2018 BC festival

The inaugural Australian backcountry festival was held at Falls Creek over the weekend of September 1 and 2, 2018. It was hosted by the great people at Falls Creek Cross Country at the Windy Corner Nordic Centre.

The following is the details and program for the 2018 festival:

The festival

Backcountry festival Falls Creek, Saturday September 1 and 2, 2018

Celebrating World Telemark Day and all things backcountry – tele, split boarding, cross country, snow shoeing & alpine touring

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 backcountry, you should be there. Beginners to advanced, all are welcome. Most activities will start from the Windy Corner nordic centre (above the top carpark), so will be easy to get to if you normally ski or ride in resort.

There will be guided trips – both in and out of resort – plus clinics and workshops, an outdoor bar in the best spirit of BC festivals, and films and presentations in the evening.

We hope you can join us for the first Australian backcountry festival.

Get involved

If you like the idea of the backcountry community getting together, then please get involved: offer a workshop or clinic, bring ideas or run an info stall, the more ideas the better. There is still plenty of room in the program for additional activities (check here for a list of particular things we are looking for).

Please get in touch: cam.walker@foe.org.au

This is a free, volunteer run event. Falls Creek resort charges an entry fee. We’re working with a range of community groups and businesses to make this a great day. You join the events at your own risk. We do not have insurance coverage for participants.

 

Accommodation and camping

If you’re planning to spend the weekend up at the festival, and are looking for a good camping spot to base yourself, you can’t go past Mountain Creek. Located at the base of Mt Bogong, it has drive in, free camping, with pit toilets and water from the stream. This is about a 60 – 80 minute drive from Windy Corner.

If you’re looking for accommodation up at Falls Creek, a cheap option is the Howman’s Gap camp, run by the YMCA. This is located just outside the resort boundary, about a 10 min drive to Windy Corner.

Mountain Creek

Mountain Creek is located in the Alpine National Park at the foot of Mt Bogong, about 15 km east of Tawonga. From the Kiewa Valley Hwy south of Tawonga, head east for 10 km on Mountain Creek Rd.

The site is well sign posted and has good drive in camping. It can be damp in winter (and cold!) so come prepared. There are a limited number of picnic tables so you may want to take some additional fold up chairs. Free camping.

Map available here.

Howmans Gap

The Howmans Gap Alpine Centre is located on the road to Falls Creek, just outside the resort entry booths. It largely caters for schools and other groups, but has a range of affordable accommodation.

Please be aware that they already have significant bookings for the week of the backcountry festival, so you would want to lock something in soon.

Details on rates and bookings available here.

Falls Creek

There is a wide range of options in the Falls Creek resort (where the festival will be held). For details on accommodation options at Falls Creek, please check here.

Bogong village

Bogong village is located between Mt Beauty and Falls Creek resort. There are a range of accommodation options available there. Just do a websearch for ‘Bogong village accommodation’ for full details.

Mt Beauty

This is the gateway town to Falls Creek and has a range of accomodation options. A good and quite affordable one is either a powered site at The Park Mt Beauty (the main caravan park) or a cabin/ yurt. Its just on the edge of town on the Tawonga South side. Details here.

Snow camping at Roper Lookout

Some people will be setting up camp near Roper Lookout. This is in the Alpine national park, across the valley from the Falls Creek village (on the other side of the of Rocky Valley Creek, and accessed via the Bogong High Plains road and the dam wall). It is about a 30 – 40 min ski from the windy corner car park. You will need to be self sufficient in camping gear, food, stove, etc.

If you’re keen to join us, feel free to email me and I will send you details of exactly where we are once we set up the camp on the thursday before the festival. cam.walker@foe.org.au

Snow camping at Pretty Valley

Pretty Valley is a true backcountry campsite. It is a ski of *at least* 90 minutes from Windy Corner.

A number of people are planning to be out there – you would need to organise all your gear, tent, cooking gear, etc. You would also obviously need a head lamp to ski home from the festival!

Avalanche Safety Training Level 1

These two day courses will be delivered by Adam West. There is a day at the Howmans Gap Alpine Centre and a day in the field at Falls Creek. Dates for the courses are

  • AUG 28 & 29,
  • AUG 30 & 31, and
  • SEPT 1 & 2 (this last course is when the backcountry festival is on, but you can always join the evening festivities in Falls Creek village) …

Do you venture out of bounds, off the trails or into the backcountry? An AST 1 course is your place to start.

It is a must for everyone recreating in the backcountry or slackcountry.

Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs.  The Avalanche Canada Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST1) Course will provide an entry-level decision-making framework that is based on the most advanced knowledge available. It is suitable for use by people with little experience in entering the side/backcountry.

In addition, the course will:

  • Provide the prerequisite knowledge required for further avalanche training.
  • Introduce and promote the Avalanche Skills Training Level 2 Course as the logical next step for gaining intermediate-level decision-making skills.

Objectives

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the basics of avalanche formation and release.
  • Identify avalanche terrain.
  • Know the steps required to plan and carry out a trip.
  • Use the Avaluator™ as a decision-making tool in areas where trips are rated using the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) and where Avalanche Danger Ratings and Avalanche Bulletins are available.
  • Find resources for obtaining ATES terrain ratings if their trip is not rated.
  • Find resources for obtaining Avalanche Danger Ratings and Avalanche Bulletins if these are not available.
  • Use appropriate travel techniques in avalanche terrain.
  • Carry out a companion rescue.
  • Understand the limits of their training.

