Early Season Update

2020 Snow Season Operations – Falls Creek

Read all the detailsClick [HERE]

Clubhouse Access

All members should be aware that the clubhouse is not accessible during the coronavirus lockdown situation. If and when the resort is open and we are given the go-ahead that is when the facility may be able to be used again. Note — The clubhouse is closed for all access until advised otherwise. The Door Code has been changed and at this stage the committee only has access.

Membership – 2020/21

We feel it’s important that our financial members were not left to make the choice of whether to renew their membership. At the BNSC AGM (Tuesday 18th May) a motion was put (and supported) to waive all membership fees for 2020. As a result, if you and members of your family were financial members of Birkebeiner in 2019, you are now automatically members of Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club in 2020. You do not need to take any further action.

Voluntary ContributionWhile we do not expect any payment, if you would like to make a voluntary contribution, you can do so by the following link to our PayPal Account. Please follow the link you received in your earlier email on 29th May 2020. We thank you for the support.

Kangaroo Hoppet Press Release — 1st June

Hoppet 2020 – Do It Your WayClick [HERE] to read all about it. Keep an eye on the Hoppet Website for further developments <www.hoppet.com.au>.

Overseas Athlete Grants

Birkebeiner has always supported athletes that make National Cross Country Ski Teams. For season 2019/20 a number of senior and junior members were provided with a club grant to assist them with their trip costs. A requirement for receiving a grant is that the athlete has to submit a report to club members on their experience.

Snow Australia Medal – it’s new

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Good News!

2020 Ski Season to Open on Monday 22nd June

It has been announced that the 2020 ski season will open on Monday 22nd June. What this means as far as access and social distancing is concerned we will need to wait for further information from the Government and Resort.

AGM Committee Elections

The following make up the 2020/21 committee.


  • President — Ewen Silvester (3rd term) 
  • Vice President — Michelle Forrer 
  • Treasurer — Jeanette McLaren 
  • Secretary — Ronice Goebel 

General Committee Members

  • Nick Wright — membership secretary & snowmobile steward
  • Ann Bellingham — race secretary
  • Warren Sanders — search & rescue co-ordinator
  • Paul L’Huillier — website administrator
  • Peter Smith — clubhouse steward
  • Alan Marsland — Hoppet representative
  • Mal Oldis — all-rounder!
  • Paul Gray — junior committee

At the first meeting of the new committee on Tuesday 16th June, other portfolios, convenors and subcommittees will be formed. Other members are welcome to join subcommittees – we encourage members’ involvement

2020/21 Membership

Dear Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club Members,

With the uncertainty surrounding how the winter ski season at Falls Creek will operate this year, which has a direct impact on the use of our club facilities and XC events, the committee has thought of how we can support our members during this period of Covid-19.

We feel it’s important that our financial members were not left to make the choice whether to renew their membership. At the BNSC AGM (Tuesday 18th May) a motion was put (and supported) to waive all membership fees for 2020. As a result, if you and members of your family were financial members of Birkebeiner in 2019, you are now automatically members of Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club in 2020. You do not need to take any further action.

As many of you will be aware, BNSC supports the development of our sport through junior development programs and the awarding of travel grants to Australian National Team members (Junior and Senior).  In light of this, a second motion was put (and supported) at the AGM to allow our 2020 BNSC members to make a financial contribution to the club that will be directed exclusively to club development programs (junior training and athlete grants). While we do not expect all of our members to be in a position to make this contribution, if you would like to make a voluntary payment to Birkebeiner, that facility will be made available. How are we doing this?

If anyone wishes to join Birkebeiner in 2020 for the first time, they will be able to request to become a new member, using the usual application and to pay the same fees set in 2019. NoteOnline membership payments will be set up soon.

Thank you for your ongoing support of being a member of Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club. 


Nicholas Wright
Membership Secretary

<membership @birkebeiner.org.au >

Overseas Athlete Grants

Birkebeiner has always supported athletes that make National Cross Country Ski Teams. For season 2019/20 a number of senior and junior members were provided with a club grant to assist them with their trip costs. A requirement for receiving a grant is that the athlete has to submit a report to club members on their experience.

Kangaroo Hoppet Press Release!

Well, we have some bad news and then we have some good news.

