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History of Oversnow Transport in the Australian Alps

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by AndrewCudgewa, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    G'day All,

    My first post on your forum, and hopefully I'm raising this in the right category.

    I've had an interest in the Oversnow transport we have used in Australia over the years, but looking around I could'nt find much information. I've put a bit of a site together with some of the major types but it is very far from complete.

    So I thought I would put a post here in case anyone shares the interest, and also given there are large gaps in my knowledge, all information and pictures that I could add to the site to make it more complete would be gratefully received. I'm limited by the occasional skiing visits I have made over the years, and what is available on-line so two big gaps I'm aware of are Pisten Bully/Kassbohrer, and Victorian oversnows in general.

    If you're interested, the site is at the following link (click):

    Australian Alpine Oversnow Equipment

    Cheers, Andrew
     
    #1 AndrewCudgewa, Oct 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  2. JoeKing

    JoeKing Old n' Thrusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Awesome site dude.
     
  3. PiniPowPow

    PiniPowPow One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    nice! the guys at Hans Oversnow have got some great kit
     
  4. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Big effort there Andrew. You should have beers with Bogong some time.
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  5. Angus_McCrory

    Angus_McCrory Old n' Crusty

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Nice. Whenever I see Thiokol it always think don't ask them to build a rocket.
     
  6. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    I'd love to see one of those "porsche" snow cats (as we used to call them as kids) driving the streets in the city. Dunno why, just reckon it'd be a cool car...
     
  7. AndyT

    AndyT Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Great work.
     
  8. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Nice work Andrew.

    A few thoughts:

    - The National Alpine Museum at Mt Buller has a nice collection of vintage oversnow vehicles parked out the front.

    - Someone posted a great colour pic in this forum of an oversnow vehicle parked out the front of Albina Lodge after a shuttle run from (Charlotte Pass?)

    - In the 1950's and 60's, Blue Lifts at Buller used to tow skiers up to the summit behind an oversnow vehicle. But Orange managed to built a lift on the summit before Blue, so Blue had to stop their (snow cat?) shuffles.

    - You don't have much on Tasmania. The HEC used to run a few big vehicles all over the Central Plateau.

    - Also in Tassie, a few years ago the Collectors show ran a 10 minute piece on a Tassie bloke that collected smaller ski doos. He had a couple of dozen of them and I think there was a thread on them and the TV feature in the "Ben Lomond" section of this forum.

    - In the 1930's the Feathertop Bungalow, (a hotel on Victoria's 2nd highest mountain that was burnt in the 1939 fires), partially replaced the pack horses that supplied it with a crawler tractor. This is definitely the earliest non government use of a tracked vehicle in the Victorian High Country for oversnow purposes. (Buffalo was owned by the railways which were in turn owned by the government.)

    - Falls Creek Oversnow retired their decrepit vintage vehicles last year, but if you ask for pics in the Falls Creek section, people will post photos of both the new and old ones.
     
    #8 Bogong, Oct 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  9. Rover

    Rover One of Us

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    there is an oversnow vehicle parked at the back of the RMB workshop at Hotham...an old one that is awaiting a new engine...may be worth following up withe the Hotham RMB.
    Had a flick thru your website and it does not look like any of those
     
  10. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the kind words, and thanks also for the leads regarding information on some Victorian Oversnow, I will follow them up.

    Rover - could I confirm what the RMB is/stands for?

    Thanks again.

    Cheers, Andrew
     
  11. cqen2l

    cqen2l Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    RMB = Resort Management Board
     
  12. cqen2l

    cqen2l Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Zoo Cart Rover?
     
    #12 cqen2l, Oct 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  13. PolePlant

    PolePlant Guest

    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Here is a few pics my father took at Buller back in the 50's

    Used to tow skiers the summit (pre lifts on summit)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #13 PolePlant, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  14. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Whoops. The Sno-Cat is coloured Orange and I said that Blue used oversnow to get punters up to the summit. [​IMG] Although maybe both lift companies did this? [​IMG]

    If Andrew wants me to, I can check this, it will only take me a couple of minutes as I know where I have the details on file.

    P.S. I think that the vehicle in Poley's pic is one of the ones presently parked out the front of the National Alpine Museum.
     
    #14 Bogong, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  15. PolePlant

    PolePlant Guest

    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    No, right first time
    John Hilton Wood (blue) ran it, it just happened to be Orange.
     