 

The AST 1 training is also for APSI instructors looking to acquire their ISIA stamp, increasing employment opportunity internationally.

Cost:   $300.00

Rental gear prices:

Avi Pack (include Backpack, Shovel, Probe and Beacon)  $50

Snow Shoes + Poles  $30

Touring skis/Splitboards – we can point you in the right direction for hire of these – just ask

 

The course includes:

Textbook, CAC Avaluator, two full days of instruction (one day indoors & one day in the field)

Bring:

Boots, Alpine touring skis / Splitboard with skins / Snowboard with Snowshoes, Adjustable poles, Backpack with Shovel, Probe and Avalanche Transceiver, winter clothing for all conditions, warm hat, gloves, goggles, sunnies, sunscreen, water, lunch & snacks.

 

VIC Courses

Aug 28-29 AST1

Aug 30-31 AST1

Sept 1-2 AST1

 

VIC course locations

Classroom day will be held at:

Howmans Gap Alpine Centre

2587 Bogong High Plains Rd, Falls Creek, VIC 3699

Field day will be held at:

Falls creek Ski resort

For further information and to book, please check here.

 

Backcountry film festival

 

The inaugural Australian backcountry film festival

Its time for our own festival! This set of short films comes from a number of different producers and features some lovely stories and stunning scenes from some of our grandest skiing and riding terrain.

Saturday September 1, 2018.

7pm – 10pm

Falls Creek resort

The evening will be introduced by film maker Stephen Curtain, who made the great Australian telemark film Winter Dreaming.

Aside from revealing a few of the behind the scenes and back stories to the film, Stephen explores the connection of the Australian Alps to Antarctica where he has worked as a polar videographer. Supporting alpine and polar science and research, Stephen discusses the role we can all play to protect our winters.

Matt O’Keeffe, head of Falls Creek ski patrol, will talk about backcountry safety.

Tamara Hutchins from Melbourne Girls Outside, one of the fastest growing female adventure groups in the country, will be speaking about breaking down barriers to adventure, and empowering women in the outdoors to realise that adventure is an attitude, not an age group or aptitude.

As someone who is quite new to the adventure space she truly believes that we need to redefine ADVENTURE by empowering every woman to be an ADVENTURER.

Two-time Olympic skier and Hotham skier Katya Crema will share her experiences of transitioning from Olympic ski cross racing to being a backcountry enthusiast.

She mostly skis backcountry now in Australia, Japan and Canada.

We will be showing the following films:

Mount Townsend 2209 – Australian Freeride Story

Film maker Lachlan Humphreys says

With the Australian ski season coming to the end, I joined Australian sisters and pro skiers, Anna and Nat Segal, for one last push for the hills. Filmed in October last year, Mount Townsend 2209 follows Anna and Nat as they spend five days camping and touring together under the peak of Mount Townsend, together with their American/Canadian skier friend, Holly Walker.

NSW Snowy Mountains Main Range (4 mins)

 

Hunt for White October III 2017

The third instalment in Mike Garrett’s end of winter films. No dogs were harmed in the making of this film (and it was taken outside the national park boundaries).

Mt Hotham resort. 5 mins.

 

Out of Reach

Winter – Perisher Thredbo and Charlotte’s Pass New South Wales Australia 2016

Richard Snowdon

6 mins 30 secs

 

On top of Australia

The video was shot and edited by Tim Eddy when he was 18 years old. The spots in the video are the Ramsheads, Mt Townsend into lake Albina, up around the Whites River corridor, Blue Lake  and Mt Stillwell. The Whites stuff was taken in July ish with nice dry powder. The main range content was in spring. All in 2015. Tim travelled with a full size gimble, a drone and a motorised dolly set up and a sony a7s camera with a few lenses. Probably about 20Kg.

2 mins 14 secs

 

Here for the Long Run.

Is there such a thing as sustainable travel?

Adventure Junky’s Fuchsia Claire Sims ventured to Patagonia to find out. The short film ‘Here for the long run’ follows her journey into Torres del Paine National Park to visit the Patagonia EcoCamp – the world’s first geodesic hotel and member of The Long Run.

Nigel Malone/ Adventure Junky

Patagonia. 5 mins.

 

Feathertop – the Queen of the Vic Alps

Anyone who has seen Stephen Curtain’s wonderful telemark ski film Winter Dreaming will remember the scenes of skiing the eastern face of Feathertop. This short film will be a re-cut of this segment.

Mt Feathertop area.

My Wild Home.

‘We ventured deep into the Aussie backcountry with pro skier Coen Bennie-Faull to discover what fuels his fire’. It is a lovely homage to Coen’s dad.

Produced by Hayden Griffith (haydengriffith.com)/ We Are Explorers

Hotham area and western slopes of the Main Range, NSW. 5 mins.

 

TICKETS

As of August 9, there are only 3 tickets left. You can get one here.

Tickets are $10 each.

All funds generated will be donated to a mountain pygmy possum breeding program and the Friends of the Earth climate change campaign. Check here for details.

