The story of a skier’s first time camping in the backcountry.
Story by Team Buller Riders (TBR) athlete Joe Nossal.
I’ve skied at Mt Buller for nine years, and in Australia for 13, but I’ve never experienced anything quite like the wild yet tranquil atmosphere of the Mt Buller Backcountry.
A group of five TBR athletes, three coaches and backcountry guru, Teddy Laycock, were heading into Buller’s backcountry to experience a night in the wilderness. So, naturally, when my coach James Phillips had asked me to come along, I couldn’t refuse.
The day of departure couldn’t have been better. Blue skies, soft snow, and the temperature just on zero. We dropped the gear near our camp spot in the morning, praying the skies would stay clear. After lunch, we grabbed our skis and headed up BB1 to ski the untracked Standard run.
With packs on our backs, we got first tracks down Standard, and skied down the Bull Run cat track towards Federation lift. We reached the bottom of Federation, put our skins on, took a quick photo and we were off.
We skinned for around an hour, taking in the incredibly beautiful scenery of the bushfire burnt snow gums in the afternoon light. I feel truly blessed to have been brought up around such a truly beautiful place, and I was so glad I could see it from a new perspective. We watched the sun go down over wombat chair, took photos, and bathed in the majestic Buller landscape. As night fell, the skies stayed clear, meaning it would get cold.
So, all rugged up, Teddy cooked us dinner as the stars came out. That night, the clear sky brought with it the milky way, and it was perfect for photos, taking long exposures for spectacular results.
Morning came, and with it the wind. We had planned to hike to the top of Little Buller for sunrise and breaky, but the wind would have ruined it, so we stayed in our protected camp and watched the sun come up behind the south face of the
mountain. We packed our packs and skied down to wombat lift, where we would finish our epic experience among the wilderness.
I, along with everyone else who went, left the with one thing to take back: an urge to go again.
I would like to thank the 3 TBR coaches (Alex and Henry Eisner and James Phillips), TBR Program Manager Andrew Pattison, Backcountry expert and Photographer Teddy Laycock, and the Mt Buller Outdoor Operations Team for making this happen.