SEPTEMBER ISSUE, 2017
2 SKY HIGH SALES Highest ever land auction at Mt Hotham
5 HOPPET IS HERE Kangaroo Hoppet attracts a strong field
WINTER WONDERLAND: Skiers and snowboarders at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek have experienced some of the best snow conditions in years this August. PHOTO: Karl Gray
What a memorable month index Falls Creek events
Things to do in the valley 14
lice presence at the resorts. The member for Benambra has called on Police Minister Lisa Neville to undertake a “comprehensive review” of police numbers at alpine ski resorts. It comes after police had to travel from more than two hours away to respond to an incident at Falls Creek in late July. In this edition we preview the 2017 Kangaroo Hoppet which is shaping up to be the most competitive in a number of years. At the pointy end of both the elite men’s and women’s fields is a number of skiers capable of taking out the Aus-
tralian leg of the Worldloppet series. Australia’s best hopes are Mt Beauty’s Phil Bellingham and Barbara Jezersek, who will be skiing under the Australian flag for the first time. Earlier this month we saw the Australian Biathlon Championships take place and the sport’s major body in this country is eyeing an international event in the future. The Whiskey Flat biathlon range at Mt Hotham was recently upgraded to International Biathlon Union standards and also extended by three lanes. The improvements were part of a $150,000 project made possible with
the help of the Victorian Government’s Shooting Sports Facilities fund. August has also been a month of fundraising at Mt Hotham with events held to support the Cancer Council and the resort’s ski patrol. Also in this edition we find out about a collaboration between a popular Falls Creek venue and a top UK restaurant. Astra Lodge welcomed Toby Burrowes to its kitchen for three weeks with the Elystan Street chef injecting some a new twist to the menu. We caught up with Burrowes and Astra Lodge owner Rosy Seaton to find out about the experience.
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A DREAM FULFILLED 6 Anthony Bartl gets by with a little help from his friends
WHAT a month it’s been at our resorts. We’ve had some of the best snow in years with more than 100cm arriving in the first week of August courtesy of what people called the Blizzard of Oz. That was followed up by another 60cm just a week and a half later boosting the snow base at both Mt Hotham and Falls Creek to about 160cm. That’s plenty of snow to see out the final month of the season. While the skiing and snowboarding has been ideal parliamentarian Bill Tilley has concerns about the po-
PAGE 2 — MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017
Call to increase police presence at resorts By JUSTIN JENVEY BILL Tilley (MLA, Benambra) has called on Police Minister Lisa Neville to undertake a “comprehensive review” of police numbers at alpine ski resorts. Mr Tilley raised his concerns in Victorian Parliament on August 8 after police from Wangaratta were called to a domestic violence incident at Falls Creek in late July. But the attending officers were stood down before they could reach the resort as medical staff helped resolve the issue.
Mt Hotham Falls Creek News understands police from Mt Beauty and Bright were unavailable because they were responding to a separate incident at Mt Hotham. “Last year I called on the minister to give assurances that police would provide a 24/7 presence in the ski resorts,” Mr Tilley said. “Now this was followed by a backflip earlier in 2016 that thankfully prevented these resorts, and their emergency services, from being left without police throughout the night.
“Fast-forward 12 months and through stealth we find that this has become a reality.” Victoria Police has assured the alpine communities of a 24-hour police response eventhough officers on the mountain are rostered on eight-hour shifts and are not on-call outside of those times. Mr Tilley said two successful rescues had been carried out at Falls Creek this season, and it was fortunate no serious incidents resulted after 100 centimetres of snow fell between
August 5-6 in the biggest storms this decade. He wants Victoria’s police policy looked at before a major tragedy occurs. “In perfect conditions, and those that are familiar with the region know, it is about a two-hour drive away (from Wangaratta) and during winter, at night and with icy mountain roads it is much longer,” he said. “I cannot imagine another town in Victoria with 5000 beds and 42 licensed premises that covers a village about 2.5
hectares that would tolerate the situation where the nearest police are more than two hours away, or when the road is cut, completely isolated from police. “I do not want the situation where a tragedy is the catalyst to reviewing this out-of-touch policy.” Police Minister Lisa Neville told Parliament she was under the impression any police coverage concerns had been resolved ahead of the season. “I know that the chief commissioner has been up there
again in some parts looking at the alpine policing model just over this winter period,” she said. “I have inquired about the Falls Creek matter and have been assured by the chief commissioner’s office that there in fact was greater coverage. “It was the same model as 2016 but with greater coverage.” Ms Neville was expected to meet with chief commissioner’s office and Mr Tilley to look at the current model this week.
ON THE HAMMER: Twenty-one freehold and leasehold vacant land allotments at Mt Hotham will be auctioned next month.
