Australia’s first backcountry festival.

Media release. Backcountry festival

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

When it comes to winter sports, backcountry skiing and riding is the ‘new black’. With more and more snow media attention on the topic, and continued development of lighter and better alpine touring and splitboard gear, growing numbers of people are leaving the resorts and venturing into wilder terrain.

“The most challenging skiing and riding in Australia is outside resorts: from the western slopes of the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains to the eastern face of Mt Feathertop, Australia has world class terrain that few resort skiers and riders have ever seen” said festival organiser Cam Walker.

“The rise of a new backcountry culture, which is often young and focused on finding steep terrain, is now meshing with the ‘older’ cross country ski community as new participants spend more time camping and touring in the mountains.”

“But until now there has been no single event in Australia where this community can gather to ski and ride, share skills, meet new riding buddies and have fun.”

“Around the world there are many well established backcountry festivals, from Tailgate, which is held in Thompson Pass in Alaska, to Winterstoke, based out of Whitewater Ski Resort, British Columbia. Now its time for Australia to join the party. The Victorian backcountry festival will happen the week after the split-board specific Splitfest and be held on September 1 (the southern hemisphere’s celebration of World Telemark Day). There will also be AST level 1 avalanche training courses available.

It will happen out of the Windy Corner Nordic Centre at Falls Creek resort in north east Victoria. There will be clinics, tours, workshops and demos. The day will end with an outdoor bar run by local brewery Sweetwater, and Australia’s first mini film festival featuring only Australian made backcountry films. (These films will all be under 7 minutes long and include a presentation from well known outdoor film maker Stephen Curtain). Full details here.

The Sunday will feature other tours, a big telemark gathering, and hopefully a ski-mountaineering race. To be recognised as a ski-mo course, it must include a minimum of 1,000 metres of vertical. “We’re still working out the details of the ski-mo race and will be making an announcement before winter”.

“This will be a grass-roots gathering 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.”

The festival is a collaboration between Mountain Journal, Mountain Sports Collective and Falls Creek Cross Country and is being supported by a range of businesses and organisations. There is still room for extra people and businesses to get involved. We would especially welcome women offering films or to guide tours.

Further information on ways of getting involved are listed here.

The BC fest will be preceded by the annual Backcountry Film Festival (BCFF). From a small gathering of 60 people in Melbourne six years ago, the BCFF has grown into a significant event for the backcountry community, with more than 500 people attending shows. In 2018 there will be screenings in Sydney (April 21), Melbourne (May 9), Bright, in north east VIC (June) and Canberra (July). It features a program put together by the US-based Winter Wildlands Alliance. “The 2018 line-up includes some great films from Alaska, Idaho and Iraq, plus a feature on ski athlete Caroline Gleich.”

Check the website for full details.

Further information

Cam Walker 0419 338 047

This is a free event, although Falls Creek resort charges an entry fee . Participants join the festival at their own risk.

You can register for the festival here.

The program is available here.

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