Frequently Asked Questions

What level of skier/boarder do I have to be?


The snow in the backcountry is not machine prepared you need to have experience skiing off piste (away from the groomed trails) & be comfortable skiing a variety of snow conditions & terrain. You don’t need to be an off piste expert but need to be able to maintain control of your skis & link turns off piste in all types of snow conditions.




What level of difficulty are your tours?


We offer basic introductory tours through to advanced arduous tours. Your required fitness level will depend upon the level of tour undertaking but you should have at least a good level of fitness. We recommend that each newcommer to backcountry skiing should initially undertake our Backcountry Intro Course unless you have prior experience in the backcountry or have a strong level of fitness & skiing skills.

Backcountry skiing is an aerobic activity, the terrain we ski is away from the ski lifts & time spent climbing on skis is longer than descending. Stamina, endurance, technical ability, mental & physical strength, are all considerations when choosing the right tour for you but don’t be put off as our guides will help you along the way. "How do you eat an Elephant? One Bite at a time!" Refer to our TOUR DIFFICULTY TABLE to gauge the tour for you.

If you hold a good level of fitness & skiing skills with no prior BC experience you may be okay for a lot of our tours as we can guide you through the usage of the BC equipment. If you have some familiarity with BC equipment but do not have an adequate level of fitness or skiing ability you may struggle on some of our advanced tours regardless of your prior experience. Your BC experience is important but your skiing ability & fitness level is more vital. When it comes to our TOUGH tours your BC experience becomes more relevant. These are big days where we need to make a lot of ground so being familiar & comfortable with the gear helps us to achieve our goals.

Although it is difficult to get it right all the time we do our best to match the group & this is where it is very important you are honest with your self appraisal so as not to jepordise the groups' experience. It is rarely a problem but if it is plainly obvious you are struggling from the outset we will make other arrangements.

That doesn’t mean you can’t ski with us, our BC Intro Tour is the least demanding of all our tours and a great way for you to gauge your ability. We can also provide customised tours for group or one on one tours but we will need advanced notice for this.




Do I need to be an experienced backcountry skier/boarder?


Not at all, you need only be an experienced skier & we will guide you through the backcountry & familiarise you with the equipment. This is where regardless of your experience the BC Intro Course is an excellent stepping stone into an amazing new outdoor pursuit teaching you the fundamentals of safely moving away from the lifted ski areas. This course sets you up for a sequential progression to our more advanced courses This is a great course for individuals or a group or family to achieve & learn new experiences together.




Can you customise tours to my needs?


If you are concerned about your fitness level &/or ability we can customise a trip to suit your needs whether it’s for your own group or a single person. The outcomes of the day will depend upon your capabilities, current snow & weather conditions. If joining a group trip be sure to make a realistic appraisil of your fitness level. Our least demanding trip is the BC Intro Course & a great place to start




I am concerned I won’t fit in with the group, can I book as a single?


SMBC can provide a one on one service but minimum tour costs must be met. Having such a low client to guide ratio will allow us to customise the day to meet your ability & endurance maximising your experience & dramatically increase your learning!




How big are your groups?


This depends upon the type of trip, more advanced trips will have a lower guide to client ratio 1:3 & most others will be 1:5 You can book a trip out for yourself exclusively, for your group or you can join a group. Remeber minimum numbers apply for tour costs.




How much do trips cost?


See Our Tours to find a package that suits you. Day tours:

  • Moderate & Challenging: Guide to client ratio
    • 1:3-5 $250pp
    • 1:2 $325pp
    • 1:1 $650
  • Tough: Guide to Client ratio
    • 1:3 $300pp
    • 1:2 $350pp
    • 1:1 $700




Getting There?


Our trips are run out of our base at Guthega Mountain Centre. SMBC can be accessed by vehicle or on skis from Blue Cow Resort, arriving by vehicle has less limitations regarding resort operations.

