Backcountry festival this weekend!

Woo hoo! The 2nd Victorian Backcountry Festival is finally here.

Here’s some last minute things that may be useful.

The program

Remember that we are offering some last minute tours. Also, some tours that were previously full have had cancellations, so it may be worth having another look at the program.

If you’re chasing any last minute gear hire, please check the gear hire page for details.

Festival hub – Saturday morning

The General (stop 3 on the village bus network) is the base for the festival. There will be demo tents out the front by Everest Sports and Wilderness Sports, and some awesome splitboards to try out, among some other great gear. The North Face will have their expedition tent, Mammut will have a stall, and Mountain Sports Collective will be selling their backcountry maps.

Be aware that The General Rail Jam is happening outside the Genny on sat afternoon, so its all going off up there.

Start time

Please check the start time AND location for your tour/s (there are a range of start points). Your tour guide will confirm this and provide a gear list.

If you’re booked into any of the sessions that start at 9, 9.30 or 10am on the Saturday, please come along to The General from 8.30am to meet your tour leader (you can get coffee/ breakfast there). There will be a festival opening and safety briefing from Bill Barker of ski patrol at 9am sharp.

Speaker’s program

The speaker’s program has a fantastic line up of people presenting. From noon – 4pm saturday, upstairs at The General. Then jump on the village bus to the outdoor bar …

The outdoor bar

We’re holding a ski in outdoor bar on Saturday afternoon at Village Lookout from 4 – 6pm. Feel free to bring stuff to make the venue gorgeous – maybe some banners or solar lights for the trees. There will be beer and wine and food and a fire pit. Music and avalanche beacon search contests. Then kick on at Blizzard Brewery at Dinner Plain.

Registrations – tonight at The Snowline Hotel.

Luka will be at the Snowline (on your left as you head out of Harrietville) from 7.30pm to 8.30pm and should be able to help with any questions you have and help sign you up onto any tours that still have spaces.

Christmas Hills this afternoon


The festival has turned into a monster (in the best possible way). We have 355 people registered. We will need help on the weekend. If you want to volunteer some time, please check here for a list of jobs.

Please understand that this is a 100% volunteer effort. It’s a community event – so if you see something that needs doing, please do it. If in doubt, feel free to check with me, but please bring your community responsibility and initiative along to the festival.


It was raining at Hotham this morning but its turned to glorious snow. Be careful on the roads. It will be cloudy and windy over the weekend, with snow showers, on both days. This snow is good news for the snow pack as the backcountry touring has been a weird mix of ice, bulletproof and sun affected/ heavy snow (check here for a recent summary). A ‘freshen up’ will cheer everyone up and make for much better riding and skiing.

Come dressed for the cold!

Keep in touch

Check the facebook page for any last minute updates.

The Ultimate Festival Guide is available here – it has details on all the highlights.

Remember – travel light. Check here for ideas on holding a low impact festival.

Share the love on social media: #VICbackcountryfestival

And please remember that we DO NOT have insurance coverage for participants. You attend the festival at your own risk. The advice I have is that it would be very wise to check that you have current membership of Ambulance Victoria.

We’re liaising with ski patrol, resort management, Bush Search and Rescue, Victoria Police, Parks Victoria, Mountain Sports Collective, Ambulance VIC and the SES to bring you a safe festival. Many thanks to all the emergency services for their time on this event.

Thanks to everyone who has registered or who is volunteering their time to speak, offer a tour or workshop, or help out in some way.

Stoke level is high,


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