Snow Report Mt Baw Baw 2021 - Trip Reports, Pics & Conditions.

Onlybackscratchers

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Yes, realistically, a chair lift from resort entry will never happen, but one can dream. At least we have had a good discussion about it! There was an opportunity many years ago when Grollo was a contender for the mountain lease, but Belgravia got it instead, bad move. With covid disrupting things and money being used to help businesses out, I don't see the government wanting to spend anything on BB.
Belgravia never had a lease nor purchased the lifts, it was just a management agreement with the government. A very big difference to actually owning the lift operations.
A change of state government and they were gone.
 

Serenity

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Belgravia never had a lease nor purchased the lifts, it was just a management agreement with the government. A very big difference to actually owning the lift operations.
A change of state government and they were gone.
I guess I was hinting at what could have been with Grollo, but we'll never know. The future of BB has been up and down for many years, but it will certainly have to rely more on summer activities, especially mountain biking, but also other products.
 
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Onlybackscratchers

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I guess I was hinting at what good have been with Grollo, but we'll never know. The future of BB has been up and down for many years, but it will certainly have to rely more on summer activities, especially mountain biking, but also other products.
Yes unfortunately Baw Baw's numbers don't stack up, the magical wealthy benefactor who loves the mountain like Grollo loves Buller doesn't exist.

Personally I've given up on skiing at Baw Baw, slow lifts or not running when claimed to be, very poor customer service (I'm going skiing not to visit Centrelink) has broken me over the last few trips.
Oddly it's not the infrastructure that's pissed me off but the way the place is managed, I actually end up leaving the mountain quite angry, unfortunately. Having seen how the place ran during the 80's and 90's it breaks my heart.
 
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Serenity

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Yes unfortunately Baw Baw's numbers don't stack up, the magical wealthy benefactor who loves the mountain like Grollo loves Buller doesn't exist.

Personally I've given up on skiing at Baw Baw, slow lifts or not running when claimed to be, very poor customer service (I'm going skiing not to visit Centrelink) has broken me over the last few trips.
Oddly it's not the infrastructure that's pissed me off but the way the place is managed, I actually end up leaving the mountain quite angry, unfortunately. Having seen how the place ran during the 80's and 90's it breaks my heart.
I would have to agree with you, customer service has been very poor over the last few years, but that's what happens when you have a constant turnover of management with little or no passion about the place. The only one's who really care are the stakeholders and regular visitors.
 
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Onlybackscratchers

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I would have to agree with you, customer service has been very poor over the last few years, but that's what happens when you have a constant turnover of management with little or no passion about the place. The only one's who really care are the stakeholders and regularitors.
I thought or at least it seemed that Belgravia was doing a reasonable job. It certainly felt like the management and workers had a passion for the mountain. Unfortunately a private business being subsidized by government suited the Liberal government that set it up, less so Labour ethos when they took power back.
 

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Getting back to Baw Baw, the only realistic spot for detachable would be the Summit, preferably a 6-pack IMO. It could be made to work but you really need mains power for the slushy machines. But with CC if it's not done now, then the economic window will shut fast. If the gov had made this investment when they took over in 2000 it probably would have payed it's way by now, not sure if that would be the case over the next 20 seasons.
BB doesn't have the demand to support a quad let alone a six. There is also a question of the number of skiers the summit run can support. I strongly doubt you could put many more than the T-bar delivers on it. That factor alone limits you to a fixed grip, as nobody makes a double or triple detachable.
 
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Onlybackscratchers

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BB doesn't have the demand to support a quad let alone a six. There is also a question of the number of skiers the summit run can support. I strongly doubt you could put many more than the T-bar delivers on it. That factor alone limits you to a fixed grip, as nobody makes a double or triple detachable.
Racking them and stacking them is the future of OZ skiing. 2 x 6-packs on Bourke St at Buller. Narrow Friday Flat at Thredbo has a Quad chair. Front valley at Perisher has a V8, a Quad and a couple of T's servicing one spot small area. Throw in the effective doubling of terrain available under the old Summit T-bar line and you would have no run capacity issues.

Baw Baw used to have a capacity of over 6000 skiers per hr. A quad (2400) or 6-pack (3200) should/could be able to be supported. As the say, build it and they will come.

However as I stated in above posts, it's all a moot point, it needed to be done 20 years ago to get a ROI. It's probably to late in the CC window now.

Then the mains power issue, the road, and so on as per the usual seemly endless catch 22 Baw Baw issues.
 

