It’s less than four weeks to the inaugural Australian Backcountry Festival at Falls Creek over the weekend of September 1 and 2, 2018.
It aims to celebrate all things backcountry – AT, telemark, split boarding, cross country & snow shoeing.

skinning up on the Jones Solution split board
Celebrate Australia’s awesome backcountry whether you get out there on splitboards, snowshoes or skis © Owain Price

“Our vision is to host a grass-roots gathering at Falls Creek for backcountry skiers and riders of all abilities” says Festival organiser Cam Walker. “If you’re interested in any form of human powered adventure in the winter backcountry, you should be there. Beginners to advanced, all are welcome.”

“We now have a fantastic program for the festival. Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Falls Creek Cross Country, we have telemark clinics and snow shoe tours, which are being offered for free”.

Learn snowcamping skills at the Australian Backcountry Festival
Learn skill like snowcamping © Cam Walker

A range of people will lead tours or offer skills workshops, like backcountry navigation and snow camping 101. There are sessions on the basics of avalanche safety (and 2 day AST level 1 Avalanche courses are available in the week before the festival).

Backcountry Festival Falls Creek
There is plenty of easily accessed B/C terrain at Falls © Cam Walker

There will be demo skis available for hire, an outdoor bar in the afternoon run by Peter Hull of Sweetwater Brewery, and a mini film festival featuring Australian made backcountry films and some great speakers in the evening.

Speakers include:

· Stephen Curtain, who made the classic Australian telemark film Winter Dreaming
· Matt O’Keeffe, head of Falls Creek ski patrol
· Tamara Hutchins from Melbourne Girls Outside, one of the fastest growing female adventure groups in the country
· Two-time Olympic skier and Hotham skier Katya Crema
· There will be presentations from Josh Fletcher, of the newly formed chapter of Protect Our Winters, and Simon Murray from Mountain Sports Collective, the backcountry users group.

Sunday will see the world telemark day gathering, with skiing both in and out of the resort as an option.

The theme of the festival is ‘Ski/ ride hard. Do Good’. We’re raising funds for five great causes, including recovery programs for the Mountain Pygmy Possum. We’re aiming to hold a low impact event.

We already have 180 registrations, and we know of one person who is planning to walk and snow shoe to the festival from Walhalla.

“The backcountry community in Australia is diverse and growing rapidly. From old school XC tourers to young riders who are leaving the resorts to find steep terrain, the BC community shares a love of wild landscapes, deep snow and great winters. Around the world, there are many backcountry festivals. Now it’s Australia’s turn” says Cam.
“Join us to ski, ride or snowshoe, hear from inspiring speakers and see great locally made films, enjoy an outdoor ‘tailgate’ bar, and meet plenty of new friends. We don’t know what the weather will be like. But the Stoke is guaranteed.”

The full program is available here.

This is a free event, thanks to the generosity of Falls Creek Cross Country, Bogong Equipment, Falls Creek Resort Management, Sweetwater Brewery, Everest Sports, Friends of the Earth, the snow media who have supported the event, Mountain Sports Collective and the many people who are offering courses, tours and clinics and our speakers.

Check out Cam’s feature for us on Mt Stirling here.

Event organiser Cam Walker gets around – this is the Ducane Traverse in Tassie, where he tried to ski the chutes above the pass © Cam Walker