You’ve probably heard about the backcountry. Heard whispers of unclaimed lines, caught glimpses over the resort fence, watched dreamy docos about the Australian Alps.

We’re stoked to be running a Kosciuszko Backcountry Weekend with Arc’teryx, and we’re ready to convince you to ride the off-piste.

Bit wedded to your après? It’s a ski holiday and you’re gonna bloody well treat it like one? It’s true – skiing out of bounds, without lifts, is hard work. Grizzled backcountry bandits have ‘earn your turns’ carved into their forearms. Good for them.

How about if I told you there were some other reasons to explore the backcountry? I’ve got six good ones and none of them involve the word ‘exercise’.

Beat The Crowds (And The Queues!)

I reckon I’d be lampooned if I didn’t chuck this reason right up front. Getting away from the hustle ‘n’ bustle of the ski resorts is a huge reason for hitting the backcountry. There’s no pre-coffee battle with traffic, no ski-tube-crush, and most importantly, no hanging around queueing for lifts.

The downhills are yours alone. Removing the fear of decking an out-of-control grommet while hoeing into your edges is incomparable. Get ready to focus exclusively on your line, your turns, your mates.

Hot Choccy Tastes Better Outside

We’ve all done it. A cold morning on the slopes has you fanging for a big mug of hot chocolate. You ditch your gear and head inside. But the queues are huge, it’s a bit too warm, that funky smell that only the inside of ski resorts can muster burns the nostrils and all too quickly, you barely feel like drinking your diabetes-in-a-mug.

tim Clark, What's So Special About The Australian Backcountry? // Pro Skier Coen Bennie-Faull, mount kosciuszko, acr'teryx, escape, nsw

Photo by Tim Clark

In the backcountry you’ll be making your hot choccy (or coffee) on a stove in the snow. Then you’ll drink it, with both hands cupped ‘round for warmth, while looking out at a pristine mountain view.* Oh, and it doesn’t cost 8 bucks a pop and you get as many marshmallows as you can stuff in your backpack. Just try telling me the resort option tastes better.

* Always make your hot choccy at the top of the climb, them’s the rules.

Fresh Tracks Are Guaranteed

How long do fresh first tracks last on groomed runs? Ten minutes? It’s definitely not longer than a single run – meaning an entire day ahead of secondhand snow. Bleh.

Yet, only metres away, fresh tracks are aplenty. And they’ll sit there all morning, unless your mate rides them first!

Keen to try the backcountry for yourself? Check out our Kosciuszko Backcountry Weekend with Arc’teryx

tim Clark, What's So Special About The Australian Backcountry? // Pro Skier Coen Bennie-Faull, mount kosciuszko, acr'teryx, escape, nsw

Photo by Tim Clark

Open All Hours

We’ve all done it. Slept in at the slopes, finally got ourselves on the lifts and then hit our groove as the lifties shout ‘last run!’. 

Well, what if you never had to worry about opening hours? I’ve skied out to a hut at 10.00pm under the light of the stars, ready to go shred before lifts would even be open the following morning.

There’s only one way to ride the snow at sunrise and sunset, and that’s by heading out from the resort boundaries into the lawless backcountry.

Save A Motza On Lift Tickets

No lifts means no lift passes, which means literally hundreds of dollars in savings. Cheering! What will you spend it on? May I suggest ski gear? #feedthebeast

You’re Better Than Everyone Else

Let’s not mince our words here: riding snow out of bounds makes you a better person. Resort skiers will take a knee out of respect for your holy vision and dedication to pure, natural lines.

Not really. Like, not at all. But you will feel like you’re better than everyone else and in a way, you kind of are. As long as you don’t go letting them know.

Wait, Australia Has Backcountry Skiing? Is It Any Good? Photo by Ain Raadick or Ben Savage, Arc'teryx event, snow, skiers, group, instruction

Photo by Ain Raadik

Oh and earning your turns is pretty rewarding. Skinning uphill is an intimate way to connect with the route you’re about to ride. And it’s good exercise too (yeah, I lied). 

Seriously though, have you seen the six packs on the Norweigan backcountry champs? What? You’re not spending your summer watching vids of ripped dudes skiing uphill? Alright, your loss!


We’re stoked to be running a Kosciuszko Backcountry Weekend with Arc’teryx. Places are limited for this unique experience so jump on it!


Feature photo by Ain Raadik

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What’s So Special About The Australian Backcountry? // Pro Skier Coen Bennie-Faull