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Trip Report Mt.Buffalo XC ski and snow camping trip.Aug.12-14th 2019 .Once in a decade snow conditions!!

Discussion in 'National Parks' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Your correspondent in the field dropped everything and headed for " The Buff " following the 4 day blizzard that has recently transformed SE Australia's ski locations for Nordic skiing.
    @Carola (a.k.a Ms. C.) has been interested in trying out snow camping and the Stone Hut at Lake Catani was ideal for this activity . Also seen in action was @beefa skiing , a forum member and XC skier who had never skied at Mt. Buffalo before and it was not difficult to convince him to take part when it came to the snap decision to ski at " The Buff" this week.
    I picked up Ms. C. (a keen trekker but a non skier ) early on Monday August 12th 2019 from her address in Melbourne and we headed up to The Ovens valley via the Hume Hwy . and the Snow road. Mt. Buffalo looked amazing from Eurobin, with blue skies, low cloud or mist and the rock faces cloaked in heavy snow to very low down the hill.
    We ate lunch at Eurobin Creek picnic ground and changed into snow attire.
    The road was dry and clear. We started seeing snow at Rollason's Picnic ground .The Mt. Buffalo snow plough and road clearing teams could teach another XC ski place closer to Melb. a thing or two.
    We arrived and I parked at the Lake Catani Road winter gate, we arranged our gear and trudged in on snow shoes to set up camp. The snow was very fresh , deep and soft. The track was riddled with foot prints which subsequently became horrible to ski in and out of the camp site on .
    Since I cannot ski with a heavy pack on my back , I used my generally disused snow shoes to slog the pack in. I had forgotten how much of a laborious way to travel they really are. A real PITA ! .
    Compared with Nordic skiing it was like being in a prison or being a bird in a cage or being forced to read the local paper rather than Daphne Du Maurier.
    The snow shoes' bindings also are not very comfortable to wear when you realize what the NNN BC ski binding system is and how it
    is so good for what I do these days.
    Anyway Ms C. had some issues with her borrowed stocks / poles ( ski poles and hiking poles are not the same) and she had some complexities with putting up her new winter tent.
    It was good that we were not in a blizzard.
    I went back to the car to fetch some other gear incl. my wide BC XC skis.
    Eventually we got moving on a pleasant afternoon and I skied from the Lake to the Chalet and back. Oh this was good !.
    The views of the BHP and Mt. Bogong from the Gorge were fabulous. On returning to the campsite we went back to the car to drag 2 bags of firewood/fuel back to the hut for a fire.
    The fire was lit , candles were lit , snow was melted and boiled for cooking water, food was consumed and the travel guitar came out for some light entertainment.
    Eventually it was bedtime under a full moon.
    As per my usual snow camping proclivities I put my drinking water bladder into a dry bag and put it inside my sleeping bag so it would not freeze.
    During the course of the night I was rudely awoken to find cold water was leaking out into my sleeping bag. I had not put the lid on properly.
    Oh FAAAARK!. I removed the offending item and quickly changed my thermal long johns and had to sleep in a damp Sleeping Bag liner and sleeping bag. I was not cold but it was not great.
    I was lucky it dried out eventually before the next night and I was able to dry out my thermals in front of the fire the following evening.
    Day 2.
    I woke up at day break in icy conditions and after pottering around with one's morning rituals Ms. C. and I went to the car to get more briquettes, kindling and pre split red wood for the fire for the evening of Tuesday August 13th 2019.
    We met @beefa skiing coming into camp on skis on that rutted snow route with a full pack on his back. He set up his tent and eventually we were all ready to pile into the Tee mobile to ski the Reservoir road.
    Oh this was A - fecking - Mazing to ski on the day after the blizzard .