The location of the event is the Falls Creek Resort Management boardroom.

It’s located directly above Foodworks at the base of the QT Falls Creek Hotel in the Falls Creek village.

We are looking into a ‘Plan B’ for people who can’t get a ticket.

Got a film?

There is still room in the program for one or two films. If you have one, please check the blurb below and get in touch asap. Thanks.

There are no guidelines for submitting films, beyond the request to keep under the maximum length. They don’t need to be professionally produced but need to be engaging and suitable for an all age audience. We would love to get films made by women.

If you have questions, please contact cam.walker@foe.org.au

[IMAGE: skier – Graham Hammond. Stephen Curtain collection]

Festival partners

This has been co-ordinated by Cam Walker, with the support of:

Thanks to:

  • Matt O’Keeffe, Falls Creek ski patrol
  • Adam West
  • Ern Reeders
  • Ted Malthouse
  • Sophie Webber at Falls Creek
  • Stephen Curtain
  • Richard Snowdon

If you’d like to get involved, offer a clinic, a workshop or talk, or become a partner please get in touch. cam.walker@foe.org.au

Gear hire

We will be listing the various options for hiring cross country, telemark and other gear here before the start of winter.

Falls Creek Cross Country – Cross country ski hire

Falls Creek Cross Country at Windy Corner (where the festival is based) hires a range of gear and this winter they have brand new backcountry gear.

These will be Madshus Epoch skis from the Explore Series with a BC NNN binding and Glittertind 2 buckle boots. The skis have a nice sidecut of 99, 68, 84, which will allow for some great turns, but still achieve a good kick and glide unlike heavier gear.

Daily hire : $60  or $94 for  2 days.

Extra information available here.

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Snow shoe hire

Falls Creek Cross Country has great Tubbs snow shoes available for hire for $35 for the day.

You can email them to book: fallscreekxc@ymca.org.au

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Rocky Valley Sports – resort and backcountry hire

Rocky Valley Sports, based in Mt Beauty, hire resort (heavier style) Telemark skis as well as backcountry gear. The resort gear is generally Garmont boots with Karhu skis, and the backcountry set up is either Garmont/Scarpa with Madshus skis.

There is also a budget range of lighter skis (better for touring) using Rossignol/alpine with Rossi skis.

For full details and hire rates, please check their website.

 

Demo gear

Everest Sports, based in Bright, are working with Snow Monkey, who operate out of Hotham and have a shop in Smith Street, Collingwood to provide some great demo skis for the backcountry festival. If you’re looking to try out some high quality telemark gear, then this might be the deal for you.

They have put in 6 sets of NTN skis and boots, these are Majesty Skis, Rottefella NTN bindings and Crispi Evo NTN boots. The pricing will be $75 per day, $125 for 2 days and $215 per week. Great price considering the cost of the gear.

Bookings can be made by contacting Richard Neville at Snow Monkey:

432 Smith St., Collingwood Vic 3066

Ph: 03 9417 0170

Email: richard@snowmonkey.com.au

Everest Sports will credit any ones hire costs if they then decide to purchase the gear from Everest Sports. They can probably coordinate to have hire gear picked up from Everest Sports in Bright if people are skiing at Falls Creek.

Great tshirts. Great cause.

At the backcountry festival, we will be raising funds for a number of great causes (check here for the full list).

As part of these efforts, we will be selling tshirts, and all profits will be directed to the Mountain Pygmy Possum recovery program at Mt Buller. Please see below for details on this important – and very successful – initiative.

You can buy them online via the Mountain Sports Collective website here.

You can also buy tshirts through a bank transfer.

Please specify:

1/ decide on your size: from XS to 4XL. These are Australian made shirts. Check here if you want to see the size specifications.

Female: https://www.qualitops.com.au/online-store/womens/womens-classic-ss-tee/

Male: https://www.qualitops.com.au/online-store/mens/mens-classic-ss-tee/

2/ decide on whether you want a male or female style shirt.

3/ pay by bank transfer, leaving a note in the appropriate spot in the transfer form so I know where it comes from: ‘BCF tshirt’ & your surname

Acc name: Campbell Walker

BSB: 06 3157

Account: 1008 0996

4/ then email me, with your size and choice of male/female and your contact details. cam.walker@foe.org.au Please let me know if you won’t be at the festival so we can figure out another way to get it to you.

NB: the shirts are a ‘dark colour’ which will work with the image we’re using.

They’re $40 each.

You can pre-order up until August 30.

We will have a limited number available on the day at Falls Creek.

They will be available for collection during the backcountry festival over the weekend of Sept 1 and 2 at Falls Creek. If you won’t be at the festival, please let us know so we can post them to you.

The successful genetic rescue of the Mount Buller mountain pygmy possum

“Before 2010, there was thought to be only a handful of individuals at Mt Buller. Now, Mt Buller females from the genetic rescue are bigger and have more offspring that survive longer than the progeny of pygmy possums born outside the program. We now estimate the population to be over 200 possums.” – Dr Andrew Weeks, University of Melbourne.

Dr Ian Mansergh from La Trobe University said the study’s findings mark an important development in conservation management: “Our study confirms genetic rescue as a successful conservation technique, especially when used for small, isolated populations of threatened species.”

