BC festivals – Australia gets with the program

Outdoor adventure in the backcountry and community gatherings in the snow. What could be better? Australia already has a couple of regular events (the standout is Splitfest, held in the Snowy Mountains each August). The 2018 BC Fest is (as far as we know) the first ‘all things backcountry’ festival in Australia. It will happen at Falls Creek resort over the weekend of September 1 and 2.

There is a diverse backcountry community in Australia – mountain enthusiasts whose love of snow and terrain takes them outside resort boundaries. It makes sense to have an annual community gathering. Overseas there is a long tradition of these types of festivals. In 2018, Australia will get with the program.

Here’s some inspiration to get you ready:

Continue reading “BC festivals – Australia gets with the program”

Additional avalanche safety training available

With growing numbers of people heading into the backcountry, there is also growing interest in learning about snow safety. One aspect of this is formal avalanche safety training, and we encourage people in the BC community to at least get level 1 training. This provides the basic skills to read terrain for risks and can greatly increase your safety in the mountains.

As I understand it, there are two main curriculums taught: the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) system and the Avalanche Canada Avalanche Skills Training curriculum (AST). Two different trainers will be offering courses before or during the Victorian backcountry festival:

One set will be run by Adam West, who teaches the AST level 1 course (full details here).

The other will be offered by Dave and Pieta Herring, of Alpine Access Australia, who also teach the Canadian system.

Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. Participants acquire new skills and knowledge to help them keep safe in the backcountry. They teach the Avalanche Canada Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST1) Course, which aims to provide an entry-level decision-making framework for assessing avalanche risk. Courses include a day in the classroom and a day in the field. They cost $300.

Dave and Pieta will be running a course in the Hotham area shortly before the backcountry festival on the weekend of August 18 and 19. They may offer additional courses if there is sufficient interest.

For details on their AST courses please check here.


Avalanche Safety Training Level 1

These two day courses will be delivered by Adam West. Each course has a ‘class’ day at the Howmans Gap Alpine Centre and a day in the field at Falls Creek. The curriculum being taught is the Avalanche Canada Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST1).

Dates for the courses are:

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

You can find full details on the course, and how to book here.

Have you made a backcountry film?

On the Saturday night, we will be hosting a showing of locally made backcountry skiing and riding films. If you’ve produced a short film (max 7 minutes) that you’d like to show to a crowd of snow enthusiasts, please get in touch.

They will be shown from 7 – 9.30pm on Saturday September 1, in the Falls Creek village.

We’re delighted to be able to show some work from film maker Stephen Curtain, who produced the classic Australian telemark film Winter Dreaming.

There are no guidelines beyond the maximum length. They don’t need to be professionally produced but need to be engaging and suitable for an all age audience. The venue holds a maximum of 60 people so this will be a ticketed event. The backcountry film festival is a volunteer event and we do not have the ability to pay for films.

We would like to receive films by the end of May to allow us to advertise the full program for the evening before winter.

Please contact cam.walker@foe.org.au

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

Our mascot – the Mountain Pygmy-possum

Our ‘mascot’ (or maybe totem animal?) for the festival is the Mountain Pygmy-possum, 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.

Check here for some extra background on the possum and how you can help this iconic species.

“Mountains are the beginning and end of all natural scenery” – John Ruskin

The Journey Begins

September 1st, 2018. Backcountry festival at Falls Creek.

Its months til winter. But we’re starting to plan the first Australian backcountry festival.

It has grown out of World Telemark Day gatherings that have been happening at Mt Hotham in north eastern Victoria each September.

This year we have moved to Falls Creek resort and broadened the focus to cover all forms of human and gravity powered backcountry travel, including telemark skiing, split boarding, cross country, snow shoeing and alpine touring.

The day – to be held on September 1st 2018 – will feature clinics and sessions covering ‘all things backcountry’, with a party at night.

Continue reading “The Journey Begins”