    #15 PolePlant, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  16. PolePlant

    PolePlant Guest

    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Keep in mind that "Blue lifts" owned by John Hilton Wood was actually "Bull Run" Ski Tow company.
    Bull Run rope tow was JHW's first lift.

    20p a day or 1p a ride I think it was (Ill ask Dad) so they used to all try and cut out the day price by doing at least 20 runs, 25 was optimal.
    Hilton Wood used to Ski down tracked out icy Bull Run each morning with only a shovel over his sholder to dig the lift and run it.

     
  17. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    My favourite Blue / Orange story is that after 30+ years of struggling as the underdog at Buller, Blue actually took over Orange and unified the lift companies.

    The deal was signed in the evening. The story goes that ten hours later as the staff came on duty first thing in the morning. Hilton-Wood called a meeting and directed all staff to stop their usual summer maintenance and office work. Instead he issued paint brushes and some hurriedly purchased paint and ordered all staff of both companies to paint every Orange lift tower.

    After decades of struggle, he couldn't wait even one day to obliterate all those Orange lift towers and paint them his favourite colour... Blue! [​IMG]
     
    #17 Bogong, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  18. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    You can actually see some Orange under some of the Blue towers that are peeling.
     
  19. PolePlant

    PolePlant Guest

    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    That is John Hilton Wood all over.
    The paint, and cheap paint at that.

    The rivalry was bitter because it was a struggle over terrain.
    JHW trying to aassert himself by building Sun Valley poma, a real white elephant.

    Just on that issue I was looking at Benzers images of 1980 Crew, George the Cook and Russel
    (I knew Russ from Melb via a few mates, StBedes boys, which I why I remember his name.)

    Anyway I was saying some time back that in 81 I was working on the Sun Valley Poma putting buttons on the pomas.
    I suggested that it did run that season but after thinking about it more I now remember it never did run that Season for the public.

    So the first time Sun Valley was run for the public was 1982 was someone stated.
    We ran it while working on it and I recall that because I had to ski down and climb towers and clear built up snow having not been run it has some stuff on it but the hangars were not in it by then just the Mechanic wanted to run the Cummins up under load.

    What I cant recall was the exact reason it did not run 81, but I also have recollection of being out there with the Sparky too one day.
    We also worked on Bull Run T to fix the phone.
    And it may be that it had an electrical fault and had to wait till summer to get at cables in the pit and fix that.

     
  20. Rover

    Rover One of Us

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    No...although there still is a zoo cart trailer sitting there (or maybe that is behind the bus shed)....maybe that could be added to the history as well....
    This is an old oversnow that was bought by the RMB a number of years ago, needing a new powerplant to drive it...but the funds/workshop time has always been short.
    Its Yellow, and has an enclosed attached trailer from memory.
    I am sure if you call the RMB someone will assist in identifying it or put you in touch with the workshop manager or ops manager,,both are very helpful people.
     
    #20 Rover, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  21. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Pole and Bogong,

    Thank you for both the pictures and background information. Probably a fair assumption that's the ex-SECV Tucker 423 sedan that John Hilton was using. FYI the colour is "Tucker Orange", I think they pretty much all were ex-factory in this colour, and indeed still are! Am overjoyed that she may still exist! I will have to make a diversion to Buller on my next trip to Victoria in a couple of weeks.

    Pole - who should I credit the photographs to on my site?

    Rover - thanks for the further information. I am intrigued as to what the old snow cat may be. I have very little information on oversnow types at Hotham.

    Again all many thanks.

    Cheers, Andrew
     
  22. Ben Lomond Brad

    Ben Lomond Brad Part of the Furniture Moderator

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    The Tassie guy is DooMechanic on here. PM me if you want mOre content details.
     
  23. PolePlant

    PolePlant Guest

    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Apira Ski Club Member.
     
    #23 PolePlant, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  24. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    eermm, there a are a few geriatric big tracked thingys out the front of the National Alpine Museum at Buller, but I'm not a regular and I haven't been there since June.

    Before you make a pilgrimage to view what may be a Tucker 423, get a Buller regular, (with a more accurate memory than me), to confirm it, as I may be mistaken. [​IMG]
     
    #24 Bogong, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  25. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Google Maps is a wonderful thing - I just took a "drive" down New Summit Rd, and there are two Tuckers, a Bombardier Snow Coach and I think a Pisten Bully parked out front of the museum. Definite visit. :^ ) Interestingly with regard your earlier discussion, the "Hilton" Tucker is now painted blue... Thanks again fo the lead.