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You're dreaming. BB summit is about the same length as Bourke St (70m longer) but only 1/3 Ard the width. It also doesn't lead anywhere. A large number of those on the Bourke St 6 pack only use it for access to the upper mountain. Don't get me wrong - we spent a lot of our early skiing at BB, but it will only ever be a beginner or XC destination. There just isn't the vertical or area (299m 5 ha, cf Buller 400m, >300ha) to generate big numbers. And the pricing (entry, lift tickets etc) and general lack of facilities does nothing to help. Also, the lack of snowmaking infrastructure doesn't add to this. Why spend nearly the same amount for resort entry and lift tickets to ski half of hut run and get a short toboggan run when you can ski Bourke St top to bottom, and runs off 3 other lifts (skyline, standard, summit etc).

I'm not sure where you get your >6000/hr figure. Skiresort.info puts it at 4900, and the only difference from the times you are talking about is the chair lift, and it would never have had anywhere near 1100/hr on the rare occasions you could ski the lift line. The high speeds at Buller carry between 2600 and 3400 per hour, and the shorter fixed grip quads (Bonza & Fox) carry 2400. Consider what would happen at BB if you put one of these on summit. You would more than double the lift capacity, but it would also drag skiers away from the remaining surface lifts. Can you imagine the carnage that would cause on a normal blue ice day at the top of summit?

IMHO the only thing that makes sense is to find a refurbished double.
 
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Onlybackscratchers

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You're dreaming. BB summit is about the same length as Bourke St (70m longer) but only 1/3 Ard the width. It also doesn't lead anywhere. A large number of those on the Bourke St 6 pack only use it for access to the upper mountain. Don't get me wrong - we spent a lot of our early skiing at BB, but it will only ever be a beginner or XC destination. There just isn't the vertical or area (299m 5 ha, cf Buller 400m, >300ha) to generate big numbers. And the pricing (entry, lift tickets etc) and general lack of facilities does nothing to help. Also, the lack of snowmaking infrastructure doesn't add to this. Why spend nearly the same amount for resort entry and lift tickets to ski half of hut run and get a short toboggan run when you can ski Bourke St top to bottom, and runs off 3 other lifts (skyline, standard, summit etc).

I'm not sure where you get your >6000/hr figure. Skiresort.info puts it at 4900, and the only difference from the times you are talking about is the chair lift, and it would never have had anywhere near 1100/hr on the rare occasions you could ski the lift line. The high speeds at Buller carry between 2600 and 3400 per hour, and the shorter fixed grip quads (Bonza & Fox) carry 2400. Consider what would happen at BB if you put one of these on summit. You would more than double the lift capacity, but it would also drag skiers away from the remaining surface lifts. Can you imagine the carnage that would cause on a normal blue ice day at the top of summit?

IMHO the only thing that makes sense is to find a refurbished double.
Add Big Hill platter and Poma and you get the old 6000 per hr figure. That didn't include the chairlift.

Early season Buller often has only the two 6-packs on Bourke St/Baldy running. 6400 per hr down a narrow strip, every chair full. Not saying its ideal and personally I wouldn't go anywhere near it, but it is the way it is, the punters come by the thousands and pay top dollar for the experience.
Removing the T-bar line provides a whole new run to use, plenty of room, with appropriate earthworks and tree removal. The upper summit currently has a capacity of 2000 with the Painted Run T-bar beside it, was even higher capacity back in the days when it was a dual rope that ran up the edge of painted run, not where the T-bar is now located which was called East Wood Run.
Of course Baw Baw will never be Buller, but this current operation of making tonnes of gas fired powered man made slushy snow to tower 2 on a platter lift doesn't make economic sense that's for sure.
It doesn't matter now, if climate forecasts are correct for approximately 1deg warming over the next 30 years then the place is effectively done for any future downhill development. The government have had the place for 20 years and taken on no major improvements, that is probably a fair clue to it's future.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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It doesn't matter now, if climate forecasts are correct for approximately 1deg warming over the next 30 years then the place is effectively done for any future downhill development. The government have had the place for 20 years and taken on no major improvements, that is probably a fair clue to it's future.
:-(
 
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jgm

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Add Big Hill platter and Poma and you get the old 6000 per hr figure. That didn't include the chairlift.
Big Hill poma IS included in the figures I quoted (4900) with a capacity of 700/hr. I haven't been able to find figures for the platter, but seeing as it was almost the same length as the poma, it isn't going to be anywhere near the 1100 needed to get the resort lift capacity to 6000.

It is not only the government that have failed BB. I was a regular when the ARC (or whatever it was called in those days) stepped in and super-groomed champagne. After that, you could ski the run reliably with a cover of around 10cm. This was done to show the management who wouldn't spend anything on upgrades, what was required for the entire resort. It was the failure of the ownership to put any money into the place that forced the govt takeover.
 