Highest ever land auction for Mt Hotham RECORDS are set to be broken next month when Castran Real Estate holds the highest freehold land auction in Australian history. The auction will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for individuals to own prime land in the centre of the picturesque Mt Hotham resort village. Last year on Easter Saturday
one lucky buyer bought a block of leasehold land at the resort at a no-reserve auction for just $14,000 while the sale of a second leasehold block at $18,000 were the cheapest on the mountain in 35 years. Prices aren’t going to be that low this time round but managing director of Castran Real Estate John
Castran said some of the most affordable freehold and leasehold land will be available. “This is the largest auction ever held of freehold and leasehold land and the most significant land auction ever held across the Australian Alps,” Mr Castran said. “Mt Hotham is the only mountain in Australia where you can
buy vacant allotments and the only place in the southern hemisphere where you can buy freehold at altitude. “Reserves start at $100,000 and with an extended 12-month settlement this should be a bonanza for individuals and families wanting to take advantage of buying in this premier location.”
Currently owned by Mount Hotham Skiing Company, on offer will be 21 freehold and leasehold vacant land allotments located on Hotplate Drive and Lawlers Court. The auction will be held at The Olsen at 637 Chapel St in South Yarra on Thursday, September 7, from 12pm.
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MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017 — PAGE 3
McKayos’ gravity enduro
MTB CHALLENGE: The McKayos Challenge is on again this September
AFTER winning ‘Best New Event’ for Victoria at the Australian Event Awards last year even more riders are expected to take on the McKayos Challenge at Falls Creek on September 23. The unique gravity enduro event, similar to the Megavalanche style event held in many European resorts attracted 130 riders in its second year in 2016. Starting from the snowy slopes of Australia’s highest drivable peak, Mt McKay at 1850m riders will descend to the pristine shore of Lake Guy in Bogong Village.
The 23 kilometre course combines snow, single track, fire trails and sealed mountain roads for a total descent of 1750 metres. A mass start on snow is something that is not to be missed and is sure to cause some chaos as riders muscle for position. Last year more single track was added and it will be the same in year three. Once the snow descent is over, Discharge, Summit Home Trail and Packhorse will take you through almost 7km of the MTB trail. The rest is the same, the moun-
tain, the power plant and the scenery. Once you cross the finish line you won’t have to worry about finding your own way back up the mountain as competitors will be shuttled back to Falls Creek where things will conclude with a presentation and barbecue at Slalom Plaza. The event is a great way to kick-start the upcoming mountain bike season which the resort will once again launch with its Ignition event in November. For more details and to register visit www.fallscreek.com.au/ mckayos.
Snow as good as it gets
By JUSTIN JENVEY SOME called it the ‘dump of the decade’ while others labelled the storm at the start of August the Blizzard of Oz. One thing is for sure the snow conditions currently being experienced at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are some of the best in a number of years. More than 100cm of snow fell at both resorts over a five day period from Thursday, August 3 to Monday August 7. That was followed by even more snow just a week and a half later, the two storms in total delivering around 170cm. As of Monday, August 21 the average snow depth at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek was about 160cm. At Mt Hotham the current snow base has exceeded the 24-year average which have been recorded since 1993. Mt Hotham Ski Patrol director Bill Barker said the two dumps had set up a great end to the season. “Everything is in top shape and the snow is top quality like North America or Europe, it really is world class skiing out there now,” he said. “These have been the coldest storms that we have had for quite a few years and it has allowed us to open up all the terrain across the whole mountain, and right now the resort is looking as good as it ever has. “Spring skiing is looking fantastic with the amount of snow that we have on the ground and across the resort, especially in the snow making areas, it’s going to last well to the end of the season.” Falls Creek photographer Chris Hocking said the early August snowfalls were the best this decade. “We don’t often get these sorts
HEY DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR? Cars were completely buried during the Blizzard of Oz at the start of August. of blizzards but when we do they are a sight to behold,” he said. “The volume of snow over a 5-6 day period was just incredible; it’s super dry and is providing some of the best skiing I have seen. “We got close to 50cm in just a 24 hour period, the last time that
happened would have been in August 2010.” The Blizzard of Oz also caused havoc on the roads with the Great Alpine Road from Harrietville to Mt Hotham closed for almost 48 hours. Multiple busses were stranded while VicRoads and resort staff
worked frantically to clear the road of snow and fallen trees. The Bogong High Plains Road to Falls Creek was also shut during August 6-7 because of conditions and a number of separate incidents. The road first closed at about 2.30pm on Sunday August 6 due to
PHOTO: Chirs Hocking
a fallen power cable before reopening five hours later. At about midday the following day the resort was shut to any further day traffic while a fallen tree, gas tanker across the road and landslip all impacted traffic heading off the mountain.
