Backcountry skiing and split boarding festival launches in Australia

Feathertop, Australia, Hotham, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snow
Feathertop, Australia. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Australia to get their own Backcountry Festival at Falls Creek this September. 

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 Backcountry Festival organiser Cam Walker, the man behind the Backcountry Film Festival held in Sydney and Melbourne every April and May.

“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.”

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. 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.

Now its time for Australia to join the party this September.

Victorian Backcountry Festival

The Victorian backcountry festival will be held on September 1 and 2 at the Windy Corner Nordic Centre at Falls Creek. The festival will feature AST level 1 avalanche clinics, tours, workshops and demos. The day will end with an outdoor bar run by local brewery Sweetwater.

The Sunday program features more tours, a big telemark gathering, and potentially 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” says Walker.

“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.”

Mini Backcountry Film Festival

Australia’s first “mini film festival” featuring only Australian made backcountry films. Each film is under 7 minutes long and will be screened from 7.00pm to 9.30pm in the Falls Creek village on the Saturday night.

We’re delighted to be able to show some work from film maker Stephen Curtain, who produced the classic Australian telemark film Winter Dreaming. The full program will be announced by late May.

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. Organizers would love to receive more films made by women.

The festival is a collaboration between Mountain Journal, Mountain Sports Collective and Falls Creek Cross Country and is being supported by a range of Festival partners. There is still room for extra people and businesses to get involved.

Check the website for full details.

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