The Burramys Genetic Rescue Team is a collaboration of researchers from the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Mount Buller Mount Stirling Resort Management and UNSW.

Burramys close up
Photo credit: Tom Kelly

The unique mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus) population of Mt Buller had been isolated for 20,000 years but was facing imminent extinction just ten years after it was discovered in 1996. Through a program of cross breeding isolated populations of the threatened species, the Burramys Genetic Rescue Team was able to boost genetic variation, translating to population growth, healthy breeding and improved survival rates.

Genetic rescue was used to introduce male mountain pygmy possums, from a healthy population at Mt Hotham, to a recipient group of females at Mt Buller. Since the genetic rescue program began in 2011, the possum population has gone through rapid growth and is now larger than when the population was first discovered.

Along with genetic rescue, there was also a program of habitat restoration, predator control and environmental protection instituted by the land manager, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

The Burramys Genetic Rescue Team is a finalist in in the Research Innovation Category of the 2018 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

You can watch the video here: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/nwo6

Check here for additional info and resources on the MPP and efforts to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.

Georgina Boardman works for Mt Hotham resort management board. Check here for her story on the recovery efforts at Mt Hotham.

Louise Perrin manages the recovery efforts at Mt Buller. Check here for her story.

Ride sharing

“There’s a total disconnect between our sport and what’s happening with climate change. We know it’s a high impact sport. From a karma perspective, the ski industry should be at the fore of the fight against global warming.”

  • Jamie Shectman, Mountain Riders Association.

One way of reducing our carbon footprint is to car pool. Hopefully this page will help you connect with others in your area to share rides.

(Falls Creek charges an entry fee to access the resort, so ride sharing also helps you keep your costs down).

HOW TO USE THIS PAGE

Write a comment below, briefly stating whether you need or can offer a ride, what day you’re leaving (and where from) and when you’re heading home, plus your contact details. Eg

RIDE OFFERED, MELBOURNE (from northern suburbs). Leaving Friday arvo, returning Sunday. Room for 2 people. Steve 0400000000.

If you sort a ride, you’re welcome to email me and I will remove your post so you don’t get multiple calls. cam.walker@foe.org.au

We will leave it to you to sort out details on cost sharing, etc for your trip.

Even better – take the bus!

If you’re staying in the village or camping out on the Bogong High Plains, then the bus is the ‘least fuss’ option. A number of bus companies service Falls Creek during winter.

Falls Creek Coach Service offers a bus service from Melbourne to Falls Creek, as well as the Melbourne airport (Tullamarine), Albury/Wodonga and Adelaide. There is also a regular shuttle service from Mt Beauty to Falls Creek and a community bus from Mt Beauty to Falls on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only.

Please check here for full details.

FOR PEOPLE STAYING AT HOWMANS GAP

If you want to share a ride from the Howmans Gap accommodation up the hill to Falls Creek on saturday am to reduce costs, please leave a comment below with the heading HOWMANS GAP, then your contact details.

Ski/ ride Hard. Do Good.

The backcountry festival is the product of a lot of volunteer effort and good will. Falls Creek Resort Management Board, Falls Creek Cross Country, and a range of businesses and individuals have offered help and support in various forms. Bogong Equipment has provided some funds.

We hope to be able to give back to some worthy causes while we hold the festival.

First, we want to have a low impact event:

  • If you have a reusable cup, please bring it for use in the café at Windy Corner (there will be some for sale on the day from the cafe).

 

  • Think about catching the bus or car pooling. There are buses direct to the resort. Our ride sharing page allows you to organise and offer lifts easily. Check our transport page for details.

 

  • sharing a ride or taking the bus means you’re using less fossil fuels – this is a better option than ‘offsetting’ the carbon that is produced from burning the petrol. But if you would like to offset emissions from your car you can select the ‘car’ option here [go to ‘CLICK HERE TO BEGIN’ then ‘CALCULATOR’ then ‘CAR’]. You will need to know or guess the fuel consumption per 100 km, then put in the number of kilometres you will be driving and whether your car runs on petrol or diesel.

 

  • If you’re camping out above snow line, consider using a poo tube to reduce impacts on streams.

 

  • be aware of what packaging you’re bringing onto the mountain, make sure you practise #LeaveNoTrace ethics if you’re camping out, and seperate out your waste and use the recycling system at Falls Creek.

 

  • If you’re staying in the Falls Creek village, check out (and use) the Living Bin containers, which divert food waste from ending up in landfill.

 

Do good for the mountains. Five great causes.

Our ‘mascot’ (totem animal?) for the festival is the Mountain Pygmypossum, Burramys parvus, Australia’s only hibernating marsupial. The mountain pygmy possum has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as Critically endangered. In 2000, the population estimates totalled less than 2,000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations that exist across the Australian Alps.

Funds received through the film night will be shared between:

1/ Mountain Critter Cause.

Mountain Critter Cause supports a breeding program for the possum that is run by the University of NSW. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the possum.

Check for details on our fund raising efforts for the possum.

2/ the Friends of the Earth climate campaign.

Climate change poses an existential threat to the possum and the winter climate we all love. Check here for details on the various climate campaigns that FoE runs.

