How to prepare, pack, and get to your winter party
The Bogong Rover Chalet is unlike any other Chalet found on Australia’s Snowfields. It has a communal atmosphere where everyone pitches in to make the Winter Party a success. Facilities include 240 volt generator power, fully equipped kitchen and dining facilities, washing machine, drying room, toilets, hot showers, and dormitories that include mattresses and pillows. The Bogong Rover Chalet is located on the picturesque Bogong High Plains, an 11 kilometre trip from the Falls Creek Ski Resort in Victoria’s North East.
Before you get there
Fitness - Being sufficiently fit will maximise your enjoyment of the winter party. So get fit NOW! Useful exercises include stretching and any sort of aerobic exercise such as running, jogging, cycling, swimming, skipping, aerobics and walking.
Ski Expo - Attend this entertaining evening that will allow you to purchase ski clothing and Equipment at a discounted rate. 2nd Wednesday of June, at Eastern Mountain Centre. You can organise ski hire on the night for pick up from EMC or Ajays.
Go Skiing - If the season allows it, get in some practice cross country skiing. Practice carrying a heavier pack for a few hours both skiing and walking.
We highly recommend that you have full ambulance cover as skiing, either cross country or downhill, is regarded as a high risk/extreme sport.
For those who have Private Health Insurance, your insurer may only cover you by ambulance part of the way, one section or so many times per year. Please check your cover and make a decision accordingly.
Bring five RATs and at least one mask.
Nothing will spoil your Winter Party more than having equipment that doesn’t do the job right. If you are not sure about anything ask your party leader. The suggestions made in the following list have come from years of experience during Winter Parties. If borrowing gear make sure that it fits correctly and is serviceable. If hiring gear, explain why you need the equipment. Mention that it is for the Bogong Rover Chalet, many staff at outdoor stores will know about the Chalet. When choosing clothing go for softshell, polar fleece, wool, thermals and similar. Avoid cotton and denim. If in any doubt, speak to your Party Leader.
For Mt Beauty Scout Hall on Friday night
- Sleeping Bag - if possible, a second one makes packing and departing easier, but is not necessary at all
- Pillow (to be left in your car at Mount Beauty)
- Sleeping Mat or Lilo (to be left in your car at Mount Beauty)
- Simple prepared breakfast (to be left in your stomach at Mount Beauty)
- Water to drink before departing - being well hydrated before starting is a great way to make life better
For the trip into the Chalet
- Prepared lunch and energy food such as chocolate, muesli bars or scroggin - don’t forget water.
- All your ski equipment – cross-country skis, boots and poles.
- All your equipment and clothing for the chalet in a pack.
Pack, ski equipment, and other gear
Note: for 2023 we will only be offering ski rental packages for Venturers, not for any other type of booking. Ajays will continue to offer a discounted rental rate to Rovers :-)
Pack – with ample hip belt and chest strap. Modern internally framed packs with large hip belts to load weight onto the hips make carrying your load easier. They are available for hire from an outdoor shop if necessary. Packs are not one size fits all and need to be fitted properly. Some packs are specifically designed for men or women.
Sleds are strictly prohibited, gear must be carried in a pack.
- Water proofing - be sure to line your pack with a large plastic bag to keep everything dry. Pack your sleeping bag into another plastic bag. You can never have too many plastic bags. Also a well fitting pack cover is good to have.
- Packing – Pack your sleeping bag at the bottom out of the way and heavier articles lower down and nearer your back. Put spare clothes that you may need nearer to the top or in the pockets. Nothing should be tied to the outside of your pack as it may be lost.
- Load – Keep the weight down below 15 kilograms including your allowance for fresh food, about 2 kilograms. First timers should especially focus on keeping weight down by avoiding unnecessary items e.g. bringing too many spares.
- Extra space for food – All winter party members are expected to carry in a parcel of meat and fresh vegetables. Please bring plastic bags for this purpose.
- Cross country skis – suitable for medium to heavy touring with a pack. The use of some sort of retention strap is highly recommended to prevent runaway skis (e.g. ski leashes). See below for more details if needed.