    PolePlant - thank you, will do.
     
  26. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Hi All,

    For those interested in Australia's Oversnows, just letting you know that the site has had quite a few updates with additions to most of the types with pictures and information contibuted on and off forum, opportunity to take some new pictures, identification of some unknown models, and per request here, links put in for most of the marques on the site.

    The site is at:
    http://australianalpinoversnow.blogspot.com/

    My visit to Mt Buller managed to cover all but the Hilton-Woods Tucker which no-one seemed to know where it had gone. Withe the other two NAMA exhibits now displayed in the village my assumption is it is being restored preparatory to display also. I hope so as it is a valuable historical exhibit and has closer ties to Mt Buller than the two oversnows on display.

    Cheers, Andrew
     
    #26 AndrewCudgewa, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  27. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Having a look at page 2 of the Axtrack webpage... http://www.axtrack.com.au/page2.htm

    Pre production samples were sold into the Australian alps. Despite their economical operation and reliability, the market in Australia is extremely small and it has been difficult to find funding for export. We would like to hear from people in the U.S. or Canada, interested in bringing this project into commercial fruition.

    What a tragedy, they specifically designed a vehicle for the North American utilities market to fill a niche that wasn't being filled by other companies... They got so close to going fully commercial, but our bureaucrats and pollies couldn't help them get that little bit further. [​IMG]

    P.S. Does anyone know who made the snow groomer that works at Ben Lomond ski resort?
     
    #27 Bogong, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  28. stansi

    stansi One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    That old yellow thing is a Haglaund, same as the Buller one in Andrews photo. Back in about '87 the National Safety Council of Australia, had supplied one of these to each of the Alpine Resorts in Australia, they came with the personal carrier attachment on the back as well as a quick attach fire fighting unit.
    There must be a lot of people that have worked for the Resorts, or still do that will have a lot of memories and imfo. I went for a ride in one of these on a search & rescue exercise out The No. 3 Road once, seem to remember it doing about 45 km/hr and a very smooth ride. I think they could also swim!
     
    #28 stansi, Nov 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  29. Angus_McCrory

    Angus_McCrory Old n' Crusty

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Ah, the NSCA. I was working for the national partner of the firm that audited the NCSA when John Friedrich borrowed a little bit too much money against those Haglaunds and some other non-existent equipment.
     
  30. vet

    vet One of Us

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    I was studying tree planting. There was this magic money tree ....
     
  31. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    G'day All,

    Just noting the site has been updated including:

    - Pictures from late 2011 visit to Hans Oversnow depot in Jindabyne
    - Old Bombardier pictures
    - Old LMC pictures
    - A new entry for Ratrac Oversnows
    - A new SMA Tucker picture
    - A few other bits and pieces I can't remember!

    The site is here:
    Australian Alpine Oversnow

    All the best for Christmas and the New Year.

    Cheers, Andrew
     
    #31 AndrewCudgewa, Dec 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  32. Velkytatra

    Velkytatra First Runs

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Love it! Ah the good ol days when we could park the VW outside Kooroorra (for free).
     
  33. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Does the site explain why mandatory oversnow is such a scam?
     
  34. BenLomond Iceman

    BenLomond Iceman One of Us

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Top website andrew.. There have been a couple of classic oversnow vehicles over the years down here at benlomond that you could add to your list.! Send us a pm if you would like any info ! [​IMG]
     
    #34 BenLomond Iceman, Jan 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  35. Twynam

    Twynam First Runs

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    ...had lunch today at the Guthega pub, where there's a large photo of one of the early over-snow transports they used up there. The owner of the hotel (Nick) can fill you in with details.

    [It's a great place for lunch - highly recommend it!]
     
  36. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Isn't that Fawlty Towers?
     
    #36 cold wombat, Jan 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  37. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    G'day All,

    Thank you for the kind words and pointers.

    BenLomond, I have sent you a PM, and I might try and give the Guthega Pub a call as I have very little on what has been used at Guthega.

