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Buller Air Zone launch gives Mt Buller new altitude!

Mt Buller today announced the opening of Australia’s newest indoor acrobatic facility, the Buller Air Zone. Featuring one of the largest airbags in Australia and the largest inflatable bouldering wall in the world, the facility will take indoor activities at Mt Buller to new heights.

A landmark partnership between the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA), Ski & Snowboard Australia, Buller Ski Lifts, and the Mt Buller & Mt Stirling Resort Management Board (RMB) saw athlete training programs at Mt Buller recognised as an official Olympic Training Centre. This cements Mt Buller as the Victorian home of future Olympic champions in aerials and mogul skiing.

These elite athletes need an indoor facility to train, develop and enhance their acrobatic skills. So the OWIA and RMB have spent $0.5m constructing the Buller Air Zone, a purpose built facility which will also be open to the public throughout summer and winter.

Mark Bennetts, CEO of the Mt Buller & Mt Stirling Resort Management Board said, “This is a tremendously exciting facility for the mountains. Our elite athletes will be able to train year-round, and visitors will be able to play, jump and climb in our freestyle playground. It will help boost tourism to Mt Buller and the Mansfield region, providing another activity for families, school groups and training camps in summer. It also provides another activity for winter visitors to enjoy during the daytime or at night once the lifts stop turning”.

The Buller Air Zone features five trampolines including a 20’x10’ mega tramp, waterfall tramp, giant air bag, “walk the ridge”, climbing ladder, inflatable bouldering wall and fixed climbing wall with self belay devices. It will be open daily throughout winter and at selected times throughout summer.

“We encourage everyone visiting Mt Buller to come and give BAZ a go!”, said Mr Bennetts. “There are special sessions for younger kids and the facility is available for group bookings. We are also pleased to offer a 20% discount for Mansfield Shire residents. So everyone from young children through to Olympians can enjoy playing and training at Mt Buller.”

Visit mtbuller.com.au for more information on the Buller Air Zone including opening hours and bookings.

Thredbo: “It’s dumping and there’s no sign of it letting up yet”

Skiers and snowboarders at Thredbo Alpine Resort were greeted with fun powder turns this morning, with every run delivering smiles for miles and great coverage across the entire mountain. The Powder Bowl and Bushranger were the pick of the morning, offering deep turns and lots of fun natural features to play with. The fresh flakes on Friday Flat ensured for plenty of family fun including snowball fights and snowman building.

Conditions are still fresh and dry up top, with plenty of pow stashes to be found. The village is looking like a winter wonderland, perfect for a post ski or board lunch and hot chocolate.

It’s still currently snowing, with experts claiming another 10cm+ to fall, making for another awesome day of fresh turns tomorrow.

This snow storm will set up a sensational week of riding, with the sun expected to make a reappearance around Tuesday. Between the amazing weather and conditions across the mountain, it’s going to be another awesome week of school holidays with heaps of fun activities and entertainment for all families to enjoy.


Best start to the Aussie snow season in 18 years

Hopefully some of you out there have managed to get up to the mountains this weekend.
Perisher wrote to us yesterday to advise that they have now opened all four resort areas, after Guthega made its season debut on Saturday.

Last week saw 82cm of snow fall which set up the resort to open a large amount of terrain. Mother nature has been very kind this year allowing most resorts to open a wide range of terrain; the most they’ve been able to open this early in the season for 18 years.

In fact, yesterday saw 33 lifts spinning across the Perisher with links between Perisher, Blue Cow and Guthega allowing skiers and snowboarders to move freely between the mind-boggling amount of terrain on offer. Excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions prevail this weekend and the consistent clear sunny days and cold evenings have allowed the snowmaking teams to pump out snow night after night.

What a great start to the season. Let’s hope it continues. Send us your images and stories if you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains.

The SRA team.

It’s going off in the mountains this weekend

What an amazing week it’s been in the mountains this week. And this weekend is sure to follow suit in what will be surely be the best weekend of the season to date.

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Perisher and Hotham have received 80cm and 100 cm of snow this week respectively and all are heading into the weekend with the best snow conditions since 2000.

In NSW, Blue Cow opened yesterday too. With the Ridge, Summit and Terminal Quad Chairlifts spinning, there is some amazing skiing and boarding to be had on old the crowd favourites, Zali’s and Excelerator.