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MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017 — PAGE 5
Strong field set for Hoppet
THE elite men’s and women’s races in the 2017 Kangaroo Hoppet are shaping up to be the most competitive in a number of years. At the pointy end of both fields are a number of skiers capable of taking out the Australian leg of the Worldloppet series. Australia’s best hope in both the men’s and women’s races are Mt Beauty’s Phil Bellingham and Barbara Jezersek who will be skiing under the Australian flag for the first time. Bellingham, who represented Australia at the Sochi Winter Olympics, was runner up in both the 2014 and 2016 Hoppets. He will be looking to become the first Australian to win the event since Ben Sim topped the podium in 2009. However the 26 year-old will have stiff competition from three-time winner, Swiss Olympic star and current Australian team coach Valerio Leccardi. Fellow Australians who could spoil the party include Paul Kovacs and Callum Watson who have shown very strong lead-up form. US skiers Miles Havlick and Jeremy Hecker could also produce a surprise on the day. In the elite women, Jezersek, who has recently gained Australian citizenship since moving from Slovenia, will face tough opposition from seven-time French national champion Iris Pessey. Pessey has been working
and training at Falls Creek for the winter and has had a good season to date. Perennial podium finisher Aimee Watson will be seeking her first win and sprint superstar Kat Paul is showing signs of developing into a long-distance force after her fifth in last year’s event. Bronze medal winner from the 2017 Asian Games Casey Wright has also flown back to Australia from her training base in the US and will likely have a say in the final results. Kangaroo Hoppet race director Ben Derrick said unprecedented snow falls in August will have the course in immaculate condition. “It is not always the case that we have enough snow for the full course but with the latest dump the magnificent Bogong High Plains should be on full display,” he said. “While all eyes will be on the elite skiers leading the pack in the main event, for Australia’s aspiring future Olympians the eight AGL Energy in Action scholarships will also be hotly contested. “They’re awarded to the first U18 and U14 male and female in the 7km Joey Hoppet, first U23s in the 21km Birkebeiner and the first Australians in the main race.” The 2017 Hoppet marks 10 years of partnership with major sponsor AGL Energy, owner and operator of the Kiewa Hydro Electricity Scheme and Australia’s largest retailer of renewable energy.
ON TRACK: Paul Kovacs is one of the Australian skiers eyeing a first Kangaroo Hoppett crown.
Hoppet first stop on road to Pyeonchang THIS year’s Kangaroo Hoppett is not only a chance for Australia’s top crosscountry skiers to add their name to the list of World Loppet winners but key preparation ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics. A number of the country’s elite distance skiers including Bright’s Paul Kovacs, are eyeing a place in Australia’s team for the Pyeonchang Games. Kovacs returned to Australia in July after living and training in Alaska for the best part of two and a half years. He and other Olympic hopefuls such as Mt Beauty’s Phil Bellingham have spent the winter training at Falls Creek, under the guidance of former Olympian Valerio Leccardi. “Australia will definitely send two men and two women to the Olympics with the possibility of a fifth person of either gender,” Kovacs said. “There is a pretty big group of us up at Falls at the moment, and working with new head coach Valerio Leccardi my goal is to just get some really good training in and learn as much as I can. “We all care about the Australian season and I’d love another top three finish at this year’s Hoppet, but the longer term goal is the World Cups from November to January and then the Olympics.” Kovacs’ previous best finish in the Kangaroo Hoppet was a third in 2014.
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Mt Hotham avalanche prompts emergency service warnings
TWO skiers were lucky to avoid being caught up in an avalanche just days after the ‘Blizzard of Oz’ dumped more than 100cm of snow at Mt Hotham. On Monday, August 7, VicEmergency issued a notice warning about the high risk of avalanches in the backcountry due to the large amount of snowfall. The following morning Mt Hotham Ski Patrol, which performs avalanche
control work daily, said cold temperatures and strong winds would increase the likelihood of avalanche activity. At about 11.45am on Tuesday, August 8, a slab of snow about 350m long by 50m wide broke away in backcountry opposite the Drift Area just outside the Mt Hotham resort boundaries. The incident prompted warnings from authorities including Alpine police boss Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll.
“People need to do a thorough risk assessment before heading out into the backcountry or completely avoid it after heavy snowfalls,” he said. “Never head out in the backcountry by yourself and be properly prepared by having a beacon or transceiver on you and carrying a probe and shovel. “And never follow each other down the mountain, go one person at a time.”
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PAGE 6 — MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017
First timers can learn to ski for free at Falls Creek DO you know someone who has never skied or snowboarded before and is keen to hit the slopes for the first time. During the month of September Falls Creek is offering you the chance to
bring a first-timer to the resort to learn to ski or snowboard for free. Your first timer friend or family member will be able to receive a ‘learn to ski/ board ticket’ as long as they come with somebody who
has a valid adult lift pass. The learn to ski/board ticket includes a two-hour beginner group lesson and all day use of Falls Creek’s best beginner lifts. There isn’t much you’ll need to bring other than
yourself, with one days ski or snowboard rental also included in the deal. And if you ask nicely you might also receive free hire of a waterproof ski jacket and pair of pants for the day.
The beginner lesson must be attended in the morning meaning they’ll have all afternoon to explore Falls Creek’s best beginner terrain including Falls Express, Gully, Eagle, Mouse Trap, Monkey Bar,
and Boardwalk. With an offer this good you’re first-timer will likely be snowsports lover forever more. Visit www.fallscreek. com.au/bf fplan for more details.