Serenity

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Big Hill poma IS included in the figures I quoted (4900) with a capacity of 700/hr. I haven't been able to find figures for the platter, but seeing as it was almost the same length as the poma, it isn't going to be anywhere near the 1100 needed to get the resort lift capacity to 6000.

It is not only the government that have failed BB. I was a regular when the ARC (or whatever it was called in those days) stepped in and super-groomed champagne. After that, you could ski the run reliably with a cover of around 10cm. This was done to show the management who wouldn't spend anything on upgrades, what was required for the entire resort. It was the failure of the ownership to put any money into the place that forced the govt takeover.
Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't the government always owned BB? It's just the way it has been managed and funded (or lack thereof) that has seen it stagnate?
 

Onlybackscratchers

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Big Hill poma IS included in the figures I quoted (4900) with a capacity of 700/hr. I haven't been able to find figures for the platter, but seeing as it was almost the same length as the poma, it isn't going to be anywhere near the 1100 needed to get the resort lift capacity to 6000.

It is not only the government that have failed BB. I was a regular when the ARC (or whatever it was called in those days) stepped in and super-groomed champagne. After that, you could ski the run reliably with a cover of around 10cm. This was done to show the management who wouldn't spend anything on upgrades, what was required for the entire resort. It was the failure of the ownership to put any money into the place that forced the govt takeover.
The old numbers were,
Summit 1200
Maltese 1200
Painted 1200
Hut. 600
Tank. 600
Big Hill 600
Big Hill 600
Total 6000

The lifts run nowhere near as fast these days with the electric drives, in fact you could run some of the old diesel lifts overspeed if you knew what to do.

Thankyou for highlighting for everyone the stuff up that was Champagne. After the earthworks were done they left huge drainage gooves across the run. It took 70cm+ snow cover for the groomers to fill the grooves. It was simply dangerous and took two to more seasons to repair and another $100K on top of the original spend of $400K that the lift company had contributed 50% of with the ARC.

And as usual lets get on the old blame the lift company story again. They were effectively broke* from 88 onwards after they had purchased old chairlift and the non existent 88 season. Economic recovery never happened during the 90's mixed bag of seasons. In hindsight despite being pissed off by how much the government offered us for the lifts in 2000, I'm actually happy we got out, it would have been death by a thousand cuts otherwise.

Ironically it was largely to do with the ARC's inability to control losses at Baw Baw and Lake Mountain that lead to it's downfall, the big resorts were super pissed at having to subside them.

*The five directors put there own homes up for mortgage against the debts. One of those was very much of middle class wealth and should never have been put in that situation.
 

Onlybackscratchers

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Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't the government always owned BB? It's just the way it has been managed and funded (or lack thereof) that has seen it stagnate?
The lift company was originally a ski club operation which became a private company. That came to a end when the government would not renew the lease in 2000. They have also purchased numerous other businness on the mountain since that time and taken over many failed ski clubs.
 

chriscross

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Interesting to pick up some of the history of the place from those in the know. Information about the work on Champagne (and the cost!) is an eye opener. No wonder it's such a smooth and even run. It would have to be one of the best teaching/learning areas in the resort, although it does drop away into the gully towards the bottom, maybe too much for beginners. Would love to get back there (got in one day on pb touring skis in April) but I fear it may not happen again this year.
 

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Yes, realistically, a chair lift from resort entry will never happen, but one can dream. At least we have had a good discussion about it! There was an opportunity many years ago when Grollo was a contender for the mountain lease, but Belgravia got it instead, bad move. With covid disrupting things and money being used to help businesses out, I don't see the government wanting to spend anything on BB.

I’d rather Grollo got a run - I think they’ve done a lot for Buller - more than say various have done for Falls/Hotham. But running the lifts is quite different to running the resort per se.

I agree with with previous sentiments here - post Covid, funds for parks and rec generally will be scarce. Health and Care sectors would be more likely get extra funding. Understandably.

Might need to expand these views in another thread…? ‘Post Covid Recovery?
 

snowgum

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Interesting to pick up some of the history of the place from those in the know. Information about the work on Champagne (and the cost!) is an eye opener. No wonder it's such a smooth and even run. It would have to be one of the best teaching/learning areas in the resort, although it does drop away into the gully towards the bottom, maybe too much for beginners. Would love to get back there (got in one day on pb touring skis in April) but I fear it may not happen again this year.

yes a great run when there’s ~ 40-50 cm on the runs - a nice bit of gradient, especially compared to the Summit.