  • Vehicle: This is the easiest way to access Guthega. Follow Guthega Rd to the end where you will see the Guthega Mountain Centre, we are upstairs on the Middle floor. Be sure to carry chains at all times as it is legally required from the June long weekend to the October long weekend, drive to conditions at all times & listen to local radio stations for road condition updates. Allow longer times if necessary.
    • From Jindabyne take Kosciuszko Rd & turn off onto Guthega Rd & follow it to the end. Allow an hour
    • If arriving in vehicle from Perisher take the Link Rd between Smiggins & Guthega Rd if open, this road closes in winter & may only be open very early & late season. If closed take the Guthega Rd turn off from the Kosciuszko Rd & proceed to the Rd’s end. Allow about 45mins if road is clear.
  • Ski Tube/Skiing Access for Tour Participants: Catch Ski Tube to Blue Cow, meet SMBC guide at Cowpaccino Cafe at uphill end of platform. Lifts & runs are still closed at this time & your guide will escort you to Guthega Mountain Centre. We will advise you of what time Ski Tube to catch.
  • Accessing Guthega Mountain Centre when skiing at Guthega: take Norwegian Rd, look for Snowy Mountains Backcountry sign then then turn right onto Home Trail. Ski to the bottom of the Car Park Double Chair where you will find the Guthega Mountain Centre. SMBC HQ & the Mountin Ear Cafe is located on the middle floor. Access through the resort on skis can be limited by seasonal conditions, lift & run opening/closing times, refer to a trail map for lift operating times. Early & late season when access in between ski areas may be restricted SMBC may still be operating tours. See above details on vehicular access.
During late season when the Kosciuszko Rd is open to Charlotte Pass trips may also run from here. Snowshoe Summit trips to Mt Kosciuszko will run from Thredbo




What gear do I need to bring?


Please see the "SMBC CLASSROOM" page for the detailed equipment lists. Our guides will rationalise your gear omitting any unecessary or inadequate items including your backpack SMBC supply excellent Alpine Touring packs for all participants. SMBC hire Alpine Touring skis, climbing skins & adjustable poles See "STORE" page for rentals at SMBC HQ




Other than the recommended gear list what else should I bring?


You will only need the items listed on the gear list. We will rationalise your pack so your aren’t carrying unnecessary weight. Through experience a backcountry skier will omit unecessary items to reduce weight, we will fast track you on this process!




Where can I hire Alpine Touring Equipment?


SMBC have a modern fleet of Alpine Touring skis, adjustable poles & climbing skins for hire, there is allowance for hire on our Online Booking form. We offer a discounted hire rate for our tour participants. Talk to us about splitboard hire recommendations We also hire snow shoes & retail backcountry essentials.




What sort of food should I bring?


Simple easy to eat food like bread rolls, snacks, trail mix & energy bars. Have your food pre made as conditions do not suit building your lunch in the backcountry. Make sure you have at least 2 litres of water, this weight will soon be halved & you will be thankfull for bringing it!




Do you offer overnight tours?


Comming soon!




How do I book a trip?


Go to our Contacts Page & submit queries or fill out a booking on our Onlibe Bookings Page Also call 0400 349 319




Is there any winter parking restrictions in the Kosciuzko National Park


Overnight parking from midnight to 6:30a.m. is not allowed at Perisher Valley, this is an enforcable regulation during the winter ski season. There is day parking at Guthega but this area has the same overnight parking enforcements as Perisher. Unlike Perisher, Guthega has allowable overnight parking1.5km prior to the village, you will need a valid vehicle entry ticket for your period of stay. The overnight parking close to the day parking area is authorised only for Guthega lodge staff & guests.




What about accident insurance?


Some of the appeal of the outdoors is that it is a dynamic environment & whilst we do our best to mitigate risks it is impossible to eliminate them all & some situations are unavoidable. We strongly recommend that you take out ambulance insurance. For around $50 it is money well spent, if you have private health insurance you should already be covered but check your policy.