The bad news is, we will not be staging the 30th Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek in 2020. The Organising Committee has delayed this decision as long as possible, but even with the potential easing of the coronavirus restrictions, we are not in a confident enough place to proceed with the essential planning and commitment of funds that are required in May. The OC genuinely apologises to all of our participants and supporters. With the outstanding weather that we have enjoyed for the last three years, perhaps this year will be a howling blizzard (just to get it out of the cycle) and we will be back again with a perfect day in 2021.

However, with the bad news comes an opportunity…

2020 will be the year of the Stay at Home Hoppet, or probably more accurately, a DIY version – Hoppet Your Way. On June 1 we will be releasing details of a participant based event that Hoppeteers can take part in as a substitute for the 2020 Hoppet. As all XC skiers can attest, we’re a pretty fit and well-rounded group of people and participate in a range of different sports and activities. To recognise this, we will be offering a remote Hoppet event where you can ride, run, paddle, backstroke, walk, rollerski and yes, even ski the 2020 event wherever you are.

An exclusive collection of limited edition memorabilia will be available for those wanting a memento of the Covid-19 Winter of 2020.

More information will come soon, but in the meantime, lace-up, push-off, strap in or dive into whatever your favourite activity is in preparation for the Stay at Home Hoppet 2020. Keep checking the Hoppet website <https://www.hoppet.com.au>.

Stay healthy and happy!

Kind regards

Hoppet Organising Committee (22/5/2020)

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Autumn News

2019 Merino Muster (NZ) — Video

This video is 14 minutes long BUT the really good bit starts at 10 minutes so scroll the bar at the bottom of the video to access if you don’t wish to view all of it. Click [HERE] to view the video. It is an excellent presentation. Note — sound may be muted so look at the bottom right of the window to unmute.

Waiorau Nordic Sports Club — New Zealand

More NZ cross country skiing news. Click [HERE] to view.

Committee Meeting

The first committee meeting for 2020 is scheduled for Tuesday 21st April and for the first time will be an online ‘Virtual Roundtable Meeting. Many organisations are arranging this type of meeting because of the Coronavirus restrictions. Note — The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is on Tuesday 19th May 2020 at 7.30 pm.

Keeping it in the ‘Evans’ Family

From left: Carla, Zana & Anthony

Zana Evans (15 yrs) represented Australia at the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Click [HERE] to read the full story.

Snowmobile Maintenance

The club has owned the Bearcat snowmobile since 2011. To purchase it funds were contributed by the club, Hoppet and an Alpine Shire grant. It cost $15,000.00. Over this time Ian Franzke and Nick Wright have serviced and maintained it. Thank you both for that as the club could not function on-snow without it. At the end of last season, the club decided to give the Bearcat a complete service by the ‘experts’ and this was arranged by Nick for a very good price. Thanks, Nick. Hopefully, it will get some use this winter.

Snowmobile (purchased 2011) & Trailer (built-in 1981)

Australian Mountains Website

The Australian Mountains website is comprehensive and includes the history of huts & buildings (incl ski lodges), historical articles – 1. Timber Tramlines, 2. The Re-Discovery of Moroka Gorge, 3. Snowy Mountains Main Range Development, Walking Notes and Main Articles. The site is a work in progress and maintained by David Sisson. Well worth a look. Click [HERE] to view.

Details are also on the club’s website History Page at
<https://www.birkebeiner.org.au/ski-history/>. This page has a comprehensive history of Cross Country Skiing in Australia and skiing in general. Check it out!

Snow Active Fitness Program

Developed by Snow Australia, SnowActive has been designed to deliver a fun and interactive fitness program aimed at people of all ages and abilities.

Hosted by 2 x Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim, SnowActive is a 30-minute strength and fitness workout you can do from home. With new sessions each week, this free and accessible training program is great for the whole family to remain active and ready for the snow.

New programs will be available each Tuesday at 8:00 am and are designed for 3–5 sessions per week of the same workout to help you progress through the complete 8 weeks SnowActive Program. Click [HERE] to access the video presentations.

SnowActive is perfect to help keep you active while you get through self-isolation restrictions at home.

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Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson (SWE) take 2nd at the 2020 Nattvasan in Sweden

2020 Nattvasan 90 km (F) Race (SWE)        
Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson (SWE) — 2nd
The Nattvasan 90 km is an exercise race where no winner is crowned.