Disability doesn’t stop Anthony from fulfilling dreams
DON’T HOLD BACK: Disabled Wintersport Australia guide Peter Hull helps Anthony Bartl experience skiing for the first time. PHOTO: Chris Hocking
ANTHONY Bartl’s life changed forever when he was struck by a truck when just six years old. An accident he wasn’t expected to survive, Anthony’s family made the choice not to turn off the ventilator that was keeping him alive. Anthony suffered the most severe of spinal injuries and is a C1 quadriplegic, only able to move his head unassisted. Now aged 37, Anthony has obtained two degrees, one in in teaching and another in journalism, and has never allowed his disability to get in the way of life’s adventures.
He recently took to the snow at Falls Creek with the assistance of Disabled Wintersport Australia guide Peter Hull and resort staff. On a day of blue skies and mild temperatures and secured in a high support sit-ski Anthony experienced skiing for the first time. “It’s probably the best thing I’ve done with a disability,” he said. “Once you’ve done it once you just want to go again. “It was unbelievable… I’ve never felt a feeling like that.” After a few runs down Wombats Rambler Anthony said he would be back next year to do it again.
Biathlon season ends with a bang at Whiskey Flat
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THE Australian Biathlon Association hopes to host international competition in the future following improvements to the Whiskey Flat facility at Mt Hotham. Australia’s only biathlon range was recently upgraded to International Biathlon Union standards and also extended by three lanes. The improvements are part of a $150,000 project made possible with the help of the Victorian Government’s Shooting Sports Facilities fund. The state government’s contribution totalled $100,000 while Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Major Events and Regional Victoria Danielle Green officially opened the range ahead of the 2017 Australian Biathlon Championships on Saturday, August 12. Australian Biathlon Association president Grant Flanagan said the biathlon community was delighted to now have access to world class facilities. “The range is a testament to our volunteers, many of whom have worked many hours with little recognition… they should all be proud of what they have helped deliver,” Flanagan said. “Our thanks go to the Victorian Government who provided financial support to the association to extend the range and understand our efforts to grow our sport. “With an outstanding range and better facilities we
FIRED UP: Jill Colebourn was in top form at the Australian Biathlon Championships at Mt Hotham in early August. are planning for international competition in the near future.” This year’s Australian Biathlon Championships saw Damon Morton and Jill Colebourn take out both events in the open men’s and women’s competition. Morton was crowned Australian champ for the fourth year in a row winning the men’s individual open on Saturday and the sprint on Sunday. Morton’s father Cameron was second on both days while the podiums were rounded out by Taylor Field, third in the individual open, and Jeremy Flanagan, third in the sprints. Sydney’s Jillian Colebourn claimed both open women’s titles ahead of Sabrina Howell who was second on both Saturday and Sunday.
“We had 90 registrations for the weekend, with two thirds of participants being women or girls,” Flanagan said. “We had some good competition among our 2018 Winter Olympic hopefuls but one of the most pleasing things was that we had more young females than male competitors which has been a real focus of our development programs. “Almost half of the participants were aged 18 or under with many of the younger .22 biathletes starting out a number of years ago with our laser biathlon program. “It’s great to see them graduate to the big league of small bore rifle shooting and hopefully bodes well for Australia’s biathlon future.”
MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS â€” September 2017 â€” PAGE 7
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PAGE 8 — MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017
THE HIGHEST LAND AUCTIONS EVER HELD IN AUSTRALIA! 21 REALISATION AUCTIONS FREEHOLD & LEASEHOLD LAND UP TO 12 MON T S E T T L E HS MENT RESER VES FR OM $100,0 00
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MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017 — PAGE 9
Guest chef brings new twist to Astra menu
WORLD-CLASS: Highly regarded chef Toby Burrowes has just finshed a three week stint at one of Falls Creek’s most poular venues.
Q&A with Toby Burrowes.... What was it like coming back to Falls Creek as such a well-regarded chef? Last time I was here was about nine years ago as a very young and inexperienced cook, so it’s great to come back as an accomplished chef and to have the opportunity to share my new skills and experiences. I assume you were famillar with Astra Lodge but it’s a bit different to when you were last here? Astra has improved drastically.
They have worked very hard to make it the beautiful building it is today. It is very deserving of the best chalet in the 2016 world ski awards and I’ve got a great feeling for the 2017 title as well. What have you tried to introudce to the staff and the menu? I think I have really breathed new life into everyone, noticing my energy and passion rubbing off on others but also modern cooking techniques and attention to detail. I have completely
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redone the menu and had a play with a lot of new dishes and with the best of locally sourced produce. I will be leaving behind a stable menu that will still be achievable to a high standard after I have flown back to London. Overall how was the experience of being back at Falls Creek cooking again? I’m incredibly proud of what I have achieved in my short time here with such a small but great team, and with the limited size of the kitchen.
To be putting out my food to the high standard and consistently to the large number of guests every night has just been great and very rewarding. Rosy and Seamus are incredibly warm and welcoming, there hopsitality was some of the best I have expereinced so it will be very sad to leave. Lastly, what was the best ‘Aussie’ meal you’ve had since being back in country? It has to be a chicken parmigiana and a schooner of beer.
