Last weekend was a big one at the Mount Mawson Ski Field in Southern Tasmania. There was a good crowd of skiers and boarders keen to try out Tasmania’s retro rope tows – including interstate visitors who had flown in from Melbourne and Sydney especially for the Mawson experience. There were several school groups out for winter bushwalking trips, and a number of families with young children who had walked up to experience the snow, and try out tobogganing or tubing.
The weekend started out well with the STSA volunteers from the Oldina Ski Club digging out the snow drifts at the top of the Mawson tow to unbury the rope and get the lifts operating in time for the arrival of visitors. It was sunny with good snow coverage.
Unfortunately as is often the case in the Tasmanian mountains, black clouds quickly formed, and soon conditions had deteriorated to rain and strong winds. Children were soon dripping wet, and everyone was looking for shelter. This is when the inadequacies of the current temporary shelters provided by the Parks service became very problematic. There were school groups of young people unable to get into the shelter as it was too crowded, the vestibules of the shelters were full, and inside the shipping container provided for visitors it was standing room only.
This is a very unsatisfactory, and potentially dangerous situation where the only shelter provided for visitors to the Mount Mawson Ski Field (the entrance to the alpine areas of the Mt Field National Park) is an unheated shipping container. Let us hope that the line item in the 2016 Tasmanian Government Budget Papers for “Mt Mawson Day Shelter” turns into a real project this summer, so that families and tourists alike can take shelter from the Tasmanian weather next winter season.