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As we move into the weekend, Mt Perisher is opening tomorrow and Guthega on Saturday.

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All images courtesy of Perisher

Things are looking up in the mountains

Things are looking up just in time for the Weekend.

Perisher advises that today they have received 34cm of snow so far and it’s not stopping any time soon. Today and Saturday are forecasted to have the heaviest of snow falls with up to 40cm through today and up to 20cm Saturday.

The mountains are in for blizzard conditions with strong winds, cold temperatures and consistent heavy snowfalls.

Similar conditions are forecast to continue  into early next week. With up to 70cm of snow predicted to fall by Monday, the excitement is palpable.

Check out these images from Perisher today.

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Finding the Line – A Film by Nat and Anna Segal: Review

By Hamish Macphee

‘Finding the Line’ is not a ski movie. It is not a hero’s quest with suspense and a grand finale. But it still had me on the edge of my seat.

Nat and Anna Segal allow us to get a bit personal as they help each other to navigate the next stage of life after competitive skiing.

Based in Chamonix, Nat’s 6 years on the Freeride and Freeskiing World Tours included winning at Telluride in 2014.

Anna calls Whistler home and with a freestyle slopestyle career including Winter X-Games Gold in 2009, has turned her talents to freeskiing and adventuring.

The sisters strive to learn from each other to push beyond their mental barriers and find the line to progression.

For Anna, her fear of failure is blocking her from skiing to her potential. For Nat, the lack of faith in her own abilities is preventing her from pushing the limits.

A tour of some of the world’s biggest and most iconic ski locations bring challenges aplenty as the sisters are forced to look inside when illness and injury split the team apart.

We get an insight into the power of the mountains and dangers involved when exploring high-risk terrain like in Chamonix and Alaska. Sometimes risks are just too high…and that’s the way it goes.

Above all this film is honest. Yes there are awe-inspiring descents and a backflip or two, but we really get a sense of the hard slog it takes to find these amazing locations. And crash…a lot!

Also check out Nat’ ‘Shifting Ice and Changing Tides’ from her webpage nataliesegal.com

Anna’s webpage is annasegal.com
#TheNorthFace #BolleAustralia

Are so-called #BlizzardofOz events set to become the new norm?

#blizzardofoz; #snowymcsnowface and #snowmageddon

Hashtags. Yep, we saw just about every one of them last winter. And deservedly so: the so called blizzard of oz events 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 dumped copious amount of snow on the Aussie Alps, bringing joy to punters everywhere.

But are such events really ‘freak’ events, or are they set to become the new norm?

“Does that mean more snow and deeper powder” you ask? Well sorta, but not really.  Let’s take a closer look.

The facts

Clunky hashtags and comparisons with Northern winters flew fast and thick last year, but as those of us who have been around know the Australian snow season has always had its highs and lows:  from 1981, which blew minds with snowfalls upward of 360 cm, to 2006 which delivered a soul destroying 85 cm.

There is no denying that our climate is highly variable and not surprisingly last years’ bumper season had the ignorant minority (ahem, the ‘climate change denialists’) pointing the finger and saying “we told you so” (probably the same people that read this article “Trump to ban snowboarding if he wins the US election“as fact, not satire).

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Trump laments the demise of the 80’s when day-glow orange was still fashionable

Yet, despite the frequency of blizzard of oz events last year, the message from climate scientists is just getting louder: temperatures are warming and snow falls are sadly declining. For example, a recent report by CSIRO, predicted that climate change could shrink Australia’s skis season by 20 to 55 days a year by 2050; and that’s under a best case scenario!!

But here’s the thing.

The experts at CSIRO also flag the scale of the variability (or the propensity for very large peaks and very large troughs) in the data.  This variability is also evident in data collected by workers from the Snowy Mountain Hydro Electricity Scheme.  Analysis of these data, which go back to 1954, confirm the declining trend, but also confirm that the variability seems to be increasing!

What this means is, even though we are seeing an overall trend toward less snow fall on average, big powder dumps are still very much possible and ­­– here’s the kicker – potentially more likely given our changing and increasingly variable climate. Take for example, the ‘thundersnow’ conditions associated with Blizzard of Oz 1.0, and the recent tendency for long periods of dry weather, followed by significant events such as Snowmageddon (2016), Blizzard of Oz 2.0 and Blizzard of Oz 3.0.

