Be prepared and stay safe in the snow
Thursday 9 June, 2022
Visitors to the Alpine and Mount Buffalo National Parks are encouraged to be prepared and stay safe during the winter season following early and ongoing snow fall and heavy rain across popular 4WD tracks and visitor locations.
Whether snow playing, camping, hiking, driving or backcountry skiing, it is important to understand the risks associated with the Alpine environment in winter.
Heavy snow fall and strong winds can also lead to unexpected tree fall, as well as dangerous wet and slippery conditions for vehicles looking to access remote areas of the Victorian High Country.
Dramatic weather changes are common and should not be underestimated when planning a winter trip. Visitors must be well prepared for sudden changes in conditions and remain alert to hazards including unstable snow, rising river levels, steep icy slopes, avalanches and extreme weather.
Visitors to the Alpine National Park, especially those visiting the higher elevation areas of Mount Bogong and Mount Feathertop, are likely to encounter a range of hazards each winter including unstable and deep snow; steep icy slopes; cornice formation; avalanches; and extreme weather.
Visitors need to be prepared and experienced to manage these hazards. Parks Victoria recommends these basic preparations to stay safe this winter:
- Check park conditions: Visit the specific park page at www.parks.vic.gov.au or call 13 1963.
- Prepare for the weather: Check www.bom.gov.au or download the BoM app for forecasts, conditions in the Alpine areas can change rapidly.
- Obey signage: Whether on the roads or in the parks, signs are there to keep you safe.
- Carry snow chains and check road conditions: Visit www.traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au.
- Stay in touch: Let friends or family know your plans. Avoid traveling alone and remember that phone reception may be limited.
- Pack the right gear: Protective clothing, appropriate footwear, plenty of water, extra food, wilderness first aid kit, map, compass and GPS.
- Check backcountry conditions: the Mountain Safety Collective (MSC) website is a reliable source of information and reporting of backcountry conditions.
- Stay informed: Visit the SnowSafe website to get comprehensive information on how to stay safe when visiting the snow, including Backcountry safety.
- Huts in the Alpine area: Huts are for emergency shelter/refuge only. A comprehensive list is available via the Victorian High Country Huts Association website.
- In an emergency: Call Triple Zero (000). Be aware you may travel out of phone range.
- Note seasonal road closures: Most take effect from Wednesday the 16th June 2022, after the Queen’s Birthday weekend. Check www.ffm.vic.gov.au/visiting-state-forests/forest-and-road-closures.
Quotes attributable to Julien Atherstone, Area Chief Ranger, Parks Victoria:
“Victoria’s stunning alpine regions are a great place to visit over winter, offering fun activities for everyone to enjoy, including families and adventurers looking for that first experience in the snow.
Everyone has a role to play in ensuring visitor safety. Please prepare for your visit by checking the weather forecast, bringing the right gear, wearing the correct attire and letting someone know your plans.
Many high elevation 4WD tracks in the Alps are already under deep snow and have become impassable. Please stay off these tracks to stay safe, as it can be difficult to reach visitors stranded by extreme weather conditions.
Heading up to Mt Bogong, Mt Feathertop or any of the backcountry ski areas is a serious undertaking in winter. If you are not fully prepared and experienced, consider getting some training from one of the many guiding companies and practicing your skills closer to a resort.”