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Elevating Adventure and Excellence in Snow Activities

The Australian snow industry has long been a hub of adventure, attracting enthusiasts from around the world to its picturesque alpine regions. With the increasing popularity and diversification of snow-related activities, the need for a comprehensive and updated guide to ensure safety and best practices has never been more critical. To address this, Outdoors NSW & ACT has released the "Australian Snow Best Practice Discussion Paper," a pivotal document designed to guide both commercial and non-commercial groups in conducting snow activities safely and sustainably.


The foundation of this discussion paper is the original Snow Good Practice Guide, initially created by Outdoors Victoria and published in 2013. Recognising the evolving nature of the snow industry and the unique challenges faced today, the Back Country Committee of Outdoors NSW & ACT has extensively updated and adapted the guide. This process included a thorough review by Outdoors Victoria in 2023 and widespread sector consultation, culminating in a document that reflects the latest industry standards and practices.


“The Australian back country continues to offer amazing experiences and we want to ensure we continue to lead in the best practice for our visitors. By involving the industry in discussions around sustainable and safe practices we only hope to increase the access of these experiences for long into the future”, says Lori Modde CEO of Outdoors NSW & ACT.


Kyle Boys is a member of the Back Country Committee and a ski guide, forecaster and educator with Blizzard Academy and Mountain Safety Collective. He emphasised the importance of the discussion paper, "by establishing a baseline for safety standards and encouraging open discussions, we can improve the overall experience of our snow industry and ensure these activities remain sustainable and accessible for everyone".


The Snow Discussion Paper serves as a platform for industry-wide discussion and feedback, aiming to refine and enhance snow activity practices across Australia. It covers a broad range of snow activities, including ski touring, split boarding, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, snow camping, and alpine snow hiking. By inviting engagement from stakeholders, the paper seeks to develop a Good Practice Guide that can be integrated into the Australian Adventurous Activity Standard (AAAS) framework.


Key features of this paper include emphasis on the importance of risk management in snow activities, detailing strategies for hazard assessment, emergency planning, and incident reporting. It highlights the need for thorough pre-activity documentation and the development of robust emergency strategies to ensure participant safety. In addition, the paper discusses ratios of leaders to participants, tailored to the complexity and nature of the activity and landscapes that are traversed.


The document also outlines the necessary qualifications and competencies for leaders conducting snow activities as well as environmental considerations which ensures these activities can continue long into the future and ensure continued and managed access to some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country. A significant focus is placed on sustainable practices to protect the fragile alpine environment. The paper offers guidance on minimal impact practices, waste management, and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, encouraging responsible and eco-friendly behaviour among snow activity participants.


As the snow season of 2024 approaches, Outdoors NSW & ACT encourages all stakeholders in the snow industry to review and provide feedback on the Snow Discussion Paper on its practicality and omissions to ensure the development of a Good Practice Guide in 2025 is aligned with the needs of the industry.


The Australian Snow Best Practice Discussion Paper represents a significant step forward in the management and safety of snow activities in Australia. By fostering a culture of best practices and continuous improvement, it aims to enhance the safety, sustainability, and enjoyment of snow activities for all participants.

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