Forgetting Covid, for a millisecond, I suspect -30 cm falling on warm, wet grass and earth won’t last too long. Needed that icy, firmer winter pack to last - a shame! :(
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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yes a great run when there’s ~ 40-50 cm on the runs - a nice bit of gradient, especially compared to the Summit.

Forgetting Covid, for a millisecond, I suspect -30 cm falling on warm, wet grass and earth won’t last too long. Needed that icy, firmer winter pack to last - a shame! :(
We might get an October or Nov. ski day at BB like we did in 2019. We just need a SW cold weather system to charge through.
We had 30 cms of powder in Nov. 2019. It was better than most of July as one BB staff member said ,as I skied past from the car park towards the XC ski trails.
 
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snowgum

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We might get an October or Nov. ski day at BB like we did in 2019. We just need a SW cold weather system to charge through.
We had 30 cms of powder in Nov. 2019. It was better than most of July as one BB staff member said ,as I skied past from the car park towards the XC ski trails.
I like the idea T. Until this week, I was adamant I’d just head up to Hotham/Feathertop for a late spring ski. Test my Voiles & Axls. But after this week’s data, it’s looking much less likely. May be 2023 now?

So, I say to Huey, bring on the out of season BB dump!
 

chriscross

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"...an aversion towards the activity"? Pardon? Only when your legs fail completely. Oh, and you left out Italy, France and Austria. My daughter and I were at Hoppet 2010 (when I made it all the way) and had a chat with a French guy who was 88, had come out here to ski Hoppet. Never give up.
 

snowgum

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"...an aversion towards the activity"? Pardon? Only when your legs fail completely. Oh, and you left out Italy, France and Austria. My daughter and I were at Hoppet 2010 (when I made it all the way) and had a chat with a French guy who was 88, had come out here to ski Hoppet. Never give up.
Good effort 88! 2010 - really good snow from memory?
fwiw: 2010 Yes that my first of two Birks (then Joey with Mrs SG 2012 - was to be with a pulk for the master but the weather quashed that idea). :whistle:
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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"...an aversion towards the activity"? Pardon? Only when your legs fail completely. Oh, and you left out Italy, France and Austria. My daughter and I were at Hoppet 2010 (when I made it all the way) and had a chat with a French guy who was 88, had come out here to ski Hoppet. Never give up.
I was joking. I hope I can ski to my own funeral when I am 100!
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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5/9/21
Baw Baw has come back to being quite XC skiable IMHO and more snow is coming tonight.
1630798078984.png
1630798078984.png
 

Skiain

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Great scenes post snowfall. Let’s hope a few folks head up to partake? I’m not sure of the plan for lifts Mr T? School holidays should help?
I'm currently at Baw Baw, falls of 5-10cm the last 2 days are of snow that softened to sludge after 10am and has no base to bond with. It looks pretty and the weather is great. Had a skate this morning and there was no consolidation on the trails, on the road network, pole tips were scraping the roadway beneath. Back to Hotham on Tuesday, for the last of the lifts and some side-country. The pic is of Talbot Creek carrying snow-melt from Mts Erica and St Gwinear from 2 days ago, the full flow indicates the end of the season on Baw Baw plateau :(
Talbot Ck.jpg
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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I'm currently at Baw Baw, falls of 5-10am the last 2 days are of snow that softened to sludge after 10am and has no base to bond with. It looks pretty and the weather is great. Had a skate this morning and there was no consolidation on the trails, on the road network, pole tips were scraping the roadway beneath. Back to Hotham on Tuesday, for the last of the lifts and some side-country. The pic is of Talbot Creek carrying snow-melt from Mts Erica and St Gwinear from 2 days ago, the full flow indicates the end of the season on Baw Baw plateau :(
Talbot Ck.jpg
I suspected that the snow at Baw Baw looked better than it would be for plank action. I think Mt. Loch and Mt. Nelse would still have some BC skiable snow but the season that never really was, again :-(, is almost done and dusted for us Victorians.
 

snowgum

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Baw Baw will end up like Buffalo . Over priced gov rates sending clubs to the wall., then handing over the keys to an operational ski club back to the government for free .

Happy day's

I accept most/all the issues around limitations.

But I still see a key to getting anyone above a pure beginner/novice to return to BawBaw is installing SM (ice-makers if need be) top to bottom somewhere (Malt, Hut, or Summit).

Yes it’s expensive, yes it requires grants, yes plans, yes vision, yes experienced managers, tenacity, yes stare down naysayers in Govt, yes play the long game (patience), yes fix the power, yes summer grooming, etc…yes, yes, yes… (what would Elon Musk do?)

Hotham discovered (Summit/ Imagine) SM on a 1/3 run basically did very little when cove was poor.

