FAQ

  • COVID-19?
Safety is our number 1 priority.  We take your health and well being as well as that of our guides very seriously.  Therefore in these uncertain times, if you are sick or show any of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 please stay at home & do not partake in a tour and seek the relevant medical assistance. We will be understanding with refunds.
On arrival your temperature will be taken and if you fail the check you will be unable to participate.
We have social distancing and disinfecting plans in place to adhere to the relevant guidelines in place.
Please take personal responsibility and practise good hygiene. 
 
  • Is there a minimum and maximum number of people per group?
Yes, the minimum number is 1 person and the max is 12 for an intro to BC tour.  Tours will be tailored to experience and snow conditions.
 
  • What if minimum numbers are not reach prior to the tour starting?
The minimum number of participants is 3 unless a private guide has been already organised.  The minimum rate for 1 person is $770 if other participants fail to participate you will be given the choice to make up the difference to the 1 person price or receive a full refund.
 
  • When do I have to pay?
Full payment of the course fee is due 7 days prior to the tour commencing.  A deposit of $50 is required to secure your place on the tour, this can be paid after filling out the booking form.
 
  • Do I have to be an advanced skier or rider to participate?
To partake in one of our tours, even the intro to BC tour, you need to be a high intermediate to advanced skier or boarder.  This means you can ski all blue and most black runs on Hotham confidently.  Please remember that you won’t be riding on groomed slopes and variable snow conditions are likely to be encountered.
You need to be comfortable and confident skiing in white out, ice, crust, moguls and of course powder snow.
 
  • Do I need to complete the Intro to Backcountry tour before participating in other Backcountry tours?
Yes, we strongly recommend you complete the intro course first before taking on anything more serious.  This will enable you to build the skills and knowledge necessary to progress your skills.  If in doubt, please contact us.
 
  • How fit do I have to be?
You need to be fairly fit to undertake one of our tours.  We generally cover between 5-15km per day. This will encompass vertical ascent and decent over uneven terrain.  You will also be carrying a rucksack with all your equipment.
 
  • Is lunch provided?
No, you will need to bring your own packed lunch and power snacks.
 
  • Who are the guides?
Our guides are hand selected Backcountry and outdoor guides with years of guiding and touring experience. They also have current first aid certificates. Their aim is to get you safely and enjoyably in and out of the BC. 
 
  • Can you customise my tour needs?
Yes we offer custom designed private tours.  Please contact us to let us know your individual needs.
 
  • Time Management & Joining a group.
Being a strong skier or snowboarder doesn’t exactly equate to being fast in the back country skinning and kick turning. You need to be realistic and honest with yourself and us about your skills. If you are significantly effecting the speed and objectives of the group, the guide will turn you around and no refund will be available.
Please read carefully our skills required for each tour so as not to be disappointed.
 
  • Where can I hire equipment?
You can hire equipment through us, or there are several other stores in and around the area that hire out BC equipment.
All our tour members get a discount on regular BC gear hire prices.
 
  • How do I find a tour that suits?
You should read our tour descriptions about what skills are necessary to undertake a tour.  If in doubt, we always recommend erring on the side of caution and taking the lower level tour. 
 
  • How do I book a tour?
You can get onto our book now page and sign up to a course.  Alternatively you can email us and book at contact@vicalpsbackcountry.com.au
 
  • How do I choose my gear?
There are lots of gear review sites to read about and compare equipment.  We suggest before dropping serious $ on new gear, try and hire or trial it as that which sounds good on a review, isn’t always so for your individual skills and circumstances.
 
  • What do I need to bring?
We recommend you only bring that which is on the essential gear list.  Carrying too much gear can cause unnecessary fatigue and stress.  Most touring and mountaineering equipment is lightweight to save energy, we recommend the same policy for anything taken in the BC.
 
  • Insurance?
We strongly recommend all participants have Victorian Ambulance Insurance. This can be taken out here, or if you have private health insurance it is generally covered.  However we strongly suggest you check with your individual provider.
 
  • Do I need vehicle chains?
Yes, you need diamond pattern tyre chains to legally drive up to Mt Hotham.  These can be purchased or hired in Melbourne or en route in Myrtelford, Bright, Harrietville or Omeo.
 
  • Alpine Diesel? 
If your car is a diesel, we recommend to fill up in Bright at the Caltex with clearly marked alpine diesel.  We also recommend adding Lucas Oil, cold weather fuel additive at the prescribed rate to ensure your vehicle starts. If you don’t have RACV road side assist, we also recommend you get that as well. 
 
  • How do I get to Hotham?
Simply type in Hotham Heights into your google maps app and you’re off.  There are two options to drive up depending on weather and road conditions.  The first is through Bright, the second is through Omeo.
 
  • Where can I stay on Hotham?
There are accomodation options available on Hotham to suit every taste and budget.  See here 
 
  • How do I get a car pass?
Alpine easy access, allows you to book online car passes for access and parking on Hotham.  Click here
 
  • Where do I park my car?
Once on Hotham you can drop your gear off at your Accom, then follow the signs to one of the designated and clearly signed overnight car parks.  We recommend you reverse into the car park, so if your battery goes flat it is easier to access.
 
  • Can I catch a bus?
Yes, there are several companies that provide bus services from Melbourne, Wangaratta and other larger hubs up to Hotham.  
There are also several private operators who offer customised door to door pickup & drop off services.
You can also drive to Wangaratta, Bright or Harrietville and just catch the bus up from there. We recommend these guys &/or these guys 
 
  • What can my family do while I am in the Backcountry?
If your family or friends accompany you onto Hotham for the duration of your stay there are multiple things to do for people of all ages.  Some of these include
  1. Alpine Nature experience
  2. Snow Stuff Park
  3. Dinner Plain nature walks and cross country skiing
  4. Sled Dog Tours
 
  • Do I need a lift ticket?
Unless stated in the sign up, you will not require a lift pass for the day of your tour.