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Source: State of Victoria Police

Emergency services, including Victoria Police, are urging anyone planning to ski, snowboard or hike in the Alpine back country to take care and remain alert at all times this winter.

With snow season starting next week, Wangaratta Inspector Luke Kirton asks people to be prepared when heading to the snow, including packing relevant safety equipment, monitoring weather conditions, and becoming familiar with their surroundings.

“We know hundreds of Victorians will be itching to get out of the house and hit the slopes this snow season – we will be there to make sure everyone enjoys themselves and gets home safely.

“We would also like to remind those visiting the Alpine back country to not only be well prepared and take additional precautions, but to be mindful of the impact the Chief Health Officer’s directives will have on your trip.

In relation to the Chief Health Officer’s directives, snow-goers are reminded to:

Observe physical distancing of 1.5 metres at all times

Not gather in groups of more than 20 people

Check that the park is open before travelling

Bring your own hand sanitiser

If a car park is full, no more people can visit that site. Do not join vehicle queues or park illegally.

Be self-sufficient with extra warm clothing, spare dry clothing, food, water and personal hygiene products.

This is particularly important when visiting refuge huts. These huts are relatively confined spaces where the virus may persist in the air and on surfaces.

Visitors to the Alpine National Park, especially those visiting the higher elevation areas of Mount Bogong and Mount Feathertop, are likely to encounter a range of hazards in winter including unstable and deep snow, steep icy slopes, cornice formation, avalanches and extreme weather.

“Cold, wet and windy conditions are a dangerous combination in alpine areas and dramatic weather changes are common. So, visitors must always check the current and forecast weather, snowpack and be aware of hazards,” says Inspector Kirton.

Backcountry visitors are being warned not to travel alone and to notify someone where they are travelling and when they will make next contact.

“We also recommend that visitors carry an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) as an additional safety precaution.

If you are driving through the area, please stay on main roads and observe any road closures. It’s important for people to stay informed and attuned to the conditions.”

Victoria Police recommend that if you’re travelling to the high country or snowfields to check the www.vicroads.vic.gov.au website for road closures or call 13 11 70.

For further information about staying safe in the snow, visit www.snowsafe.org.au

and for current and forecast weather for the alpine region, visit www.bom.gov.au/australia/alpine

Rochelle Jackson

Media Advisor

Log #26856

MIL OSI News