- Cross country ski boots – Plastic boots are recommended, although some people prefer leather boots from their previous experience. For leather boots, a sturdier high cut boot is recommended. Waterproof leather boots with ‘Snoseal’ or similar. (Do not use Dubbin as it softens the leather)
- Cross country ski poles – Any material is suitable. A larger basket for soft snow is recommended. Adjustable poles are nice, but not necessary.
- U.V. Sunglasses – with retention strap, and ski goggles if desired. Most people prefer sunglasses for touring and have goggles for skiing the tow, and sometimes in particularly bad weather.
- Compass and map of the area.
- Beanie or balaclava
- Hat – Something to protect you from the sun in nicer weather.
- Coat - One of the most important items you’ll be carrying. We recommend you use some sort of breathable hard shell, such as a ‘Goretex’ or equivalent (e.g. another brand like ‘eVent’, or propietry fabrics from brands like Kathmandu). The coat should have ample hood. Most Alpine or Downhill Ski jackets are too hot for Cross Country Skiing. Cotton Lined Japaras should also be avoided along with full length riding ‘Driazabone’ coats, which are too heavy and hot for Cross Country Skiing.
- Overpants – To be useful these must be water and wind proof. These are often generally available (and preferable) in similar fabrics like ‘Goretex’, ‘eVent’ or per-brand equivalents.
- Woollen jumper, polarfleece, or softshell Jacket
- Woollen or thermal shirt or skivvy
- Woollen or other appropriate trouser – High quality nylon tracksuit pants may be adequate. Avoid Cotton and Denim at all costs.
- Socks – Woollen blends such as ‘Explorers’ are recommended. Pure wool and football socks can cause blisters. Many people wear 2 pairs of socks when wearing Ski Boots. Specific ski touring socks, or general skiing socks, are nice but aren’t necessary (they can be pricey).
- Gaiters – they keep the snow out of your boots.
- Ski gloves – bring a spare pair, overmitts are an advantage for woollen gloves. We suggest using an older pair on the tow is suggested to avoid extra wear on nice (or soft) gloves
- Ski helmet – A nice safe option whilst cross country skiing, and an essential safety item for skiing the tow.
Clothing for the Chalet
- Scout Uniform - minimum of Shirt and Scarf (don’t forget your Alpine Venturer, Alpine Rover, or Bogong Rovers scarf if you have one)
- Footwear - Light weight runners, Slippers or Surf sandals
- Spare Clothes - a single set of clothes should suffice, there is a washing machine and powder is provided.
Skis and bindings
Most people who visit the Bogong Rover Chalet use cross-country/telemark ski gear. For example 75mm bindings, sometimes called Nordic Norm (not New Nordic Norm which are different), on patterned skis. If hiring, then this type of ski - with metal edges - would be appropriate. Skis that are appropriate are also sometimes referred to as XCD skis.
Shops that can assist with ski hire or purchase include: Ajays and EMC (Melbourne), The Wilderness Shop (Melbourne), Rocky Valley (Mt Beauty) and Cross Country Skier (Wodonga). Some of these stores know the Chalet and saying you’re “going to the Bogong Rover Chalet” may be helpful.
Things to say at a hire shop if you’re struggling
I am going to the Bogong Rover Chalet, if you know it, it’s about 11km from Falls Creek on ungroomed trails and I’ll be skiing with a pack. I’m looking for 75mm cable bindings on patterned skis with metal edges.
If this isn’t enough detail for them, try the descriptions below:
- I’m looking for XCD skis with telemark bindings.
- Other people I’m skiing with use skis like: the Madshus Annum (formerly known as the Karhu Guide), the Fischer S-Bound 98 (or less commonly, the Fischer S-Bound 112 or 125), or the Rossignol BC 90 Positrack (or BC 80).
- Other people I’m skiing with use bindings like: G3 Targa or Voile Switchbacks. Some people use more premium options like the 22 Designs Axl or NTN bindings.
- Other people I’m skiing with use boots like: Scarpa T4 or Scott Excursions.
Other ski and binding options
Some peopls use different ski and binding options when visiting the Chalet. If this is your first time and you don’t have much ski experience we suggest sticking with the above suggestions.
These details are more appropriate for experienced skiers or experienced Chalet attendees.