 

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Yeah, Nah – probably not in our immediate future.

Could this mean events like Snowmageddon and Blizzard of Oz could become more frequent in the short to medium term? With the increasing variability in snow falls  and an increase in ‘extreme’ events, there is certainly an argument for it.

There is a downside however.  Experts predict that big dumps — like the ones we’ve been seeing — will still happen in a changing climate, but top-up snowfalls through the season may be less regular, and potentially interspersed with periods of warmer weather (and possibly rain).

Enter snowmaking

This is where snow making can help. In the short to medium term, snowmaking technology is expected to fill the gaps and provide the tops ups needed between more substantial natural snowfalls. It will come as no surprise then to learn that in the last decade tens of millions of dollars have been spent safeguarding Australia’s ski fields to the ever growing pressure of climate change. Snowmaking is now even possible in temperatures up to plus 30 degrees C. With this investment, it seems our winters are safe for the foreseeable future.

So with further #blizzardofoz events sure to occur in the coming season,  its unlikely we’ve seen the last of these hashtag-worthy, but nauseatingly titled events:

#blizzardofoz; #snowymcsnowface and #snowmageddon

Could these events become the new norm? With increasingly unusual peaks and troughs in weather data and the freak conditions we have seen of late, something tells me they could be….and let’s hope so.

If we were to sum up in a single hashtag:

#mothernaturehasafewmoresurprisesuphersleeveyet

Cover image: courtesy Hotham Alpine Resort

 

Image Gallery

As skiiers and boarders we get to visit some of the most spectacular destinations in the world.  Here are some of our favourite images captured in years of travel in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Japan (all photos Snowriders Australia unless indicated):

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Downtown Kutchan, Hokkaido
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Snowmonkeys in Gulmarg, India (Image: K-Line)
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Niseko, Japan
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Tignes, France. Image: Appin Williamson
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Australian High Country. Image: Shannon May
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Australian High Country. Image courtesy Kate Skinner
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Taken on the road between Niseko and Sapporo
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Niseko at night. Feb 2017.
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Toward Feathertop, Mt Hotham, Victoria
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Summit, Mt Hotham, Victoria
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‘Da Boys’, Niseko, Japan
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Porters Ski Area, Canterbury, NZ
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Niseko’s main drag
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Top of Australia, Mt Hotham
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Powder puffs, Niseko Japan
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Spectacular NZ
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Street Scape, Kutchan, Japan
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Snowgums, Hotham

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Special Offer: Madarao, Japan

Subscribe to SRA before the end of December and receive:

  • 10% off 1, 2 or 3 day Madarao passes in March.
  • Book 2 nights in March, stay 2 nights for free (50% discount)
  • One free 500ml beer at the Hakken bar
  • Free continental breakfasts.

Further, one lucky new subscriber (drawn at random) will receive

  • 10% off 1, 2 or 3 day Madarao passes in March.
  • Book 1 night in March, stay 3 nights for free (75% discount)
  • One free 500ml beer at the Hakken bar
  • Free continental breakfasts

For current SRA members who book before the end of December, contact your SRA administrator to receive your discount code, before contacting Hakken directly on hakken.booking@beactive.life for your customised pre-xmas MadaPOW deal!

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Late season injury no threat for Brodie Summers

Fresh of the back of a cracking 2016/17 World Cup season, where he podiumed no less than three times, mogul skier and Perthite Brodie Summers was feeling on top of the world. But just months out from the 2018 Winter Games, Brodie suffers a freak accident leaving him with a torn ACL and a broken tibial plateau (upper shin bone).  Ouch!

Although clearly a blow to his Olympic preparations, his spirit and determination remains strong.  As Brodie is a member of the Snowriders Australia admin team, the news of Brodie’s injury hit us hard – but not as hard as it hit him. Obviously!

We caught up with Brodie at his NSW home in September where he was busy recovering from surgery and intensive sessions in the gym. We started by asking him exactly what happened and what the injury means for his Olympic preparations.

Continue reading Late season injury no threat for Brodie Summers