While many of our readers know Phil who grew up in Mount Beauty, not so many Australians outside the local Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club know Victor Gustafsson (Sweden), who spent the 2013 winter here as the club’s coach in residence … and … ‘what is Nattvasan 90?’ is a question most people will ask.

The biggest cross country ski event in the world is the 90 km Vasaloppet held in Sweden, with over 15,000 skiers in the main event and more than 40,000 skiers taking part in other events held in the week leading up to the main race.  

One of these is the Nattvasan (Night Vasa). It is held on the same 90 km course as the main race, with the slight difference that skiers start in the dark at 8 pm wearing headlamps and must take part as teams of two. In a close finish, Phil and Victor finished just before midnight and were given the time of 3:53:22, the same time as the winners. While Phil and Victor finished on Friday, most of the 524 teams finished the next day, with team Fridaforsarna ‘signing the finish list’ just before 7:30 am the next morning with the time of 11:29:17. Starting an hour and a half after sunset … and finishing an hour after sunrise! 

Phil reported, “that about halfway into the event my headlamp ran flat so I did just over 40 km relying only on the light from Victor’s headlamp”.

As if one 90 km ski race is not enough, Phil backed up Friday night’s 90 km ‘night’ race with another 90 km in Sunday’s main race, the Vasaloppet. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his time was a bit slower than on Friday night, a still very respectable 5:25:09, just under an hour behind the winner Petter Eliassen of Norway. 

Phil has been ‘ski busy’ while in Europe, Scandinavia and other places this winter.

  • Vassaloppet China 5o km — 21st 
  • Dolomitenlauf (AUT) 42 km (skate) Saturday — 15th.
  • Dolomitenlauf (AUT) 42 km (classic) Sunday — 16th.

From left: Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson

Junior World Championships now on until 7th March

Follow the skiers at the Championships. Click [HERE]

Snow Australia XC Athlete Pathways

The FTEM framework (see below) consists of 3 macro stages of the skill and performance development of sporting participants which are further differentiated into 10 micro stages. These stages and micro stages include — Foundations (F1, F2 and F3); Talent (T1, T2, T3 and T4); Elite (E1 and E2); and Mastery (M).
Click [HERE] to view the excellent Brochure that has been produced and which explains the framework brilliantly. Finn Marsland (National XC Program Director) had much input into the Brochure.

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Aussie wins American Birkebeiner Worldloppet Race

Australian National Team member Jessica Yeaton smashed the previous women’s record by nearly three minutes to win the 2020 American Birkebeiner 50km race, finishing 41 seconds ahead of five times winter Olympian Riitta-Liisa Roponen from Finland and Erika Flowers from Montana.

The American Birkebeiner is the largest ski marathon in North America and part of the Worldloppet series of international ski races, which also includes our own Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek. 

Originally from Perth and now studying Physical Therapy full time at the University of Albuquerque in New Mexico, Jessica said she headed into the race with no expectations and was ecstatic with the final result. “I wasn’t sure how I’d go having not raced in a while, but I’d been training really well – although I had absolutely not planned on winning,” Yeaton said. “It was an awesome race – I’d heard from many people about how amazing a scene it is and I’ve always wanted to go,” she said.

“It lived up to every story I’d heard – it was an amazing experience.”

Yeaton said she could not have imagined a more perfect day, with bluebird conditions topped off with the gold medal. “The skiing was perfect and the conditions were literally incredible,” Yeaton said, “ … just being in that environment where everyone is psyched on cross country skiing was an amazing experience, you don’t get that everywhere.”

Jessica returned immediately after the event to Albuquerque and a week of exams at the University of New Mexico where she is studying Physical Therapy.

Jess’s win makes her only the second Australian to win an overseas Worldloppet race ….. the first Aussie win was at the Sapporo Ski Marathon in 2010 when local Mount Beauty skier Belinda Phillips won the women’s title by over 4 minutes.

For the record, and hopefully, there will not be too many corrections to this list coming in after it is published, here is a list of all the Australians who have had top-five results at northern hemisphere Worldloppet events.

