Ski touring and bushwalking are great ways of enjoying the alpine environment all year round. Whether you plan a day trip or extended ski tour or bushwalk, the following information will help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Planning is important and the following measures should be taken:
- Improve fitness.
- Obtain maps and information about the area.
- Organise and check all of your personal and group equipment.
- Prepare for all weather conditions and devise emergency plans.
- Let someone know before you go (see Trip Intentions Form).
- Never ski or walk alone.
Ensure you carry out all rubbish. Take care of the environment and observe fire lighting regulations. If lost, stay where you are.
The right clothing ensures your comfort and therefore your enjoyment of any ski tour or bushwalk. Always carry windproof and waterproof clothing. Cotton or nylon clothing is not suitable for snow conditions as these materials are poor insulators when wet. Do not wear jeans.
What to wear or carry:
- Clothing made of wool, or synthetic fibres that have insulating properties similar to wool such as fibre pile.
- A number of layers of thin clothing, rather than a few layers of thick clothing.
- Woollen beanie and gloves or mittens.
- Warm underclothing, ie polypropylene thermals.
- Warm outer clothing, eg polypropylene or woollen jumpers.
- Woollen socks.
- Waterproof oven mitts and overpants.
- Footwear with soles having substantial grip.
- Goggles and/or sunglasses.
- Long waterproof and windproof jacket.
- Spare clothing if over-nighting.
Each party member should carry a survival kit, even on short trips, in summer or winter.
Personal survival kit
- Mobile phone and emergency numbers (note warning on black spots).
- Matches in a waterproof container and/or a cigarette lighter.
- Whistle (you can blow a whistle for hours, you can only yell for help for about 20 minutes).
- Space blanket or large plastic bag.
- Plenty of food and drink for your trip.
- 6 to 10 metres of 2-3mm cord.
- A roomy day pack or rucksack (for maximum comfort, a rucksack should be personally fitted).
- Filled water bottle
Group equipment, even on the shortest trip
- Tent or emergency shelter
- First aid kit
- Stove, fuel and billy
- Repair kit
If planning to go snow camping, consult your local ski or outdoors shop for advice on the correct equipment for your personal requirements.
Food provides energy for movement and for maintaining your body temperature. Always carry emergency rations and at least one litre of water.
- Don’t skip breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day.
- Eat a little more than normal. Eat often.
- Carry high energy foods which can be eaten with little or no preparation (fresh or dried fruit and muesli bars are good examples).
Popular high energy foods for a day tour include bread or dried biscuits, cheese, peanut butter, honey, raisins, sultanas, nuts, chocolate, hot drinks and soup.
Alpine weather can be wonderful but changeable. Snow falls have been recorded in all months of the year.
Study the latest forecasts but keep a close watch on weather as well and seek shelter immediately if an approaching storm or change is observed.
Check on the Bureau of Meteorology website and listen to your local ABC radio station for regular weather updates.
Additional tips for bushwalkers and summer visitors
Some further important points to consider when going alpine bushwalking or visiting alpine areas in summer:
- Bushwalking causes high moisture loss which needs to be replaced by frequent drinks.
- Always carry at least one litre of drink, as water is often not available when you want it.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen.
- Portable fuel stoves are less harmful to the environment and more efficient than fires. If you do use a fire, observe fire-lighting regulations, keep it small, use only dead wood and make sure it is out before leaving.
- Always carry windproof and waterproof outer layers of clothing and be prepared should you need to put on additional insulating layers of clothing.
- Watch alpine weather conditions carefully. Weather conditions can change very quickly.
- Do not overestimate your group’s ability to make its destination well before nightfall.
- There are many huts across the alpine regions, but always carry a tent as the huts may be being used by others.
- Respect our heritage.
- When building a snow shelter, especially a snow cave, keep entrance clear to prevent suffocation.