3/ Thanks to the generosity of Peter Hull from local brewery Sweetwater, we will also be raising funds for Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA) through the outdoor bar we will be running on Saturday afternoon. The organisation has assisted thousands of individuals with disabilities to participate in winter sports annually and has a strong presence at Falls Creek. You can find details here.

4/ Josh Fletcher will talk about the recent re-launch of Protect Our Winters in Australia and how you can get involved in the local chapter of POW.

5/ Bring your old (good quality) ski gear to donate to the Heat the Homeless program run by XTM.

Social media

If posting about the festival, please use #VICbackcountryfestival

The facebook page for the festival is here.

SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS FOR SOME OF OUR PARTNERS:

Falls Creek Cross Country and Windy Corner cafe:

facebook

Mountain journal:

facebook

instagram

Sweetwater Brewery:

twitter

instagram

Media releases on the festival.

First announcement (May 2018)

Film festival announcement (June 2018)

One month til the inaugural backcountry festival (August 2018)

 

Media stories on the festival.

‘Out and About’ magazine for north east VIC (Spring edition)

http://specialpubs.fairfaxregional.com.au/e-mags/2018/OUT/0824_01/

Falls Creek and Mt Beauty ‘This Week’ News. (August 24, 2018)

https://www.fallscreek.com.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2018/08/FCMBTW-Ed-W18-12-Low.pdf

Wild Melbourne (August 2018)

The Big Outside is waiting

http://wildmelbourne.org/articles/the-big-outside-is-waiting

Snow Action (August 2018)

First Australian backcountry festival coming to Falls Creek.

http://snowaction.com.au/first-australian-backcountry-festival-coming-falls-creek/

Alpine News (July 2018)

Australian backcountry festival.

Mt Hotham Falls Creek News. (August 2018)

Backcountry festival is coming to Falls Creek.

https://nemedia.com.au/supplements/mt-hotham-falls-creek-news-3/

MountainWatch (July 2018)

Victorian backcountry festival. All you need to know.

http://www.mountainwatch.com/Snow-news/victorian-backcountry-festival-everything-you-need-to-know/

 

Snowaction magazine (July 2018)

Piece on the festival from the July edition.

Bogong (June 2018)

Victorian Backcountry Festival Organiser: An Interview with Cam Walker

Snows best website. (June 2018).

Winter Olympian Katya Crema to open Australian Backcountry Film Festival

 

Explore Adventure Outdoor magazine (May – June 2018) did a great piece on the festival.

Miss Snow it All (April 2018). Backcountry skiing and splitboarding festival launches in Australia.

 

 

 

Wild magazine (Feb 2018). Victoria to hold inaugural backcountry festival this September.

The Mountain Pygmy-possum

Our ‘mascot’ (totem animal?) for the festival is the Mountain Pygmypossum, Burramys parvus, Australia’s only hibernating marsupial.

It is a small, mouse-sized nocturnal marsupial found in dense alpine rock screes and boulder fields, mainly southern Victoria and around Mount Kosciuszko. The species is currently restricted to three isolated mountain regions:  Mount Blue Cow in Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, Mount Bogong and Mount Higginbotham/Loch in the Bogong High Plains in Victoria, and Mount Buller in Victoria.

Conservation status

According to Wikipedia, as of 2008, the mountain pygmy possum has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as Critically endangered. In 2000, the population estimates totalled less than 2,000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations. Current population estimates indicate that these numbers have declined in the last decade.

The biggest threats to the remaining mountain pygmy possum populations include:

Saving the possum

Check this great story of the work done by Louise Perrin and the team at Mt Buller.

There is a national recovery plan for the possum.

This is a great story about how sniffer dogs are being deployed in efforts to protect the possum.

And this is a report on the very successful ‘Genetic Rescue’ program, which introduced male mountain pygmy possums from a healthy population at Mt Hotham, to a group of females at Mt Buller. The two groups had become physically isolated from each other over 20,000 years.

Check here for details on what Mt Hotham resort are doing to protect the possum.

The Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Zoos Victoria have recently completed a tunnel under the Great Alpine Road, which aims to provide safe passage between two groups of critically endangered Mountain Pygmy-possums. The populations are separated by the road and this reduces the chances of the species remaining viable in the Mt Little Higginbotham area.

Can you donate to help the possum?

1/ During the festival, we will be encouraging people to support the Mountain Critter Cause, which is raising funds for the Mountain Pygmy Possum.

Funds will be directly funnelled to a captive breeding and release program managed by the University of NSW Foundation, a not for profit research and conservation focused organisation.

You can donate (and find further information) here.

2/ Climate change is a huge threat to the possum. Support groups doing effective work to tackle climate change.

For example:

The Program

Where is it based?

The festival will be based at the Falls Creek Cross Country centre, located just above the top carpark at Falls Creek ski resort in north east Victoria. We recommend you stay on the mountain or nearby (Mt Beauty, Bogong Village or Howmans Gap) to be able to join us by 8.30am. Check here for ideas on accommodation options.

If you’re planning on attending it would be great if you could register (it’s free). This will help us in our planning.