Time Management & Joining a Group


More than destinations reached the quality of the experience & what you take away from it is the best measure of the day. There is many things that can determine what a group can achieve whithin a period & SMBC tours have been designed & graded to give every real chance of achieving the expectations of our tours. You may be strong at skiing & find kick turning whilst skinning difficult. When joining a group it is important to have empathy for all within it. The endurance of the group, snow depth, snow cover, snow surface conditions, weather conditons & attitudes are some of the many factors affecting the outcomes of any tour. Safety is SMBC's highest priority & in order to manage our tours the guides will consider all these things. While experience & satisfaction of the day are very important so to is having enough energy & good spirit to enjoy the tour through to its finish arriving safely at the scheduled time.




Terms & Conditions


Snowy Mountains Backcountry Terms & Conditions

Transparency Disclosure

It is essential that participants are honest about their suitability for our tours, please read our TOUR DIFFICULTY TABLE, tour page information & FAQ’s. Tours will be conducted to suit the scheduled rating, if it is obvious from the start that you are unable to meet the tour’s rating as described you will be escorted back to our HQ. No refund will be available; the guide has the final word on this decision.

Modification of Itineraries

Snowy Mountains Backcountry is located in the more protected sub alpine area. If necessary SMBC will modify tour routes to the sub alpine before or during the tour. If SMBC go ahead with the tour & you choose to not take part or leave the tour there will be no refund.

Deposit

Full payment & a completed booking form 7 days prior to tour commencement is required

  • $250pp for BC Intro Tour, Guthega Backcountry, Main Range Tour
  • $300pp for Western Faces Experience, 3Pks High Route

Balance of payment

If tour numbers are less than minimum number you will still be offered participation but will need to pay the balance prior to tour departure. Economic constraints require pricing based on a minimum of 3 participants per tour.

You are able to book as a private or a double if you choose however pricing will vary accordingly. See BOOKING ONLINE > PAYMENT.

Cancellations

Once we have received payment refunds will only be available if SMBC cancel the tour. If SMBC cancel you can choose to postpone your tour up until the end of that season. If you choose this option your payment will not be redeemable.

Refunds

There will be no refund for tours voluntarily reduced in length.

There will be no refunds for tours cancelled 7 days or less from booked date.

If you have paid for your tour & you are the only person booked & you do not want to pay the higher rate you will be fully refunded or you can postpone until the end of that season.




COVID-19


Everyone's health is at the forefront of operational concerns for the 2020 backcountry season at SMBC. We have decided to carefully operate our winter programs & continue providing our guests with memorable backcountry experiences. We ask that if you are feeling unwell that you cancel your tour, we will be understanding in regard to refunds. During the day we ask that you follow good hygiene practices at all times. Although you may be with family there may also be others outside of your group & we ask that you respect everyones health & safety throughout the day. IN FIELD Considering we have 100sq km of operating space we are feeling good about our social distancing capabilities. We will monitor & implement distancing throughout the tour. SMBC HQ A regulated number of persons only will be allowed in the Guthega Mountain Centre & SMBC HQ at any given time GENERAL -we won't be loaning any clothing so it is imperitive that you bring everything that is listed on the required Equipment List -We ask that you wear a neck gater/buff to help reduce transfer possibilities -Our hire equipment & gear we provide i.e. backpacks, emergency kits, avalanche kit (for some tours only) will all be sanitised to government health regulation standards. -Every participant is supplied with or brings a down or synthetic insulating layer as part of their emergency gear. We would prefer that participants supply this garment themselves for 2020. -Each participants pack will contain a sealed COVID KIT for use in case they are required to assist with operations in an emergency situation: gloves, mask, sanitser. Looking forward to taking you beyond boundaries.




Thredbo Chairlift Backcountry Access 2020


Ordinarily our tours run from our base at Guthega which has easy access to excellent touring terrain. During early & late season our tours may be redirected to the top of Thredbo which would require a chairlift ride. For snowshoe tours to Mt Kosciuszko we depart from the top of Thredbo which requires chairlft access. A one way backcountry pass for 2020 can be purchased from Thredbo for $42 + $5 for a My Thredbo Card totalling $47. This cost is on top of SMBC tour costs & payable by participants on the morning of the tour at Thredbo





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