The Program

2019 festival

We are currently developing the program and would welcome your involvement.

If you’re interested in offering any kind of session relevant to the backcountry for the 2019 program, please get in touch:

I would really like to hear from women who would like to offer skills or lead tours.

What has been offered already:

  • skillshares: basics of avalanche safety (beacon searches, etc), indoor session featuring an introduction to splitboarding gear
  • tours:Snow shoe tourWomen’s tour for intermediate skiers

    Intro to splitboarding – basic tour

    Splitboard tour – focus on women

    Tele focused tour – intermediate

    AT focused tour

    Snow camping intro

What sessions do we want to fill?

  • lots more tours, from beginner to advanced (side country and backcountry), navigation skills,  building snow shelters (snow caves, etc), backcountry telemark clinics, kids ski tour, in resort telemark ski group – and any other backcountry related skills or adventures.

What’s different in 2019?

  • The speaker’s program has been extended, with more sessions. This will happen on saturday September 7.
  • At this point we do not have a venue for the film festival (sat night). If you know of a suitable location at Mt Hotham/ Dinner Plain, please get in touch.
  • We’re planning to host a free 3 day camp on the Razorback for intermediate/ advanced skiers and riders from mon – wed Sept 9 – 11 for people who want to advance their backcountry skills and learn about snow camping.
  • based on feedback from last year we will aim to have more splitboard specific tours available.
  • We’re hoping to hold the outdoor bar in a backcountry location, requiring a ~1 km walk/ ski in.

We hope to have the draft program available by May 2019.


People who register will get first option on sessions. You can register here (it costs $10 for the weekend). This should happen in the week starting May 20.

The program will then be posted on this page in the week starting May 27.


2018 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.


  • 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:

Saturday September 1, 2018



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.


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


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.



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.


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.


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


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


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:


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:


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 –


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:

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

Please register with Andrew:


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:

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.



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

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.



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).


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:


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?


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


  • 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.




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, For the 50-50 tour inquiries you can contact Steve via email.

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.