    Cheers, Andrew
     
  38. doomechanic

    doomechanic First Runs

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    Re: History of Oversnow Transpot in the Australian Alps

    Hi Andrew,
    Our groomer at Ben Lomond is a Bombardier Dumbo.
    Earlier oversnow vehicles we've had include a Bombardier muskrat, Bombardier bombi's, various track fitted tractors and a german built Kraka.
    I've also got an ex antarctic nodwell with a custom Recab body that I have recoverred for restoration.
     
  39. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    It just occurred to me that perhaps you might include those tracked troopie things that Charlotte Pass started operating a few years ago.

    While they weren't entirely built as dedicated oversnow vehicles, they do operate in the same way as oversnows.
     
  40. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    Maybe have a chat to Perisher Historical Society if you haven't already done so. I imagine there'd be a few peeps there that would have info.
     
    #40 cold wombat, Jan 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  41. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Thank you again for the information and pointers.

    Doomechanic - do you know of any pictures of the Tasmanian oversnows? It would be good to include them on the site and give Tas its' due mention!

    Bogong - I would like to include the Charlottes Pass tracked truck. While I prefer the all-track versions, it certainly qualifies, however while I have some good video of it in action, I have no stills! :^ (

    Cheers, Andrew
     
  42. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    [​IMG]

    I spent some time in the State Library today doing research for a (non Buffalo) ski history project which should be published in the next few months, when I came across details of the service this vehicle provided.

    Tractor to Hump. [6 mile trip from Buffalo Chalet to Cresta ski runs]. 10 shillings return, includes sandwich lunch . 2/6 extra when grill lunch is provided.

    It looks like this was a regular shuttle that ran several times every day.

    Source: Gerald Rush. A course of practice in ski-ing. Vic Govt Tourist Bureau, June 1933. Page 19.
     
    #42 Bogong, Jan 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  43. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    G'day Bogong,

    That's great, thank you very much! Would have been a good day out in good weather.

    I will add it to the site with credit.

    Cheers, Andrew
     
  44. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Bogong,

    You might be interested, another picture and some information has surfaced on the Mount Buffalo Cletrac(s), it's on the Cletrac page:

    Australian Alpine Oversnow - Cletrac

    Cheers, Andrew
     
    #44 AndrewCudgewa, Jan 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  45. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks Andrew, it's nice to know that I can occasionally help you out with your project. [​IMG]

    I will have to scan a picture of a Cletrac operating on Mt Feathertop, a much more formidable mountain than Buffalo. It looks like they hauled freight up to the hotel that was on the mountain before the war, and possibly took skiers from the Feathertop Bungalow up hill to the base of the summit pyramid.

    <span style='font-size: 8pt'>P.S. I'm not fussed if you credit me for any contributions I make or not. If you do, I guess I'd prefer you use my real name rather than the nom de guerre I use here.</span>
     
    #45 Bogong, Jan 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  46. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    Hi Bogong,

    All contributions are appreciated, the lion's share of knowledge on this topic is outside my knowledge!

    Thank you for the offer re:the Mt Feathertop picture, I look forward to it.

    I tried unsuccessfully to send you a PM regards a better creditting name, could you please PM me?

    Cheers, Andrew

    Cheers, Andrew
     
  47. AndrewCudgewa

    AndrewCudgewa Hard Yards

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    G'day All,

    My young family means I am likely not to get to the Snow this year, great to hear it's a good season though.

    If you happen to be skiing/boarding/walking/apres-ing past an Oversnow with a camera handy, feel free to take a shot and send it to me with your name so I can post it on the site and credit it to you. Would be great to get some good shots from Season 2012 from around Australia's snow fields.

    Cheers, Andrew


     
  48. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    post that offer in the Charlotte Pass Forum, bound to be the odd oversnow sighting hthere!
     
  49. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've been contemplating the stuff they have at Baw Baw and I don't think much of it features in the terrific webpage at http://australianalpinoversnow.blogspot.com.au/

    I spent 5 days up there last summer, but I forgot to take snaps of any of the vehicles I saw, but this one has just been posted on Baw Baw's Facebook page.

    [​IMG]

    There is also an untracked 8 wheel vehicle lurking around the resort.
     
    #49 Bogong, Sep 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  50. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Her's a pic of the Dumbo that was posted on the Lomond Snow Sports Facebook page.
    What I want to know is how they managed to get that thing up Jacobs Ladder?

    [​IMG]
     
    #50 Bogong, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013