john banks

Trip help

The "How To" Guide for Beginners

Cross County skiing doesn't require a lot of specialised gear, (apart from skis!). However, you must be prepared for extreme weather conditions. A few simple precautions, and a few items of clothing and equipment, can make the difference between being safely prepared and foolhardy. This needn't cost a lot - there are cheap alternatives to most of the expensive specialised gear. Much of the gear required is the same as for bushwalking. Before undertaking a trip, ask the advice of experienced club members.

Bus information

To Falls Creek - Falls Creek Coach Service (formerly Pyles)

To Mt Hotham - Snowball Express

To Lake Mountain:

Directions for drivers

To Mt Beauty /Falls Creek - How to get from Melbourne to Tawonga South (Mt Beauty)

A slightly-shorter, slightly-more-interesting way.
Join the Hume Freeway (M31) wherever convenient, heading NNE. Remain on M31 to bypass Glenrowan, about 225 km from Melbourne. Take the Milawa exit (C522) immediately after MacDonalds restaurants. On the C522, pass through Oxley, Milawa, and Markwood to Gapstead. At the T-junction with Great Alpine Rd (B500), turn right to Myrtleford.
Pass through Myrtleford to Ovens township
. Now go to        

A slightly longer, but easier-to-drive way (eg. on a Friday evening)
Join the Hume Freeway (M31) wherever convenient, heading NNE.  Remain on M31 to bypass Glenrowan, about 225 km from Melbourne.  Remain on M31 past the Snow Road (C522) and two turn-offs to Wangaratta. Exit at the Great Alpine Road (B500) for Bright & Beechworth. At Tarrawingee,take the right fork< towards Bright (still the B500). Pass through Everton, Gapsted and Myrtleford to Ovens.
 ..... Now go to       

In Ovens, turn left onto C534 for Tawonga/Mt. Beauty.
[Be on the lookout for kangaroos on this road around/after sunset.] At the Kiewa Valley Highway (C531), turn right for Tawonga/Mt. Beauty. For Tawonga South, proceed through Tawonga for several km.

Maps: Melway Map 420.

To Lake Mountain - How to get from Melbourne to Lake Mountain:

The usual route is via Whitehorse Road and Maroondah Highway to Box Hill, Ringwood, Lilydale and Healesville. 

An alternative, faster and more scenic route is via Eastern Freeway, Bulleen exit, Templestowe, cross the Yarra to Eltham (via 'Fitzsimons Lane'), Research, Kangaroo Ground, Christmas Hills, Yarra Glen, then travel past vineyards to Healesville.

From Healesville, go straight on over the 'Black Spur' to Narbethong, and a few km later, turn right

Usually, plan to be at Gerraty's for 10.10 am or a bit earlier!  Allow  2.5 hours to travel to Lake Mountain from the inner-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

There might be patches of ice on the road. Chains can be hired in Melbourne, Mt Beauty or Marysville.

Don’t forget to hire them – you won’t get into the resort without them! Carrying snow chains is mandatory on all Mountains during the ski season, but having to fit them is unusual, unless there's been a big snowfall overnight.

Be wary about ice when walking at resort car-parks e.g. Gerraty's at Lake Mountain or Windy Corner at Falls Creek.

Clothing, personal and snow safety tips

Cross country skiing involves a fair degree of exertion, more than down-hill, and 'body self-heating' will occur. In warm weather excess clothing should be removed (eg. into a back-pack, or left in the car) - little clothing can suffice most days.  Bring sun-block & sun-glasses.

In wet weather(eg. steady rain, sleet or wet snow), clothing should consist of a rain-proof jacket & pants, eg. waterproof overpants.  Jeans are worst - they absorb too much water too readily. 

In very cold/windy weather, gloves, hat/beanie and thermal underwear are essential. Weather on the mountain may be worse than in Melbourne - so be prepared.

For a day trip: a small back-pack (‘day-pack’) is great to carry your lunch, energy-giving snacks (chocolate, fresh or dried fruit), sunscreen packaged drinks and/or water (half/one litre per person at least) , sun glasses, sunscreen, plus items of clothing, eg. a spare pair of gloves, a tee-shirt or pullover, depending on the weather outlook (see further below).

For a comfortable journey home, or dining out later, a change of clothing (perhaps everything!) and towel - left in your car - is good insurance.  Changing rooms, toilets, and snack food are available at Gerraty’s and at Windy Corner.

For a ski weekend it is suggested you bring: Day-pack, water bottle, sun glasses (preferably wrap-around or goggles), personal first-aid kit, sunscreen, toiletries, towel, boots, socks (2 pairs), long pants (preferably nylon track pants or sport pants (not cotton/jeans), thermals, waterproof over-pants and jacket, woollen shirt, polar fleece, fibre-pile jacket or woollen jumpers, mittens or gloves, hat, spare clothes. Optional: camera.

Hiring Ski Gear

If hiring (or borrowing), be aware that cross-country skis, boots, poles are not the same as down-hill gear.  Refuse any gear which is not in A1 condition - just walk out and hire good gear elsewhere. 

Information provided by Ian Cochrane

Friday, June 20, 2008 and updated 2010