Early season weekend FAQ
What is this event about?
This is the first weekend trip for the season in early to mid July, at Howmans Gap Alpine Centre, conveniently located just below the entrance to Falls Creek. Breakfast and dinner are included, so all you need to do is dust off your skis and head out on that fresh season snow! A great chance to socialise with other keen skiers, and possibly make up for that lack of pre-season fitness by an easy introduction to the trails! We can't control the weather, but we try to time this event at around the point where natural snow falls put down the first decent skiable snow. Falls Creek offers the largest network of groomed cross country trails in Australia, has a ski lift system with lots of intermediate runs to suit telemark skiers and is an access point for a huge area of backcountry skiing to suit all levels of ability (but at the time of the Early Season Weekend, the quality of off track skiing is often a little questionable).
What activities happen?
We don't always have planned activities at this event. As is often the case for Melbourne Nordic weekends, participants tend to plan their activities in discussion with each other, often over a relaxed breakfast in the dining room at Howman's Gap Alpine Centre. However, if we get bookings from lots of beginner skiers, we try to organise some beginner lessons on the Saturday morning to help the newbies to get started with cross country skiers. Once newbies are ready to venture out, we usually organise a tour of the area, conducted by experienced club members.
How do I get there?
To get to Howman's Gap Alpine Centre, you turn left about 100 metres before the entry gate to Falls Creek Alpine Resort. This means you don't have to pay resort entry fees to drive to Howman's Gap. Members often arrive at different times by different modes of transport on the Friday, but organise car sharing up to Falls Creek to cut down on resort entry fees. If coming by car, you must carry snow chains even if you don't plan to drive up to Falls Creek. There is often a fair amount of snow at Howman's Gap.
It is also possible to come by bus, but it is important to let the driver know that you need to get off the bus at Howmans Gap. Note that Falls Creek is approximately 4km further up the road from Howmans Gap and the road can be busy and snowy on a Friday night, so you definitely don't want to walk back to Howmans Gap!
Access to cross country skiing at Falls Creek is via the trail head at Windy Corner car park. This is the car park at the very far end of the main road to Falls Creek. Beyong this point, the road is closed in winter and serves as part of the cross country trail system. At Windy Corner car park, there is a public shelter with toilets, a small café and a ski hire shop.
What if I need to hire ski gear?
There is a cross country gear hire shop right at the trail head at Windy Corner. Hiring off-mountain is also possible at various locations along the road (Myrtleford, Ovens, Tawonga South) or you can even hire gear in Melbourne. The advantage of hiring at Falls Creek 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.
What is provided?
All of our events at Howman's Gap include dinner on Friday and Saturday night as well as breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. You need to let us know if you are coming early enough for dinner on the Friday night (6PM). We will let the venue know about any special dietary requirements you have, but you need to keep this information up to date in your member profile. Lunches are not included, so if you are contemplating being away from the resort area at lunchtime, it is a good plan to bring some lunch. You need to bring your own sleeping bag / doona, pillow, linen for the mattress and towel (alternatively, guests can hire bedding). Room temperatures are generally comfortable.