The Victorian alpine environment is a beautiful destination for winter or summer holidays and a venue for many challenging and exciting activities including skiing and bushwalking. The Victorian Alps, however can be hazardous if visitors are careless and irresponsible.
Planning and preparation are the keys to having a safe and enjoyable alpine experience.
The following information is essential and relevant to all visitors to alpine areas, regardless of the length of the visit or the type of alpine activity.
Snow Safe Tips
When planning your trip to the alps, select a resort or area which caters for you and your group's needs as facilities, experiences and opportunities vary widely between resorts and various parts of the Alpine National Park. When planning it is important to prepare your vehicle for a trip to the snow, organise your clothes and equipment, improve your fitness, organise lessons, take special care with children and arrange to leave details of your trip. Plan your alpine holiday carefully and you'll have a great time.
Driving on Alpine Roads
Like skiing, driving in snow and ice conditions is an acquired skill. Extreme care is required when driving on alpine roads in winter.
Most of us like to picture ourselves enjoying the alps in sunshine and we do have our share of sunny days in Australia. However, alpine weather is unpredictable and a fine sunny day can quickly deteriorate into cold, wet, high wind or blizzard conditions. Your clothing must be versatile and you should have ready access to protective clothing.
Skin and Eye Protection
Sunburn can be a serious problem, even on cloudy days. In addition to protective clothing, always use a good sunscreen with a high SPF to protect skin exposed to direct or reflected sunlight. To protect your eyes from the glare off the snow (which can lead to "snow blindness") the use of high quality sunglasses or goggles is essential, and wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your face on sunny days.
Mount Hotham Skiing Company (MHSC) in conjunction with the Australian Ski Areas Association ‘ASAA’ strongly recommends the wearing of helmets for skiing and riding. Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage while emphasising that skiing and snowboarding in a controlled and responsible manner at all times is the primary safety consideration for all skiers and boarders.
In addition, MHSC require guests wear helmets while undertaking certain activities and programs within the resort.
- All guest participants in what is generally known as Kids and Children’s Snowsports School Programs (Mighty Mites & Kids Klub) must wear an accredited ski or snowboard helmet. These helmets are FREE to participants in these programs or through Hotham Sports outlets in conjunction with equipment rental.
- All guest participants, of whatever age, in Snowsports School or other resort race programs, which involve or include terrain parks, pipes, skier/boarder cross and/or race courses will be required to wear an accredited ski or snowboard helmet.
- All guest participants, of whatever age, in pre-organised school group lessons, must wear an accredited ski or snowboard helmet.
Food provides energy for movement and for maintaining your body temperature. The risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level) can be reduced by having good meals, maintaining fluid intake and stopping when tired. Popular high energy foods include nuts, chocolate bars, hot drinks, soups, cheese and dried fruit.
Let someone know before you go. Check in when you return. Trip Intention forms are widely available from resort administration offices and police stations.
Start your training well before the ski season or your trip. Training sessions must be regular and frequent - at least 3 times per week. Always warm up before an exercise session. Children, as well as adults, wil benefit from a pre-season fitness program.
More children are getting into snowsports. Their needs for learning and equipment, however, are different to those of adults. Skis, boards, boots and bindings can be bought new or secondhand but should be specifically made for children, not adapted for them. Equipment should be properly fitted by a reputable ski shop - remember that children only need light ski binding settings. Warm, protective clothing and head gear (ie a helmet) should always be worn by children.
Tobogganing is one way of enjoying the great snow resort areas within Victoria. Tobogganing can be dangerous and great care should be taken. At resorts, toboggan in designated areas only on approved hard plastic moulded toboggans. These are readily available for purchase or hire within the resort. Inflatable and foam core toboggans ARE NOT ALLOWED due to the likelyhood of punctures, sharp edges etc. Away from resorts, find a gentle slope free from rocks and trees, with a safe run out at the bottom. If you have any questions regarding snow toy products approved for use within the resort please contact the Resort Management Board on 03 5759 3550.
Statistics prove that the more experienced skiers/boarders have less accidents and the best way to gain that experience is to take lessons. In any professional snowsports school instruction, training and coaching always progresses from the level the student has already attained.
Always check your equipment before using it. Prior to the winter season have your equipment serviced and checked.
The Alpine environment is fragile. Please treat it with care and respect so that others may enjoy it after you. May sure you use public place waste and recycling bins. Please DO NOT discard cigarette butts, general litter, apple cores etc into our alpine environment. You will be polluting higher catchment waterways.
Common sense and care will reduce the risk of loss or theft. Know where to locate your skis/board at all times. Operation Identification is a program aimed at theft prevention and involves marking your equipment for easy identification (we suggest your driver's licence number with state prefix).
For information regarding recommended ski insurance and security contact:
Phone 03 9614 2644
For more detailed and comprehensive information on all aspects of snow safety go to www.snowsafe.org.au
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