LOGISTICS

  • Please organise your own accommodation. Ideas on options available here.
  • This is a free festival: there is no fee to participate in the festival, and at this point there is no charge to any of the sessions listed in the program (thanks to everyone who is donating their time to lead a tour, clinic or workshop). Please be aware that Falls Creek resort do charge an entry fee.
  • Please be aware that the film festival is a ticketed event due to the capacity limit of our venue. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.
  • PLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE SESSIONS YOU WANT TO DO, through emailing the team leader. Some of them are already booking out.
  • Please be aware that you join the festival at your own risk.

There is still room in the program for you to get involved. If you would like to contribute an idea or offer to lead a workshop or tour, please get in touch. The program is currently very ‘male heavy’ and we would really welcome any offers of clinics or tours from women. Please get in touch with your idea: cam.walker@foe.org.au

Saturday September 1, 2018

 

COFFEE & MINGLE

Meet at 8.30am at the Windy Corner cross country centre. Grab a coffee from the café (bring your own cup – eg a Keep Cup – if you have one), mingle, then join your preferred group for a 9am start.

If you’re hiring gear from Falls Creek Cross Country please get there early.

There will be a short briefing at 8.50am sharp.

SKI, RIDE, SNOW SHOE

There are sessions in the morning (in two time blocks, with a 15 break between the sessions) plus a number of all day tours:

1/ PROGRAM OFFERED BY FALLS CREEK CROSS COUNTRY

Falls Creek Cross Country has generously offered the following free events. Please note that you need to book for these.

Intro Telemark Clinic

WHEN: 9:00 am to 10:30am

WHERE: Inner trails around the nordic bowl.

EQUIPMENT: Either have your own pattern based metal edged touring skis and boots to match, or hire from Falls Creek XC and mention that you are participating in our clinic to ensure you get the correct gear and a great price.

COST: FREE (minimum 3 skiers). BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: please email us at fallscreekxc@ymca.org.au

Learn the basics of the telemark stance and turn, with Pete and/or Geza our telemark gurus at Falls Creek Cross Country. These fine instructors will be supportive of all abilities.

This clinic could be the beginning of learning to move with grace and freedom. However its not just a turn, but a stance that can be used to get through tricky terrain as well. Having a good level of fitness is helpful, but not mandatory.

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Intro Backcountry Snow shoe tour

WHEN: 9:00am to 10:30am

WHERE: Off track to pristine locations

COST: FREE (minimum 3 snowshoers). BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: please email us at fallscreekxc@ymca.org.au

Get off track and explore Falls Creeks hidden wonders. Discover the pristine alpine meadows, surrounded by our hardiest eucalypt, the beautiful twisted snow gums.  Observe the unique flora and fauna, and take advantage of our guides historical knowledge of the area.

Falls Creek Cross Country has great Tubbs snow shoes available for hire for $35 for the day.

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Snow Camping 101.

WHEN: 10:45am to 12:45pm

WHERE: Meet at the Nordic Bowl

EQUIPMENT: Please bring waterproof gloves and or mitts

BYO: Lunch

COST: FREE. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: please email us at fallscreekxc@ymca.org.au

Join Pete and/or Geza for snow camping tips. How to pitch a tent or build a small shelter. Learn the tricks to cooking in the snow, creating snow tables and chairs and keeping dry. Enjoy a FREE hot chocolate from the camp stove. We won’t be travelling far, however you must either be either on snowshoes or back country touring skis that have a pattern base or skins to match your skis. FCXC will provide snow shovels.

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Intro Backcountry Telemark Tour

WHEN: 1:30pm to 4:30pm

WHERE: Across the dam wall and beyond!

COST: FREE (minimum 3 skiers). BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: please email us at FallsCreekXC@ymca.org.au

Time to get the vibe and flow and head out to create some of your first tracks. Enjoy the sheer bliss of a descent that has been earned the hard way.

Practise some of the moves you may have learnt in the mornings sessions and just enjoy the company of good people, who value the space beyond the last lift.

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2/ OTHER EVENTS

PLEASE NOTE: you can sign up for these FREE events on the day by being at the Windy Corner cross country ski centre at 8.30am. But if you pre-book with the relevant leader, that will help us with our planning. Some sessions will have a limit on numbers so it would be wise to pre book.

 

Backcountry kids

When:  Meet at Windy Corner at 10am

Me (Thea, 10) and my brother (Jono, 12) are keen cross country/backcountry skiiers and we’d love to meet up with other kids at the festival.  We’ll be able to share information about gear, places to go and snow camping.  Bring your ski gear, lunch, snacks and water (and an adult) and we’ll head out for a short trip and some mucking around.

Contact dad (Brendan Sydes) if you and your mum, dad or other grown up are interested in joining us.   brendansydes@yahoo.com

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Join a group to tele ski the runs in resort (you’ll need a lift pass)

Resort telemarking group

There’s a limit of 10 to this group.  Those who’ve booked get preference.

The idea is to have a social ski and explore the runs on- and off-piste of the resort.  Below is a rough plan but it may change on the day depending on conditions.

In the morning we’ll explore the resort, starting in Sun Valley which is on the south side.  We’ll first ski Drover’s Dream (green run) and work our way across to Ruined Castle via blue runs and at the Castle there’s a choice of blue and black.  We may go over to the north side to the Summit and return to the Castle via the Headwater bowl – that will involve a short shuffle. Or if there’s fresh snow and decent visibility we can head to the Wishing Well.

