t support them, we will lose them. And as we know, all these places offer local knowledge in a way that online stores can’t.

Continue reading “Local gear stores. If we don’t love them, we’ll lose them”

After Opening Weekend – what next?

After an incredible start to winter, the Alps now have a solid base of snow across higher elevations. There has been some great falls in lutruwita/ Tasmania as well. Resorts have just had big opening weekends (the ‘best start in 22 years’ according to many sources), with some resorts in NSW experiencing partial closure of roads at peak times due to the number of people trying to get to the slopes. Even Ben Lomond in Tasmania had the lifts turning. The snow pack in the backcountry is starting to consolidate nicely.

Everywhere, accommodation was full, venues were cranking, and the slopes were full of people getting their snow legs back and enjoying the novelty of skiing and riding in June.

So what happens now?

Continue reading “After Opening Weekend – what next?”

Is Tasmanian snowpack the future of skiing in Australia?

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?

Continue reading “Is Tasmanian snowpack the future of skiing in Australia?”

New Australian Ski Patrol Association backcountry safety film released

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.

Continue reading “New Australian Ski Patrol Association backcountry safety film released”

Protect our Winters calls for climate action

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.

Continue reading “Protect our Winters calls for climate action”

‘Atmospheric rivers’ threaten snow pack

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.

Continue reading “‘Atmospheric rivers’ threaten snow pack”

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