Binding options - telemark/cross country
Note: These details are more appropriate for experienced skiers or experienced Chalet attendees. Stick with the above suggestions if this is your first time skiing.
NTN bindings - these are (generally speaking) comparable (although not compatible) with 75mm bindings (and are often a higher quality option) and are very appropriate for visiting the Chalet. The main drawback is the possible increased cost.
3 pin bindings - these are appropriate for any attendees, however they are less popular than 75mm cable bindings due to their reduced boot support (which makes them less friendly for stopping and turning). If in doubt we suggest 75mm cable bindings in preference to 3 pin bindings - especially for beginners. They are fine, but we suggest 75mm or NTN in preference to 3 pin.
NNN bindings - these may be appropriate for the Chalet, but are generally not recommended. They generally don’t offer as much support - which is not what you want (similar to the criticisms of 3 pin bindings). This lack of support is particularly noticeable for beginners with packs. More experienced skiers who want to progress their skiing may not like them as much because their lower level of support is not good for learning to turn and brake with more confidence. They are fine - but we suggest 75mm or NTN in preference to NNN.
Binding options - alpine touring
Note: These details are more appropriate for skiers with some (downhill) experience or experienced Chalet attendees. Stick with the above suggestions if this is your first time skiing.
If you have some downhill skiing experience, but no cross country experience, then it would be worth considering the binding options in this section - although they can be harder to hire (in particular with patterned skis). Using cross country gear is still appropriate if you only have downhill experience (it’s our suggestion for first timers, so you should be fine).
Dynafit/pin-style bindings - these are appropriate for the Chalet. You must bring leashes if using this type of binding and they don’t include a brake (most don’t). This type of binding is appropriate for experienced AT (alpine touring) skiers. This type of binding may be appropriate for less experienced skiers who have downhill experience - however we are not able to help with these bindings, hence you must be compitent in using the bindings before arriving (e.g. having done a practice weekend).
Touring-centric resort-style AT bindings - these are appropriate for the Chalet. Examples include Salomon Shifts or Marker Kingpins. These are backcountry AT bindings which are focussed on touring/backcountry skiing, but can do double duty skiing at a resort. These use pin toes and then a traditional downhill heel (generally speaking). Again, we generally can’t help with these bindings, although they are simpler than Dynafit/pin-style bindings.
Resort-style bindings with a touring mode - these are appropriate for the Chalet. They’re generally less efficient for the trip in and out, and for other touring - but are workable. Again, we generally can’t help with these bindings, although they are simpler than Dynafit/pin-style bindings. A lot of people who have used this type of binding decide they don’t want to do it again and decide to investigate the more touring-centric resort-style AT bindings (or Dynafit/pin-style bindings). They’re not as much fun for the touring, but can be great fun on the tow.
Skis - patterned vs unpatterned
Patterned skis are strongly advised for the Chalet. They are much much more enjoyable for the trip in/out, and for any touring.
We would strongly discourage any inexperienced tourers from considering using unpatterned skis with skins for the trip in to the Chalet due to the extra effort and frustration they can bring - especially if they ice up, which is not uncommon in Australian conditions. It has been done, but a lot of people who use unpatterned skis with skins decide to source patterned skis for future trips. If you have experience with unpatterned skis and skins and are willing to travel a long distance on them, then they are an option worth considering (including with kicker skins).
Boots - telemark/cross country
Most people visiting the Chalet use plastic boots like the Scarpa T4 or Scott Excursions. Some people use heavier boots, even up to 4-buckle boots like Scarpa T1s. We don’t suggest this as they are very heavy aren’t ideal for touring, but people do do it.
Some people use leather boots based on personal preference, and historically we suggested these to beginners, but we don’t suggest them any more as the world has moved towards plastic boots.
Boots - alpine touring
Note: These details are more appropriate for experienced skiers or experienced Chalet attendees. Stick with the above suggestions if this is your first time skiing.
If you are going to use alpine touring gear to get to the Chalet then ensuring you have appropriate boots is very important. Ensure you have boots with a good walk mode. The people we know who have visited the Chalet in boots without a walk mode have struggled and vowed never to do it again.