You can choose to stay on the run that suits your style – just let me know – or skip ahead and let us catch up.

We’re aiming for an early lunch.

After lunch I’ll take a group through some sidecountry.  First change your layers and kit if necessary.  The emphasis will not be on big lines but on exploring the terrain and enjoying the scenery.  Depending on what folk want to do, this will involve a short stretch of walking or skating or a 10 minute walk through to a 20 minute climb or all three – conditions permitting.

Gear

Helmet and goggles are advised for the morning.  If the resort’s in cloud the cloud base is usually half way down the slopes so low-light lenses can come in handy.  If it’s windy it can be cold riding the lifts.  Temperature averages for this time of year are -3 C min to +2 C max.  For the sidecountry, you’ll need either pattern base skis or skins; or walk.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Ern Reeders

#0408 530106

ernest.reeders@gmail.com

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Beacon search basics

WHEN: 10:45am to 12:45pm

WHERE: meet at the Windy Corner Shelter.

If you haven’t done an avalanche training course yet, this session will provide a good introduction to the use of a safety beacon and the basics of companion rescue. The secret to an effective recovery operation is to be proficient with the use of a beacon to find a buried companion, and practise makes perfect!

This session will be led by Rolf Schonfeld from Mountain Sports Collective. To join this session please email him at hello@rescuetechnologies.net

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Touring skills session – beyond the Dam

WHEN: 9am to 12:45pm

Richard Snowdon will offer a touring skills session around the nordic trails (on and off groomed areas) in the resort, and point out areas on the east side (across the dam and out to Heathy Spur and Ropers Lookout) where groups can go by themselves after the session. He knows the area well and is open to any questions people may have. This will be suitable for intermediate level or above skiers/split boarders who have their own gear – pattern based touring gear accepted and maps/ compass are recommended.

To book into this session please email Richard:

richard.snowdon1980@gmail.com

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Tour to Mt Nelse

WHEN: leaving Windy Corner at 9am. Back around 3pm.

Join a group for a tour to Mt Nelse, on the eastern side of the Bogong High PLains to get some runs in (suitable for intermediate tele skiers, splitboarders and people with alpine touring bindings). If you feel confident on skis/ splitboard but not toured outside the resort this will be a good chance to explore some of the backcountry that is close to resort.

Leaving from Windy Corner shelter at 9.15. You will need gear, food and water for a five to six hour tour. Led by Cam Walker and Stefaan Steyn.

To book in please contact Cam: cam.walker@foe.org.au

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Tour to Spion Kopje or Mt McKay.

WHEN: all day (back by 4pm).

WHERE: leave from Windy Corner shelter at 9am

This is for intermediate to advanced skiers and riders. The aim is to ski out to either of these mountains to do runs on the steeper slopes.

It will be a long day, with considerable number of kilometres to be covered.

Leader: Daniel Sherwin – daniel@cogna.com.au

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Beginners snow shoe tour

WHEN: leaving Windy Corner at 9am.

Leaving from Windy Corner we will explore the snow shoe trails around Falls Creek then head out over to the damn wall. Here we will explore the area around the start of the Alpine Crossing from Falls Creek to Mt Hotham with some great views of the surrounding alpine area.

The walk will take approximately three to four hours so please make sure you are kitted out with a day pack, 2 litres of water and some high energy snacks. You will need clothing that will keep you warm, waterproof and windproof for the duration of the activity. A gear and clothing list will be provided to those wishing to attend.

Andrew will be packing his Jetboil to heat up some hot chocolate with some tasty treats for those who attend, so please bring along a little water, cup or mug for this and don’t forget your camera!

The activity is designed for beginners to help them find out how much fun and easy snow shoeing is. The snow shoes we will be using are the Tubbs Flex Trek style and are super easy to use: https://youtu.be/67UhDGTNxI8

There will be a beginners snow shoe tour, led by Andrew Stevenson of
YHA Bushwalking.

Please register with Andrew: svenlobster@yahoo.com.au

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Navigation Clinic

This session will be run by Luke Frisken

WHEN: 9:00am to 12:30pm

This clinic will be focussed on teaching you the skills required to navigate safely and effectively in the Australian backcountry during your winter adventures.

If you participate in this clinic you will learn the basics about:

  • Preparation and trip planning
  • Online resources for navigation
  • How to read topographic maps
  • How to use a compass
  • How to use a gps
  • Navigation in white-out conditions
  • Situational awareness
  • Slope angle assessment

To book in to this session please email Luke:

l.frisken@gmail.com

Please note that there is a limit of 15 people on this trip. Please pre register with Luke so he can let you know what gear to bring and suggest some materials to read before the session.

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LUNCH

At lunchtime, you can get lunch at the Windy Corner cafe (or collect a packed lunch in the morning) – pre booking essential – please email the people at Windy Corner at FallsCreekXC@ymca.org.au.

The preorder lunch includes:   Healthy Sandwich or wrap with a fresh muffin and a piece of fruit for $9.

Or drop in to the cafe for lunch and enjoy the fresh veggie curries or meat dishes with rice. $11

Or feel free to BYO or visit any of the cafes in the Falls Creek village.