FALLS Creek cuisine rose to new heights during August with the presence at Astra Lodge of Toby Burrowes, head chef from celebrated London restaurant Elystan Street. Burrowes’ three week visit was a collaboration between Rosy Seaton and Seamus Dawes from the lodge and acclaimed chef Phil Howard, founder and owner of Elystan Street restaurant, recently voted as number eight in the UK’s top 50 restaurants. “We thought it would be great for our staff to learn from one of the best in the world and also great for the Falls Creek community,” Ms Seaton said. “It created a real buzz to have an international chef here and has helped put Falls Creek on the map.” Initially Phil, a keen skier, was going to come out but a few things came up and Toby came instead. “And he smashed it,” Ms Seaton said. ”He was just a breath of fresh air, so energetic and didn’t have a rock star attitude.” His down to earth approach shouldn’t have come as a surprise as Toby, who was born in Wangaratta, started his culinary journey at D’Amicos family restaurant in Corowa where he began his apprenticeship at the ripe old age of 14 years nine months. “Every day he did a new menu which highlighted his recipes and tweaked some of ours,” Ms Seaton said. “He brought world-class quality to our lodge and the mountain.” Toby was no stranger to the mountain, having worked at Falls for two seasons before heading overseas to make a name for himself. His visit was so successful; it looks like it may become an annual exchange between Elystan Street and Astra Lodge. “Our acting executive chef Kate Duggan will go over there and she will see how they do it at Elystan Street and then return here to show our staff,” Ms Seaton said. “Toby indicated he would be back here next year but I think there may be a bit of a fight with Phil to see who does come.”
PAGE 10 — MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017
FALLS CREEK 2017 WINTER EVENTS
South Australian Interschools
July 17th - 21st
SKI & SNOWBOARD DOWNHILL EVENTS
CROSS COUNTRY SKI EVENTS
JULY 8TH - 9TH Snow Racer Series
JULY 1ST Fast and Female
JULY 14TH Rossignol Cup
JULY 2ND Birkebeiner Classic
JULY 14TH Cranky Charlie Cup
JULY 8TH Snow, Trek & Travel High Plains Tour
JULY 15TH King of the Mountain
JULY 9TH YMCA Howman’s Gap Vic Relay Champs
JULY 15TH Myleford Ski Club Race
Wombats Rambler Night Race
Sled Dog Classic
August 4th - 5th
JULY 17TH - 21ST South Australian Interschools Champs JULY 29TH Wombats Rambler Night Race JULY 31ST - AUGUST 3RD Australian Police Winter Games AUGUST 5TH Club Riverina and AAC Club Ski Race AUGUST 8TH - 11TH Australian Secondary Schools Ski Team Championships (ASSSTC)
Storm the Castle
Bigfoot Trail Run
Light the Night
AUGUST 17TH Noh East Primary School Relays AUGUST 19TH - 20TH Aus Open Sprint & Distance Champs AUGUST 24TH Hoppet Night Sprints AUGUST 26TH Kangaroo Hoppet
JULY 21ST The Board Lounge Throwdown #1
TUESDAY Twilight Tuesdays (featuring Pete the Snow Dragon) 3:30pm – 5:30pm at Village Bowl in July & August
AUGUST 4TH The Board Lounge Throwdown #2
SEPTEMBER 16TH The Dreamer Slopestyle
The Big Dig
AUGUST 13TH Rocky Valley Rush - Sun Valley Ramble
JUNE 25TH, JULY 23RD, AUGUST 6TH & SEPTEMBER 2ND Snow Trek & Travel Mini Series
SEPTEMBER 2ND Bandwagon Banked Slalom
AUGUST 12TH Ski De Femme
AUGUST 19TH Albury Ski Club Race
AUGUST 26TH Storm the Castle
JULY 15TH - 16TH Vic Junior Sprint & Distance Champs
WEDNESDAY Night Skiing, Wombats Ramble from 6pm – 9pm (conditions permiing) THURSDAY Fireworks & Night Show Spectacular at Village Bowl, from 8pm in July & August SATURDAY Night Skiing, Wombats Ramble from 6pm – 9pm (conditions permiing)
SCHEDULED EVENTS ARE SUBJECT TO SNOW AND WEATHER CONDITIONS AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR CANCELLATION
SEE MORE AT WWW.FALLSCREEK.COM.AU
MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017 — PAGE 11
Dogs and mushers race to Dinner Plain anniversary By JAMIE KRONBORG DINNER Plain Dog Sled Challenge organisers and competitors are champing at the harness – not the bit – at the prospect of next year’s 25th anniversary competition. Robert Stevens expects the jubilee marker for what is billed as Australia’s biggest sled dog race will attract significant national and international attention. The field for this year’s August 12-13 challenge comprised 70 teams and nine paired dog-and-musher (driver) entrants for the ‘skijoring’ events – in which a single dog, or dogs in pairs or triplets, pull a sled. The Saturday course was described as soft after lead-in heavy snow. But it had firmed, come Sunday, to perfect hard-pack for sledding. Mr Stevens said the challenge in previous years had attracted a higher number of entries but the capacity of Dinner Plain village to house teams and their mushers was limited. This meant a range of 70 to 80 nominations was the optimum for the field and accommodation. “We’ve had more than 100 entrants in the past but that number can be difficult
FLEET HOUNDS: A kelpie-cross team makes a run for the final day competition. to manage given the set-up,” capital, Perth, and enjoyed he said. national television and major “This year was about the metropolitan press coverage. best it could be with the Siberian huskies and Alasnumbers, weather, snow and kan malamutes dominated spectator interest.” the competition, but there The challenge drew entries were kelpies and border colfrom the Western Australian lies in the line-up, too.