  • 1980 Vassaloppet (SWE) — Colleen Bolton (NSW) 2nd
  • 1982  Birkebeiner-rennet (NOR) — Colleen Bolton (NSW) 2nd
  • 1992  American Birkebeiner (USA) — Mark Gray (Vic) 5th
  • 2000  Keskinada (CAN) — Ben Derrick (Vic) 2nd
  • 2004 Konig Ludwig Lauf (AUT) — Ben Derrick (Vic) 2nd
  • 2010  Sapporo Ski Marathon (JAP) — Belinda Phillips (Vic) 1st
  • 2020  American Birkebeiner (USA) —  Jessica Yeaton (lives in the USA) 1st

Jessica Yeaton — 2020 American Birkebeiner 50 km winner

Well done Jessica! Love that Aussie Race Suit.

From left: Riitta-Liisa Roponen Finland, Jessica Yeaton Australia, Erika Flowers Montana USA

Thanks, American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation for the use of the photos.

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Club Members at Junior World Championships

Congratulations to club members Nic Blackwell (U23), Ella Jackson (U23), Adam Barnett and Lily Murnane for their selection in the 2020 FIS Nordic Junior and U23 World Ski Championships set to take place in Oberwiesenthal, Germany from 29 February to 6 March.

Others to be selected are Steve de Campo (Vic) U23, Fedele de Campo (Vic), Phoebe Gridland (NSW), Rosie Fordham (NSW), Bentley Walker-Broose (NSW) & Declan Burke (NSW)

Congratulations to the two coaches (both Birkebeiner members) Valerio Leccardi & Tom McMahon. All the best at the championships.

Follow the skiers at the Championships. Click [HERE]

From left top: Bently, Nic, Phoebe, Rosie, Steve. From left bottom: Declan, Adam, Ella, Lily & Fedele.

Coaches from left: Valerio Leccardi & Tom McMahon

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Saturday’s Working Bee cancelled

Based on current conditions (bushfires in the area) and also forecast weather conditions for the upcoming weekend the working bee scheduled for this Saturday 30th November will be postponed to a later date — Geoff Sorenson (Falls Creek Resort Management), Blair Hume & Kevin Cosgriff (Parks Victoria).

The photo was taken late last week illustrating the bushfires that are currently burning on the Eskdale Spur north of Mount Beauty and east of Mongans Bridge. As this is written fires are not threating any property. There are also fires east of Mt Bogong, near Mittagundi Outdoor Camp and Shannovale Station in the Omeo Valley. All fires were started by lightning strikes. (photo credit — thanks to local Tawonga photography Diane Griffith for the use of this great photo)

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BBQ Reminder, Community Sport Awards & Snow Australia

End of season BBQ

  • When:    Saturday 16th November 2019
  • Where:   In the picnic area by the lake in Mount Beauty
  • Time:     From 5:00 pm

What to bring

We will provide the meat (and veggie burgers for those who prefer them), as well as bread and sauce.

You’ll need to bring your own chair, cutlery, plates, drinks, plus, for families, a salad and a sweet to share (singles and couples – please bring a salad OR a sweet to share).

RSVP to Elaine Thomas (social secretary) by Thursday 14th November

Email: <elainemt66@yahoo.com.au> or Mobile: 0429 380 408 (text)

As a courtesy, please let me know you will be coming and if you need vegetarian food (or else BYO meat!).  If you don’t reply, we’ll assume you are not coming so we don’t over order.  It also makes it easier to contact you if the weather necessitates a change of venue.

If you decide to come at the last minute, please bring your own meat!

Thank you,

Elaine (social secretary)

2019 Ski & Snowboard Australia Community Sport Awards

The winners of the Community Sports Awards were announced at the Awards Ceremony – held at QT Canberra on Thursday, November 7. Click [HERE] to view the Award Winners especially the cross country ones.

SSA announces name change to Snow Australia

Logo Components Explained. Click [HERE].

Falls Creek Earlybird Entry Passes

It’s never too early to get your season sorted. After an amazing 2019 snow season get ready to load up for 2020 with the BEST deal for Resort Entry on offer for next snow season!

Vehicle access for the entire 2020 snow season for $375 ($325 for over 65’s)

A Resort Entry Season Pass gives access for your vehicle and anybody inside to Falls Creek and all of the services provided once you’re here. At the cut-rate price of $375, this works out to be great value if you plan to visit for 7 days or more in season 2020.

