Backcountry Festival FAQ
What is this event about?
The Victorian Backcountry Festival is a fairly large annual event run by a group of volunteers. The Festival aims to provide an introduction to a range of winter backcountry activities, making them more accessible to the general public whilst educating participants about mountain safety. Melbourne Nordic is not involved in the organisation of this event, but we schedule an accommodated weekend to coincide with it, so members who have registered for the Festival can stay together at Eiger lodge. We also sometimes help out by organising activities as part of the Festival program.
What activities happen?
Activities vary depending on what the Festival organisers arrange each year, but typical activities might include:
- Films about backcountry activities.
- Mountain safety training (including avalanche awareness and rescue).
- Day tours in the Mount Hotham area.
- Talks on various backcountry activities.
How do I get there?
Eiger Lodge is best accessed from the stairs above Village Bus Stop 8 at the Easternmost end of the Mount Hotham village. If you are taking your car and don't have a Season Pass, the best option is to pay for your parking online in advance at:
That way, you can just drive in and park (the resort may check your number plates). Here's how parking works when staying at Eiger:
- First park near Bus Stop 8 to unload your gear. You need to carry your gear up the staircase and across to Eiger Lodge (see map). The parking limit at the staircase is 2 hours.
- Then drive your car down the hill in the Omeo direction. The resort staff will direct you where to park.
- Finally, catch the free village bus service (see below) back to Bus Stop 8 and walk back to the lodge. The bus runs until very late.
Wheel chains are mandatory when driving to Mount Hotham (and there is a fair chance you will have to fit them because the road is steep and travels through an exposed high altitude area).
If you travel to Mount Hotham by bus, ask whether you can be dropped at Bus Stop 8. If the bus terminates at Hotham Central, you will need to catch the Village Bus (see below) to Stop 8.
What is provided?
Eiger Lodge supplies doonas and pillows. Guests are required to supply own linen - towel, top and bottom sheets and pillowcase (or you can hire for $15). No sleeping bags are allowed. This event is self catering in the fully equipped lodge kitchen, so you need to bring your food for the weekend. Food should be placed in the cupboards, fridge and freezer allocated to your room and/or in the cool room adjoining the kitchen. A cold store for drinks is available on the downstairs balcony next to the BBQ.
What if I need to hire ski gear?
There is a hire shop at Mount Hotham that hires cross country gear and is located close to our accommodation. Hiring off-mountain is also possible at various locations along the road (Myrtleford, Ovens, Bright, Harrietville) or you can even hire gear in Melbourne. The advantage of hiring at Mount Hotham is that if you have any issues with the gear, you can take it back and change it quickly. For this reason, we recommend that beginners hire on mountain.
Getting around at Mount Hotham
The free village bus service is not just for getting back from the car park. It is almost indispensable as a way to get around the rather long and disjointed village. It runs quite frequently from Hotham Central to Wire Plain (starting point for the cross country trail network). Depending on current car parking conditions, it all runs less frequently as far as Whiskey Flat (where the Biathlon Range is located).
There are two ways to access the cross country trail network which is centred on Wire Plain but has trails going as far as the Dinner Plain ski village:
- You can take the village bus from Bus Stop 8 to Wire Plain.
- You can ski down the Wire Plain access trail directly from Eiger Lodge (it starts almost directly in front of the lodge). This involves a road crossing where you should remove your skis.
The Mount Loch Car Park, just north of Hotham Central, has been a very popular starting point for trips to the Mount Loch, Machinery Spur and Derrick's Hut areas, all delightful in good weather. In the past, there was a minibus service from Hotham Central to the Mount Loch Car Park and it was possible to drive your own car. Unfortunately, the minibus service was discontinued and the car park now fills up very early with alpine skiers on busy days. In addition, we have had many reports of cross country skiers being told not to ski along the lifted ski runs to get to Mount Loch Car Park. In short, it has become increasingly difficult to get to Mount Loch Car Park, especially on busy weekends. We have been advised, however that the resort will provide transport to Mount Loch Car Park if a request is made on the previous day. They can be contacted on 5759 3550.