finish line in this year’s Dinner Plain Dog Sled Challenge PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg Malamutes are highly re- this year’s challenge, achievgarded as sled dogs because ing a top race speed of 33 of their endurance capacity kilometres per hour over a and huskies are fleet of foot. 5.9km course. Handlers Colin and Sharen There’s no doubt the McPhan, from Clyde, south- McPhans, their dogs and east of Melbourne, again many others will be back for brought a malamute team to the 25th challenge in 2018.
Big night of fundraising helps patrollers THE 11th Big Gig fundraiser has raised almost $15,000 to support the work of Mt Hotham Ski Patrol. The annual social night at The General included charity auctions and other fundraising which helps ski patrol upgrade important gear and equipment as well as support its volunteers. Earlier this year the ski patrol used funds raised from the event to purchase a new ambulance. Full-time ski patroller and volunteer ski patrol captain David Wilson said the Big Gig is also crucial in assisting unpaid staff with the associated costs of the role. “At first the money we raised helped to pay for car parking and accommodation for ski patrol volunteers on the mountain,” he said. “One of my ideas was to make it easier for the volunteers to remain a part of the patrol by helping them with skis and other gear. “As paid ski patrollers we get our skis upgraded every 70 days so my thinking was that the vollies should get the same treatment seeing as they work to the same standards. “We keep a log of the days people do each season and when they reach 70 days they get supplied with a new pair of Rossignol skis which we get cheap.”
100% CRUSHED ALPINE APPLES TO THE CORE.
GOOD CAUSE: Even the youngest of snowboarders took part in the Mum’s the Word Rail Jam at Mt Hotham recently. PHOTO: Karl Gray
Skiers, snowboarders help rail cancer down some tricks in front of a crowd of onlookers on the Swindlers deck. The Rail Jam has been running since 2011 when Andy Terhell founded the event to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Cancer Council after a friend’s mum lost her battle with the disease. A total of $7000 was raised in the first year and ever since, Hotham locals, staff and guests have continued to buy
raffle tickets and shave heads and beards at the event’s after party. Every year, more than 30,500 Victorians are diagnosed with cancer, and nearly 11,000 will die from the disease. The money raised from the Mum’s the Word rail Jam helps to fund research, prevention and support services for people and families affected by cancer.
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MT Hotham’s annual Mum’s the Word Rail Jam has recently ticked over $100,000 in funds raised to help fight cancer. The year’s event on Saturday, August 5 generated $23,347.80 for the Cancer Council taking the total donations in seven years to $109,349.75. Despite some dense weather skiers and snowboarders of all ages took to the Basin terrain and rail park to throw
PAGE 12 — MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017
Turning up the heat on cross country skiing
HOPPETING ALONG: Falls Creek Cross Country ski instructors Iris Pessey and Ken Orr helping Malaysia’s Tang Wei Yan realise his Beijing Winter Olympics dream.
Falls Creek Medical Centre Winter Consulting Hours Daily: 10.00am - 12noon & 2.00 - 5.00pm After Hours Ring 03 5758 3238 or if an emergency call 000 Email email@example.com Web www.mbmc.com.au
This is a private trauma clinic and general practice. Fee for service will apply. This practice is fully Accredited by Quality Practice Accreditation Pty Ltd and staffed by fully qualiﬁed Rural Medical Practitioners
Creek reekk Centre
B Bogong ogong H High igh hP Plains laiins R Road, oad d F Falls allls C Creek reek k3 3699 699 Phone (03) 5758 3238 j/19d10058-v4/27-17
HEAVY recent snows in the alpine areas have turned up the heat on the YMCA’s ambitious winter campaign to get people outdoors and connected at Howman’s Gap Alpine Centre and at its cross country ski outlet at Falls Creek. The YMCA has drawn on a depth of international expertise in its bid to establish Falls Creek Cross Country (FCCC) as the cross country skiing hub of Australia and to lift the profile of the sport to people of all ages and levels of ability, and from all corners of the globe. The operation boasts a multitalented team with a wealth of experience working in resorts in Europe and America as well as competing on the international stage. As part of the drive, the iconic Windy Corner is now officially known as Falls Creek Cross Country (FCCC) to better reflect its integral role in the snow sports activities offered at one of the country’s premier alpine resorts. The upgrading of equipment and lesson options and the preseason makeover of the café as well as the day shelter area have been a big hit among visitors. “The feedback about all the changes has been really posi-
tive,” YMCA Howman’s Gap Alpine Centre and FCCC manager Matthew Charles Jones said. “Cross country skiing is a great sport and accessible to people of all ages and levels of ability.” Mr Charles Jones hopes the campaign will also turn up the spotlight on local, talented cross country skiers and events such as the Kangaroo Hoppet on August 26, a cross country ski marathon which is part of the World Loppet series. While big on getting families hooked, Mr Charles Jones is particularly keen to attract people from varying ethnic backgrounds to the snow and to offer cross country skiing as a fun outdoor Australian experience, but not one typically expected. Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA) has been a regular client for many years, using Howman’s as its winter base. DWA offers a strong winter sports program for participants from all over Australia as well as recruiting many guides from throughout the region. Australia’s first fully accessible alpine accommodation is being constructed at Howman’s at a cost of $3.1 million and is to be completed in February 2018.
