This ski tour is a superb trip for anyone wanting to experience the joys of Australian ski-touring. It's also a great polar training program that covers the basics of a polar ski expedition.
Meet 10am in Jindabyne at the Parc Café situated in the National Parks Visitor Centre, next to the bus stop. Preparation and gear check. Drive to Dead Horse Gap in the afternoon and begin ski tour.
Combined ski tour, polar training and instructional sessions as we ski north across the Australian Alps, including ascent of Mt. Koscuiszco.
Return to Dead Horse Gap. Drive to Jindabyne.
We meet in Jindabyne on the east side of the Australian Alps. Here we make final preparations to ensure you are kitted up for a week in the Australian Alps. It's winter here, the mountains are full of snow, there's a chill in the air, so expect adventure.
Sleds prepared, a one-hour bus ride takes us to Dead Horse Gap on the spine of the Main Range where our adventure begins. A long climb up a spur lined with beautiful snowgums takes us above the tree-line where we see one of Australia's great treasures - the Snowy Mountains. A narrow ridge adorned with granite tors widens to rolling hills flanked either side by steep slopes and it's across this magical plateau that we venture.
Hauling sleds with our food and equipment we negotiate the terrain ahead - snow slopes, icy ridges, sastrugi, cornices, descents, and a climb of Australia's highest peak, Mt Koscuiszco (2228m). If the conditions suit we'll camp on the summit.
Throughout the trip we cover typical polar techniques such as sled hauling, trace configurations, ski equipment alternatives, clothing adaptation, tent pitching, food provisioning and diet. We also look at more specialised methods of roped-up sled hauling, simulated crevasse rescue and emergency shelters.
After a week of ski touring across Australia's roof we descend to a road where we are collected by bus and return to Jindabyne.
THINGS TO KNOW
Australian alpine winter conditions can be tough, don't under-estimate them just because they are not not polar. Wind, dampness and cold can combine to produce extremely challenging conditions
All participants will carry their own food and equipment, in a sled and in a backpack
All participants must have prior skiing/snowshoeing and snowcamping experience
You need good quality winter outdoor equipment, check the equipment list
You must be at least 14 years old to participate
The nearest international airport to Jindabyne is Sydney. Canberra is a 55 minute flight from Sydney. There are small airports in Jindabyne and in Cooma.
Snow Alliance run a private shuttle service from Canberra to Jindabyne
From Melbourne the shortest way to Jindabyne is via Khancoban, which is on the west side of the range. However you need to check with NSW roads or National Parks to make sure the road is open. It is sometimes closed after heavy snowfalls. Parks fees are payable if entering the national park.
We meet at 10am on the day of departure into the mountains so you may need to arrive in Jindabyne the night before as the buses do not arrive until the afternoon. Some places to stay:
We do not provide any accommodation in Jindabyne.