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What is Backcountry

The backcountry covers any snowcovered area not readily accessed from resort or open road. Generally an effort is required to get to these places. There is no machine preparation of snow slopes, no signs or barriers to warn of dangerous areas and no ski patrol. You are primarily dependent on your own resources. Definition is not precise, but once you are out of sight of road or resort and more than one ridge or valley away, you are there.

Non resort areas closer to lifts or roads are often called "frontcountry" or "sidecountry" and these have the same characteristics to a varying degree.

Introduction to Backcountry

Backcountry Regions


OK, so we don't have any enormous mountain ranges, and our alpine region constitutes less than 1% of the land mass of the Australian continent.

However, that 1% is about 8000 square kilometres above 1400 metres altitude where snow cover may stay for 30 days each year, and 2,200 square kilometres in mainland Australia and 1,200 square kilometres in Tasmania where snow cover may stay for 60 days each year. And most of these snow covered areas are ideal for backcountry touring. There are even a few snowdrifts from Kosciuszko to Muellers Pass above Lake Albina and around Blue Lake which can be skied all year round.

Australia's alpine region is unique and beautiful, and does offer some fantastic skiing. And much, if not most, of the very best slopes in the country lie outside the boundaries of the ski resorts. We have diverse country as well, from the extensive open country of the main range of the Snowies, the 'ridge and valley' ski terrain of the Victorian Alps, and the rockier and more tempermental mountains of Tasmania. The following offers basic details about whats on offer: we hope its useful and helps get you out there to enjoy it!


NSW offers a range of back country options onto the main range which can allow for day trips or a week staying in the back country.


Victoria offers a diverse range of trips, although the skiable areas are less continuous than the Main Range. The Victorian mountains are a series of long, high, and often forested ridges with deep vallies, and hence you sometimes have to walk between areas on longer trips. Highlights would be Mt Bogong, the Razorback on Feathertop, the Bogong High Plains (the most extensive area of open alpine country in the state) and the more remote country between The Bluff and Mt Howitt and down to Snowy Plains.


It's all about the weather as the mountains are lower in Tassie than on the mainland, they tend to hold less snow in winter and hence conditions can vary incredibly from year to year. The secret is to have a very flexible lifestyle that allows you to drop what you're doing when there is a big dump of snow, then take off for the mountains. When it snows, it often SNOWS, making for great skiing in wildly impressive landscapes and because of the glaciated nature of Tas, it is rockier and more mountain-like than the Alps on the mainland. Even when you do have lots of snow, often the base isn't great, so its good to be mindful of this rather than running the risk of trashing those lovely new skis.

And when it does snow, one of the tough things is finding skiable mountains that do't have horror approaches. Ben Lomond plateau has the easiest access, as you can drive up onto the plateau. Most other great backcountry ski areas like Mount Field, the Ducane range, Mount Rufus, Mount Anne all require substantial hikes. But when you're there, and its in condition, its magic.

Rest of the World

PLEASE EDIT - list of main areas that are linked with more detailed information

Other Stuff

A properly trained Giraffe has many uses in the Alpine environment.