Social and instruction weekend FAQ
What is this event about?
This is usually the biggest weekend trip for the season, held in late July at Howmans Gap Alpine Centre, conveniently located just below the entrance to Falls Creek. Dinner on Friday and Saturday night, breakfast on Saturday and Sunday are included. 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. Traditionally, we employ a ski instructor who stays with us for the weekend and provides an extensive instruction program. Whenever possible, we try to time this event to enable participants in the Hotham weekend and mid-week events, so that participants can travel from Mount Hotham directly to the Social weekend. That's a whole 9 days of accommodated skiing for those lucky enough to be able to take the week off!
What activities happen?
A major feature of the weekend's activities is the instruction program. This usually starts out with beginner instruction on the Saturday morning to get the newbies started and it includes more advanced instruction including skating lessons. If there is sufficient demand, we often include some Telemark instruction on the Sunday, which may or may not be on the lifts depending on the preferences of participants.
In addition to the instruction program, members often organise their own activities independently on the social weekend. By this point in the season, it is usually practical to do some backcountry touring.
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. The instruction program is included in the price of this event and is open to all participants.