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Mt Mawson versus Dobson Rd

By   /  14/08/2017  /  2 Comments

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After a number of near starts, there was enough snow for the 2017 ski season to get underway at Mt Mawson on Sunday 13th August. STSA volunteers led by Rudy Kloser from the Mt Mawson Ski Club headed up to the mountain on Saturday to tackle the big job of digging out the tow, and resetting the pulleys – we understand Rudy even raked in support from his family members. About 30-40 cm of fresh snow fell on Saturday, and on Sunday a beautiful sunny Tasmanian winter morning dawned – just what everyone had been waiting for.

 

The tow was ready to run, but where were the customers?

Mt Mawson Ski Tow ready for operation – but no customers!

 

Mt Mawson Ski Club Tow Manager Rudy Kloser with Karen Davis

It turns out they were queueing at the Mt Field Visitor Centre boom gate, waiting for the snow plough to complete the job of clearing the road. The Department of State Growth (DIER) is responsible for clearing the road, and they have contracted the task to Stornaway. STSA has previously raised concerns that the tractor used by the contractor is too slow and small for the task, and this was confirmed again on Sunday. It took the tractor almost 5 hours to clear the road and carpark, even though this was not a particularly big snowfall.

Unfortunately once the road was clear there was a further delay, whilst the contractor bought in an engineer in to check a washout on the road (which was well below the snow-line).

The queue of visitors and locals waiting to get up the Lake Dobson Rd was over 100 cars long, and stretched from the boom gate right out of the National Park. Many people queued for other 5 hours to get through, and others gave up after 3 or 4 hours of waiting. Many families and skiers were disappointed that on the best day of the season so far they spent their time sitting in a traffic jam.

Traffic queued out of Mt Field National Park waiting for the Lake Dobson Rd to be opened, Sunday 13 August 2017

Washout 4 km up the Dobson Rd

Finally the road was opened just before 1:00 pm, and those that had stuck it out headed up the Dobson Rd to enjoy the snow. It was a spectacular drive, with Mt Field National park looking superb in its winter cloak of snow.

Wombat Moor 13 August 2017

Finally a few hardy souls arrived at the Mt Mawson Ski Field to enjoy a truncated afternoon of skiing and boarding – but at least we are now underway with season 2017! Let’s hope that the issues with the snowplough (tractor) and road damage can be resolved so that visitors are able to make the most of Southern Tasmania’s only operating ski field this winter.

Patience rewarded – an afternoon of skiing at Mt Mawson on 2017 Opening Day

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  • Published: 3 months ago on 14/08/2017
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  • Last Modified: August 14, 2017 @ 7:55 pm
  • Filed Under: MOUNTAIN NEWS

About the author

Peter Davis

President, Southern Tasmanian Ski Association

Peter is currently President of the STSA, and a member of the Oldina Ski Club. He has been coming to Mt Field for many years, and is an intermediate skier who can get down most black runs, but without much style.

2 Comments

  1. Jack Buzelin says:

    As a casual volunteer at the Mt Mawson ski field on Sunday 13th August, I felt so sorry for all those Skiers/Snowboarders and visitors waiting in their cars for the snowplough (tractor) to clear the road.
    You have to take your hat off to all those who, with ‘tempered’ patience stuck out the many hours just waiting for, at most, a 2hours window of downhill experience!
    As one of the Major and popular Parks in Tasmania (Summer & Winter), it is beyond belief that for such a Nat Park (having celebrated this year it’s Centenary year) that we, the Public users of this magnificent area, are subjected to such archaic methodologies of winter snow clearing on a dirt road that has so many blind and dangerous one lane only bends.
    The Tasmanian Park Service do a tremendous job with the limitations of State funding at their disposal – it is high time for the State Government to do some clearing of their own, shake up the Treasury coffers, and give serious credence to providing a widened and sealed roadway to an expanded car park at Lake Dobson.
    Additionally, may I also, on behalf of the Skiers and Snowboarders, throw in a further suggestion of a Cable car facility to the Skiing area (which incidentally is presently a 25mins walk from the Dobson carpark.
    As a Premier Tourist destination, Mt Field is long overdue for a ‘make-over’ to bring it in line with the advances taking place or planned for Cradle Mountain and Freycinet.
    Mt Field (this majectic southern Park) at the door of our Capital city, has ‘priority’ written all over it. Let us not be so dispassionate or irresolute, that in the years to come, we didn’t take the opportunity to instigate an advance in Park facilities that would have benefited our reputation as a Premier Tourist destination Nationally, and so importantly Internationally – because the revenue that this would generate, is a bonus for us all.

  2. Owen Summers says:

    There was a truck with a plough front as well but even if there was only one painfully slow tractor that still doesn’t explain why it took so long. There wasn’t that much snow and it was only on the upper parts of the road.
    Stornoway wasted our perfect morning of snow because they were taking advantage of the Sunday penalty rates. PWS told me they couldn’t contact them because they were out of range (perfect opportunity for them to slack off and get more hours pay).
    If they don’t get a kick in the arse for this the same will happen on the next big snow fall.

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