Or accept he Mtn will be become purely a snowplay and toboggan winter mtn (XC after only the biggest dumps) plus the usual (important) green season activities.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Baw Baw has had a cr*p season in terms of snow cover during 2021. In 2019 the entire Baw Baw N.P. plateau was 50 cms deep in snow minimum.It was possible to BC XC ski anywhere. All the tall heath was buried and so were all the rocks .I did not get to ski up there during 2020 and 2021 esp. not to do my MSG to BB and back in a day XC ski tour which usually becomes feasible in late August.
 

chriscross

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Baw Baw has had a cr*p season in terms of snow cover during 2021. In 2019 the entire Baw Baw N.P. plateau was 50 cms deep in snow minimum.It was possible to BC XC ski anywhere. All the tall heath was buried and so were all the rocks .I did not get to ski up there during 2020 and 2021 esp. not to do my MSG to BB and back in a day XC ski tour which usually becomes feasible in late August.
Hi, Mr T. You were a bit optimistic about early October but that's your outlook. Glass is half full.
Msg to bb day tour is a great day trip. On the right day I would join you and that may happen but, meanwhile, having done said trip from both sides (now), may I offer a brief piece of advice.
In one of your posts from years past, you reported encountering challenging conditions on the AAWT around Mt St Phillack. The trail is narrow and, in places, steep and difficult. May I suggest an alternative route. If conditions are good (30-50 cm cover), it's much more fun to ski SW from the rock shelter on AAWT down into Tullicouty glen. This is only a short distance (200/250 m) but entails some short turns through snow gums and heath, so a place to practise some tele, parallel or stem/hybrid turns. In years past, I have climbed back up and done it again, just for fun. In good years, the trail is marked with temporary poles by Msg volunteer ski patrol, but not always. Easy skiing along this pretty little valley reveals a few places where it is possible to find some genuine bc downhill turns and a great place to practise and muck about, when conditions are right.
On some maps, the area below Phillack saddle is called Thompsons run and , at this point, one can choose to climb back up to the main trail and take the Tanjil trail where it branches S from the AAWT. On the right, Phillack saddle is a place to work on downhill technique if inclined. Or, in good conditions, one can turn left and find a path through the Tors trail ( sometimes marked with temp posts) Sth to the main bb Village trail and hence across to bb village. Where the homemade soup at Kelly's cafe used to make it all worthwhile. But, alas, no more.
If Lars the lifty was not on duty on Maltese cross t-bar, it was possible to get a lift back up to near the 5 ways junction and commence the return journey. Ah, those were the days. May they return, in some form. Enough reminiscence. Hope you get out there. CC
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Hi, Mr T. You were a bit optimistic about early October but that's your outlook. Glass is half full.
Msg to bb day tour is a great day trip. On the right day I would join you and that may happen but, meanwhile, having done said trip from both sides (now), may I offer a brief piece of advice.
In one of your posts from years past, you reported encountering challenging conditions on the AAWT around Mt St Phillack. The trail is narrow and, in places, steep and difficult. May I suggest an alternative route. If conditions are good (30-50 cm cover), it's much more fun to ski SW from the rock shelter on AAWT down into Tullicouty glen. This is only a short distance (200/250 m) but entails some short turns through snow gums and heath, so a place to practise some tele, parallel or stem/hybrid turns. In years past, I have climbed back up and done it again, just for fun. In good years, the trail is marked with temporary poles by Msg volunteer ski patrol, but not always. Easy skiing along this pretty little valley reveals a few places where it is possible to find some genuine bc downhill turns and a great place to practise and muck about, when conditions are right.
On some maps, the area below Phillack saddle is called Thompsons run and , at this point, one can choose to climb back up to the main trail and take the Tanjil trail where it branches S from the AAWT. On the right, Phillack saddle is a place to work on downhill technique if inclined. Or, in good conditions, one can turn left and find a path through the Tors trail ( sometimes marked with temp posts) Sth to the main bb Village trail and hence across to bb village. Where the homemade soup at Kelly's cafe used to make it all worthwhile. But, alas, no more.
If Lars the lifty was not on duty on Maltese cross t-bar, it was possible to get a lift back up to near the 5 ways junction and commence the return journey. Ah, those were the days. May they return, in some form. Enough reminiscence. Hope you get out there. CC
In 2019 I skied that exact route coming from MSG car park and hit turn around o clock near the Tors. Next time I will start earlier and camp the night before at East Tyers camp site. We can ski it together. I know the exact spot you refer to near the rock shelter. It is indeed a good run down a short hill to Tullicouty Glen and it 's an excellent place to rehearse one's ski skills skiing and turning down that declivity. Thanks for the message.
 
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