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BEER & YARNS

Re-group in the afternoon for beers from 4 – 6pm. Beers on sale, served by Peter Hull of local brewery Sweetwater. Bring your own fold up chair if you have one and come dressed for the weather. This will be outside the Falls Creek Cross Country centre (the day shelter), above the Windy Corner car park.

There will be snacks available for purchase from the Cross Country Centre.

The bar will raise funds for Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA).

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3.30pm – 4pm Backcountry skills

Margaret Baz,experienced ski touring snow camper and nurse, will discuss a few tips and things for you to consider before venturing into the back country . She will also discuss how to properly pack out your poo and discuss why this is important in the Australian Alps.

All welcome. In the Nordic shelter, before Katya and Tamara’s session.

No need to book, just show up.

For further info: margaretbaz@hotmail.com

 

4pm. Getting into the backcountry

An informal session with Katya Crema and Tamara Hutchins, who will talk about their experience of learning to be comfortable in the backcountry.

This informal chat is targeted at women who are starting to explore outdoor environments. Melbourne Girls Outside is a network of women who have built a community around supporting each other and breaking down barriers when it comes to exploring the outdoors. Katya will talk about her transition from an Olympian ski cross racer to backcountry adventurer. This will be an informal chat and Q & A.

Windy Corner Nordic Centre, Falls Creek.

4 – 5pm.

No need to book.

The outdoor bar will be happening outside the shelter from 4 til 6, so why not grab a drink on the way in?

FILMS & TALKS

Then join us from 7pm – 9.30pm (location: on mountain).

Enjoy:

  • Check out some great backcountry films from local skiers and riders (please feel free to contribute your film – must be 7 mins or less. Full details here). There will be an introduction from Stephen Curtain, who made the classic Australian telemark film Winter Dreaming.
  • Short chats from a range of speakers, including Matt O’Keeffe, head of the Falls Creek ski patrol, on mountain and backcountry safety, and Simon Murray from Mountain Sports Collective.
  • Tamara Hutchins from Melbourne Girls Outside, one of the fastest growing female adventure groups in the country, will be speaking about breaking down barriers to adventure, and empowering women in the outdoors.
  • Two-time Olympic skier and Hotham skier Katya Crema will share her experiences of transitioning from Olympic ski cross racing to being a backcountry enthusiast.

Enjoy a beer, meet other BC enthusiasts, organise some trips, maybe win something in the raffle.

SORRY, this event is now fully booked. Because of the size of the venue, tickets are pre order only (and cost $10). For full details on the speakers and films and to get a ticket, please check here.

Sunday September 2

World telemark day

There will be two options:

  • Join other skiers and riders to have a fun day in resort (you’ll need a lift ticket)
  • Join a tour. Destination will depend on the group and conditions but come prepared for 4 – 5 hours in the backcountry.

Meet at the Windy Corner cafe at 9am for a start by 9.30. If lost or looking for us during the day, you can text Cam: 0419 338 047

All skiers and riders welcome.

There is a facebook event page for the day available here.

Check here for details on previous world tele days at Mt Hotham.

 

 

OTHER EVENTS HAPPENING SEPTEMBER 1 and 2

A number of other events will be happening on the mountain over the weekend, including:

Avalanche Safety Training

There will be three 2 day AST level 1 training courses offered by Adam West in the build up to the festival and on the weekend. Full details here.

Light the Night

This is run by Falls Creek.

Each spring Leukaemia Foundation supporters take part in a series of Light the Night walks, shining lanterns of hope to cure leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Falls Creek will again host it’s own Light the Night Ski this September to shine hope and fund blood cancer research to improve treatments and find cures.

Join the Falls Creek community in a beautiful lantern lighting ceremony and Light the Night ski or snowboard down Wombat’s Ramble.

To raise funds for the cause, lanterns will be available for purchase in Slalom Plaza. Visitors will then take their lantern up the Halley’s Comet chairlift to ski down Wombats Ramble in a brilliant show of solidarity to find a cure for this devastating disease.

Details here.

50:50 touring with Steve Lee

50-50 backcountry tours is a day out that combines alpine touring (ski or snowboarding) with snowmobile lifted access to some great areas not accessible with our standard tours.

It’s a full day program and it’s all about maximising the terrain, snow and nice spring days.

You’ll be lapping the south and west faces of Mt McKay, which offer super long challenging terrain of up to 400+m vertical. These are nice big drops, and with that long hikes out.

However with the 50-50 program you’ll only have to hike a portion, the minimum portion in fact, to a pick up point then get lifted to the top to do it all again.

You’ll need touring gear (not provided). Which means alpine touring skis with walk mode bindings and skins, snowboarders will need a splitboard or snowshoes. A pack with lunch, water, snacks etc and that’s about it.

This is a great introductory day for those wanting to learn to tour, or a fantastic day for those who already know how and want to maximise some vertical getting a bunch of great laps in.

Minimum booking numbers is 3 up to groups of 8.

Standard tours book via website, https://backcountrytours.checkfront.com/reserve/ For the 50-50 tour inquiries you can contact Steve via email. skiingwithstevelee@gmail.com

The festival

This is a free, volunteer run event. Most of the clinics and other activities are free events. Falls Creek resort charges an entry fee. We’re working with a range of community groups and businesses to make this a great day.

Please note that you join these activities at your own risk. We do not have insurance coverage for participants.