Backcountry Condition Report - July - Australia

12th of July 2017

Beyond the resort boundary, it's been a slow start in the Australian backcountry but things are starting to pick up. Image:: David Inabinet

Australian Seasonal Update - Backcountry | David Inabinet

Despite a slow start to the backcountry season this year, things have finally gotten started outside the resorts with 20cm to 40cm of fresh snow arriving over the past week. Those who hiked out to earn their turns this week were greeted with abundant powder on wind loaded slopes and amongst the Snow Gums. With temperatures set to remain cold, this new snow will settle into a workable base for the remainder of the season.

This week's hot tip has been amongst the Snow Gums, where windloaded stashes have been plentiful. Image:: David Inabinet

It's now possible to skin or snowshoe out to the backcountry from most of the Aussie resorts, though coverage remains thin on lower northern and western aspects so it can be tough going at times. Most of the smaller streams and rivers have enough snow bridges to cross with a degree of caution.

Conditions are still relatively low-tide across the range, with the odd sighting of the 'backcountry shark' lurking beneath the snow covered surface. Image:: David Inabinet

It's still very much early season conditions out there so be wary of those 'backcountry sharks' – rocks and trees lurking just under the surface waiting to grab a bite of unsuspecting skis and knees!

The avalanche risk is relatively low due to the thin coverage and lack of cornices but skiers and riders should remain cautious of snow loaded slopes above 1800m where this weeks’ fresh accumulated on a thin layer of faceted snow left over from June snowfalls. Particularly in the gullies high on southern aspects, June’s snow could form a deep persistent weak layer that may cause instabilities as the season progresses.

So far, so stable. Avalanche risk is currently low but proceed with caution above 1800m. Image:: David Inabinet

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