Along with providing more opportunities for people with a disability, the state-of-the art centre will also become a high performance training facility for Australia’s Winter Paralympic Games athletes. One of FCCC’s regular clients this season is Tang Wei Yan, who is being sponsored by the Malaysian Government for the 2020 Beijing Winter Olympics selection in cross country skiing. “I feel priviliged to be in Australia and learning to ski at FCCC; the ski instructors are very passionate and can teach anyone at any level,” Mr Tang said. French champion and ski instructor Iris Pessey is thrilled to be experiencing a southern hemisphere winter, particularly after recent heavy snowfalls. The first woman home in the Hotham to Dinner Plain pubto-pub race on August 5, Ms Pessey believes her journey has gone beyond competition. She wants to show young girls that cross country skiing, and the opportunities it can provide, is about growing as a person, meeting people and being happy “rather than being faster, or worrying about body image and being skinnier than other girls”.
FRIENDS AND FUN: Chicks with Stix returns to Mt Hotham in September. The grassroots initiative was created in 2010 to provide much needed encouragement and opportunities for girls that ski and snowboard. Chicks with Stix aims to get, and keep, girls participating in free skiing and snowboarding by offering ski and board sessions that specialise in park, freeride, slopestyle and big mountain disciplines. Sessions will be led by some of Australia’s best snowsports athletes including two-time Olympian and Mt Hotham ambassador Katya Crema. Chicks with Stix will take place September 16-17. For more information and to register go to www.thechickswithstix.wixsite.com/chickswithstix.
MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017 — PAGE 13
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Steamboat’s Western hospitality is as famous as the Champagne Powder®. The skiing and boarding is legendary—groomed cruisers like ‘Buddy Run’ and ‘Tomahawk’, bumps down ‘Storm Peak’, and for some of the best tree skiing on the planet just duck into ‘Closets’ and enjoy the ride.
MOGUL FAMILY DEALS Kids 12 and under Ski & Rent FREE with a paying Adult*
MOGUL ACCOMMODATION DEALS Stay 7+ nights and save up to 35%*
With a reputation as a family resort the ski school has programs for sliders and riders of all ages and night skiing if the days aren’t quite long enough. The town is a fabulous mix of cowboy meets urban cool with plenty of amazing new restaurants and bars to treat the tastebuds.
Make this your year to experience Steamboat ★★★
THE PTARMIGAN INN *
$1585 per person
STEAMBOAT GRAND RESORT HOTEL
★★★★ BEAR CLAW
$1766 per person
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Based on 7 nights in a Hotel Room including a 6 day lift pass for 2 adults. Valid 16 Jan – 08 Feb.
Based on 7 nights in a Studio including a 6 day lift pass for 2 adults. Valid 02 Feb – 31 Mar.
Based on 7 nights in a Studio including a 6 day lift pass for 2 adults. Valid 15 Jan – 11 Feb.
Stay 7 Save 10%*
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Based on 7 nights in a Two Bedroom Plus Den including a 6 days lift pass for 2 adults & 2 kids 12 & under. Valid 10 Jan – 08 Feb.
Based on 7 nights in a Two Bedroom including a 6 day lift pass for 2 adults & 2 kids 12 & under. Valid 10 Jan – 08 Feb.
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1800 335 724
PAGE 14 — MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017
This way to Falls Creek!
Eurobin Falls in the Mt Buffalo National Park is spectacular.
This way to Mt Hotham
Bright’s Hero Trail has been a huge hit since opening in December.
John and Christine Taylor are your guides at the Myrtleford Old School Museum.
Take a walk on a trail less travelled and get up close and personal to the magnificent Alpine countryside and unspoiled natural features off the beaten track HERO TRAIL Mystic Mountain Bike Park, Bright
From Mt Hotham: 56.5 km – 1 hr 5 min From Falls Creek: 62.5 km – 1 hr 19 min
ot all heroes wear capes, but you’ll feel like you’re flying when you tackle Bright’s Hero Trail. Mystic Mountain Bike Park is just a few minutes ride from the centre of town and includes a trail network that offers a unique mix of terrain for riders of all abilities. The Hero Trail is the jewel in Mystic Hill’s crown featuring manicured berms and table top jumps. The 4km flow trail swoops through the pine forests above Bright and offers stunning views. A hit with recreational and professional riders since opening last December you’ll be smiling from ear to ear after just one run. With around 50km of downhill and cross country trail, there is plenty more for you to explore and if you need a bike just visit Cyclepath or ATC to hire one.