Boots like the Tecnica Cochise or Dalbello Lupo are a reasonable option for a boot that is used at a resort but would also be acceptable (for most people) for the trip to the Chalet.
Any touring-focussed AT (alpine touring) boot would work well.
- Sleeping Bag - the Chalet is quite warm but a good quality bag is advisable for emergencies.
- Fitted Sheet - to meet our COVID-Safe plan you must bring a fitted sheet
- Pillow Slip and Inner Sheet - For hygiene reasons
- Spare under wear
- Personal first aid kit - items you are likely to need including band aids, blister tape, ‘Second Skin’ headache tablets, knee brace etc.
- Sweets, Chocolate or Scroggin - Watch the weight
- Light weight water bottle - Approximately I litre.
- Day Pack - Highly recommended
- Toiletries – Watch the weight - bring only what you need for a week
- Towel – a small one will do.
- Sunscreen & lip balm - ‘30+’ and water resistant
- Camera - light weight, optional.
- Small torch - with new batteries
- Mobile phone - reception at the chalet itself is minimal to non-existant, however it can useful while touring.
- Five RATs and at least one mask.
- Note: Sleds are strictly prohibited, gear must be carried in a pack.
If you have any doubts, questions or concerns regarding equipment contact your party leader or the bookings officer on 0407 242 538
- Keep your feet dry - use ‘Snowseal’ on your boots (if leather) and wear gaiters
- Do lots of walking or skiing with a pack prior to the event
- Buy at least one pair of thin thermal socks and one pair of ‘Explorer’ style socks. (Cheap insurance at about $20) Do this before hiring your skis, and wear them when you are trying on your boots. Your boots should fit snugly with a small amount of space at the toes. Pure wool and pure nylon socks are not recommended.
- Keep your pack weight down
- Soak your feet in methylated spirits for about 5 minutes every 2 or 3 nights in the fortnight before your winter party.
- Pretape your feet with ‘Leukoplast’ or ‘Second Skin’ before leaving Mt Beauty Scout Hall on Saturday morning. Guess the likely blister zones eg heels, toes, sides.
Above all if you feel a hot spot or blister developing stop and deal with it. You will not be holding up the party. Seek advice from the party leader. The hot spot will not go away. It will only develop into a painful blister if you ignore it.
Getting to the Chalet
We all meet and stay the night in Mt Beauty the Friday night before our party begins. We then ski into the Chalet on Saturday morning (day may vary for half weeks).
Note: For the 2022 season we be staying in the Mt Beauty Scout Hall on the first night (rather than Tawonga as in the past).
Getting to Mount Beauty
Transport to Mount Beauty – It is each Winter Party member’s responsibility for their own transport to Mount Beauty. Contact your party leader and attend the briefing night to arrange transport and carpooling. Your accommodation is at the Mt Beauty Scout Hall. (Not Tawonga for the 2022 season.) The cost is included in you winter party fee. Please speak to your party leader if you will be there early – you may be asked to open up the hall. If you are late, please be quiet.
Saturday and the trip into the Chalet
Rise at 6.00am, pack up, put on ski boots, sunscreen and ski clothing, have breakfast and clean the hall
Head to Falls Creek Coach Service, Tawonga South by 7.00am at the very latest. Cars may be left in the Falls Creek Coach Service’s car park at the special Rover price of $20. Make sure you tell staff that you are a Rover. The BCMG can take no responsibility for the security of your car.
The winter party Quartermaster will issue you with fresh food. Make sure that you have left room and have plastic bags.
The bus leaves at 7.30am sharp. Listen to the advice of your Party Leader regarding suitable clothing and equipment for the weather conditions during the trip in, The bus service arrives at Falls creek around 8.30am.
Put on appropriate gear and assemble at Windy Corner car park or day shelter. The Winter Party may be separated into smaller groups according to ability, and with the assistance of more experienced people head into the Chalet.
The trip has to be completed regardless of the weather and snow conditions. The trip is usually accomplished in two to three hours. You do need to be able to ski in with a pack on your back. If you are having trouble, need assistance, are concerned about something or just need a break tell the Party Leader or the person who is the nominated leader of your tour group.