Only one pass is needed per vehicle and you can bring anybody you like along for the ride. Take the easy option with express access past the ticket box meaning more time on snow and less time sorting out your access.$375 – BUY NOW WITH A $99 DEPOSIT 

You don’t have to pay for everything up front, you can access this great deal for just $99 up front and the remainder will be charged to your credit card on the 18th of March, 2020. This is the CHEAPEST deal that will be offered for Resort Entry Vehicle access in season 2020 so don’t miss out.

This offer is available until 5:00 pm January 15 at the Early Bird price of $375 ($325 for over 65’s).

Looking Back …

Nordic Bowl – 1961

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Working Bee – Falls Creek Sat 30th Nov ’19

In consultation with Falls Creek Resort Management (FCRM) & Parks Victoria (PV), we have arrived at a date for our first 2019/20 summer working bee: Saturday 30th November 2019.

This will be a one-day affair unless there are enthusiastic participants who wish to push through on the Sunday with any unfinished tasks or even new ones. Among the jobs slated to do are:

  • Realign snow pole line in ‘The Park’. (Continued improvement for grooming operations in marginal snow levels.) Geoff from FCRM will have a bobcat on-site to make light work of the digging.
  • Remove a small number of temporary snow fences in the Alpine NP. (Many fences to remain in strategic location icons)
  • Construct shelving in Horse Yard Hut (Hoppet Hut) to accommodate orange Hoppet barrier bunting. Keen amateur carpenters amongst the membership are encouraged to get involved.
  • Make alterations to orange conduits to improve ease of instalment on XC ski trail alignments.
  • Make any repairs to the Clubhouse that Pete Smith requires. Repairs/ alterations to the Race Hut as stated by the race committee or Brian Keeble.
  • A small amount of targeted vegetation management on problem areas if there are qualified chainsaw operators &/or fit brush cutters.

Please feel free to add any items that you, or other members, feel should be included on the ‘to do’ list. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and Geoff, please also add extras as you see fit.

FCRM & PV will provide all tools and personal protective equipment necessary. Volunteers must provide their own UV protection, adequate clothing, gloves, footwear, snacks and hydration.

Meeting Time & Place — Clubhouse at 9:30 am.

This ‘Green Season’, the Birke General Committee has given the approval to add a subsidised dinner on a Saturday night at a yet to be determined Mount Beauty eatery. A BBQ lunch will, of course, be provided free of charge as usual.

Members can communicate directly with me on my contacts listed below with further enquires and to confirm their commitment. Please also remind everyone of the great social aspect in an environment that many only see on skis with access to areas on ‘Management Vehicles Only’ summer tracks.

RSVP to Blair by Wednesday 27th November 2019Mob: 0427 817 262 or Email <blair.hume@parks.vic.gov.au>

Blair Hume (co-ordinator)

End of Season BBQ 

Sat 16th Nov. RSVP by Thur 14th Nov to Elaine Thomas  Email <elainemt66@yahoo.com.au> or Mobile: 0429 380 408 (text). Click[HERE]for details Posted 2nd October.

2019 Ski & Snowboard Australia Community Sport Awards

The winners of the Community Sports Awards will be announced at the Awards Ceremony – to be held at QT Canberra on Thursday, November 7. Click [HERE] to view the nominations especially the cross country ones.

Blackwell Skis into World Championship Team

Young Mount Beauty Cross Country Skier Nick Blackwell is heading to Europe in early December to pursue his cross country racing ambitions. Click [HERE] to read Nick’s profile and trip itinerary.

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Phil Bellingham – 1st Birkie to complete ‘The Crossing’

In late 2018 our own Phil Bellingham and his national team member mate Mark Pollock (Wangaratta SC) completed the Mt Bogong to Hotham Winter Crossing in a time of 8 hrs 30 min. Congratulations!

This ‘Crossing’ has been completed by seven others since the tragic death of Charlie Derrick in 1964. They are listed in Phil’s report. Click [HERE] to view. Also, included at this location are details about Charlie Derrick’s attempt and the 1985 crossing in which the record was set by Audun Enderstad – a USA Olympian who completed the crossing in 5 hrs 53 min.

End of Season BBQ – Sat 16th Nov. RSVP by Thur 14th Nov to Elaine Thomas  Email <elainemt66@yahoo.com.au> or Mobile: 0429 380 408 (text). Click [HERE] for details.

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