LADIES BATH FALLS AND EUROBIN FALLS
MT BEAUTY GORGE WALK
MYRTLEFORD OLD SCHOOL MUSEUM
Mt Buffalo National Park
29 Elgin Street, Myrtleford
From Falls Creek: 75.5 km – 1hr 30 min From Mt Hotham: 70 km – 1 hr 17 min
From Falls Creek: 30 km – 40 min From Mt Hotham: 75 km – 1 hr 25 min
ho doesn’t love a waterfall? Eurobin Falls and Ladies Bath Falls in the Mt Buffalo National Park are a spectacular sight any time of year but even more beautiful in winter when there’s a huge amount of water gushing down the mountain. Ladies Bath Falls is just 400m from the Eurobin Falls picnic area on the Mt Buffalo Road while a 1.5km walk further out takes you, first to the Lower Eurobin Falls and then onto the base of the Upper Falls. It’s a rewarding journey and an area perfect to unroll the picnic blanket and take in the sights and sounds of the mesmerising water. The Upper Falls are magnificent with multiple vantage points. In the warmer months the Ladies Bath Falls is a great place to take a refreshing dip.
he Mt Beauty Gorge Walk is peaceful hour-long trek along the West Kiewa River. Starting from the Big Hill Mountain Bike Park off the Bogong High Plains Road or from the Mt Beauty Hospital this walk makes its way uphill along the Aqueduct Track taking you to the swing bridge over the West Kiewa. If you cross over the bridge and head further uphill you’ll come to a swimming hole and another one 100m upstream. You can also descend down to the gorge where you can enjoy magnificent views north up the Kiewa Valley. During summer when the rocks in the river bed are dry it is possible to walk, wade and swim upstream for 400 metres to an impressive canyon but is unadvisable at this time of year when rocks are wet and slippery.
PROVIDING A SAFE & RELIABLE BUS SERVICE FOR OVER 40 YEARS Travel from Melbourne for as little as $50 one way with our Early Bird Specials available all season
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MT BEAUTY PARK & RID D E A I LY h t u i s for a fr Park w M t Be actio auty to F n of alls Creek S S what E F R R E T E i FOR S t costs on mountain... S E
Phone: (+613) 5754 4024 Fax: (+613) 5754 4940 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.fallscreekcoachservice.com.au
233 Kiewa Valley Highway (PO Box 24) | TAWONGA SOUTH, VIC, 3698
From Mt Hotham: 85 km – 1 hr 25 min From Falls Creek: via Great Alpine Road 91 km – 1 hr 42 min or via Kiewa Valley Highway 95 km – 1 hr 33 min
he Myrtleford museum is a journey back to early life in the Ovens Valley. The museum is located at the old State School building which operated from 1870-1939. Also used to make military uniforms during World War II the site later became the office and works depot for the Lands Department and Shire of Myrtleford. Adding to the history today are numerous displays, from an old classroom, 1930’s kitchen and living room, gold mining equipment, barber shop and tobacconist cabinets, horse-drawn agricultural machinery and other farm equipment as well as war photographs and memorabilia. Genealogical research is also available and includes images and records of district scenery, local industries, people and events. The museum is open every Sunday afternoon or by appointment.
MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017 — PAGE 15
WELCOME TO THE FALLS CREEK FAMILY.
resort and the Falls Creek is Victoria’s largest ski d family memories. perfect place to generate some fon drop the kids at Start your ski day the right way and of lessons and fun Snowsports School for a full day the Coffee Club. in the snow, while you head for xed skiing program The Renault Coffee Club is a rela 0am allowing you that starts with coffee from 10:0 like-minded parents to catch your breath, meet other r goals for the day. and talk to an instructor about you
r class lesson, Then for the cost of a regular 2 hou ive a FREE Lift $70, you have your lesson and rece day the kids are Pass that day. Same again for any day program. in a Falls Creek Snowsports School our stunning ski Grab the family and book a stay in ert reservations team in - ski out snow village. Our exp tion package to suit can create the perfect accommoda Falls Creek. you and your family this winter at
BOOKINGS 1800 45 35 25
PAGE 16 — MT HOTHAM FALLS CREEK NEWS — September 2017
Verb:/ help or encourage (someone) to improve, move forward, achieve goals.
f Receive more personalised training with our boosted ‘Max 7’ group lessons. Get straight back to where you were on your last trip and then break through the intermediate ceiling. Now 2.5 hours long, Max 7 lessons will accelerate your skiing and boarding skills and open up more Hotham terrain . . . in no time. Max 7 lessons are the fun and cost-effective way to jump to the next level.
MAX 7 GROUP LESSONS f f f f
New for 2017 Group lessons extended to 2.5 hours Maximum group size ‘7’ Enjoy express lane lift access
* Ski & Ride School express lanes available at certain lifts. Conditions Apply.