    @beefa skiing and I glided away with glee and left Ms. C . behind on snow shoes. I stopped at the Reservoir picnic area for lunch while @beefa skiing went up the Rocky Creek track a short way along Wild Dog Plain to scout out the conditions up there. He had very good things to say about it.
    The Reservoir road had about 80 cms of fresh deep complete snow cover and the Mt McLeod track looked very tempting.
    The Whole Mountain was 101 % skiable.
    We skied back saying that is what BC XC skiing is all about , skiing fresh tracks on the adjacent snow plains and not on the road and we saw only one other skier out there.
    We went to Dingo Dell Café for a break and some food and hot drinks . That was reviving and then we travelled to Cresta Valley to ski the "Valley of the Gods". The initial section of the 4 km loop was freshly groomed but quickly became a BC route marked with a temporary pole line.
    It had a few spots where the cover was a tad thin but overall it was fooking magnificent and a true XC ski skills work out with traverses using ski edges, ascents, descents, turns , bends, plains and more.
    We went back to camp , changed into warmer campsite attire and settled in for some fire side bush telly , cooked food, music and chatter. It was a memorable XC ski day in great ski conditions.
    Day 3
    We woke up early after a not so cold night , had breakfast , performed our ablutions and packed up. The ski surface was a bit icy so we were not too eager to start skiing the Horn until after 10 am when it would soften a bit.
    I had to make two trips on snow shoes to get all the gear back in the car and we went to Cresta to ski the Horn.
    The ski up was fast on a firm packed groomed track with a slightly icy aspect to it. @beefa was first up to the Horn Picnic area , but the views were socked in by low cloud and we found the air temperature up there to be too cold to sit around in for long.
    So we skied back. I skied it cautiously and found that My Madshus Epoch skis were too slow and heavy for the track whereas on the BC they were perfect , they ruled the roost. Turning was more effort in them esp. on the sharp bends on the descent of the Horn road. Lighter slimmer faster skis such as my Fischer skinny BC XC skis which were in the car would have been far better .
    However that was a minor quibble.
    I did not crash once and saw total beginners trying to ski up the Horn. I wondered how they would manage the descent. It made me realize how much I have improved at skiing. Ms. C. was quick to notice that I can now ski intermediate terrain/ Blue runs without dramas whereas last year I was not very confident on planks.
    On our return to Cresta more skiers were appearing at about 1300 for the early afternoon ski up the Horn.
    @beefa skiing said farewell and drove off to attend to his other matters in Melbourne. After eating lunch in the car Ms. C. and I went to Myrtleford to return her rental snow shoes to Ray's ski hire and to get some petrol and refreshments .
    On the way down the hill I stopped to fill up my drink bottle with some spring water by the road side , which was so welcome and refreshing after all that skiing.
    I now have a mild cold, fatigue and having XC skied 4 days this week , I am happy not to ski again until next week when more snow is coming !!.
    That was the BEST XC ski trip to Mt. Buffalo I have ever had and may ever have . The snow conditions, the weather window, the lack of crowds , everything about it was simply A Bleeding Mazing.
     
    #1 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 1.
    The drive up there and Lake Catani, The Gorge , The Chalet and surrounds.
     
    Sean Sunley, D70987, neilmny and 4 others like this.
  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 1.

    The drive up there and Lake Catani, The Gorge , The Chalet and surrounds.

     
  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 2. The Reservoir Road, and more brilliant XC BC skiing at Mt. Buffalo.
     
  5. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 2 The Valley of The Gods ski route at Cresta. Mind Blowing skiing at Mt. Buffalo.
    The route was marked with a temporary pole line. The snow cover was possibly better than it was last year ( a bumper ski year) for this route and I skied it rather well compared with my rather timid efforts in 2018.
     
    #5 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
    Sean Sunley, D70987, neilmny and 2 others like this.
  6. pegasusSki

    pegasusSki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Classic MrT. :) [And you both look like WW2 Finnish soldiers!].

    I am out on Reservoir / Rocky Sat am - hopefully not too tracked out or rain-affected. Might see some of you out there.
     
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  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 3.Skiing up and down The Horn!
    The Horn was popular with skiers that day.
    It was firm with complete deep cover but not too icy at all up high , just a bit tracked out. Lake Catani looked almost monochromatic on the way out.
     
    Sean Sunley, D70987, neilmny and 2 others like this.
  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    https://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Mt-Buffalo/6day/bot
    The Buff might a get a mild refreshing top up of snow on Tuesday. On Wed. next week a ski up to Wild Dog Plain or the first half of the Mt McLeod track could be way more interesting than skiing at Mt. Stirling ….. and free of charge too. I am plotting another trip up there!.
    T.
     
    #8 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Some pictures from Mt. Buffalo from
    @Carola .
     
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  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis Not your average unconventional eccentric. Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    More photos from Mt. Buffalo from @Carola .
     
    Sean Sunley, neilmny and skifree like this.