Australian Alps Split boarding


  • 4 days back country snowboarding in Kosciusko National Park
  • 3 nights in a mountain hut
  • 40 cm fresh powder
  • Schlepping, our term for learning to go up hill on skins
Photos by Ben Littlejohn

An after work Sydney departure saw us arrive at 1am in Cooma to collect our trusty steeds. Rhythm hire shop supplied us with shiny new split boards, skins, poles and a demo of how we change our upward going skis to a powder ploughing snowboard. My board was so new I needed help changing my stiff bindings, but this was the only time I waved the ‘girl’ card.

We were lucky enough to have the company of Peter (Tim’s uncle) who was familiar with the area as navigation was tricky, even when visibility was good. With ladened packs and supplies for 3 nights camping on snow, we started the ascent from Munyang power station. A hostile building in such beautiful surrounds we quickly climbed the zigzagging path keeping west of the Munyang river. The snow line was 200m above so carried our splitboards until we reached Horse Hut, a chocolate box mountain refuge. Whilst chomping on our staple lunch of cheese and chorizo wraps the chief of the mountain huts coincidentally skied in. Imparting current knowledge of huts and snow conditions we donned the skis and skins for the first time. With much trial (and more error) we schlepped up the mountain, arriving at what was to be our base camp for three nights, our beloved Whites River Hut.

These open huts surpassed my expectations, recently lined and equipped with a fire it was a perfect mountain base. The huts are lovingly looked after by volunteers and users who replenish the wood stocks, leave surplus supplies and share tales in the guest book.

After a pleasantly good sleep we ventured higher up Dicky cooper creek to Schlink pass. We could see the next valley but went west so we could gain height summiting the wonderfully named Dicky Cooper Bogong. The maiden descent on our boards back to hut was nothing short of magical. Fresh powder heaven. As forecasted the snow storm arrived late the second afternoon and stayed with us until we left.

Having already been out exploring we figured that all down would lead us back to the hut. With reduced visibility and eagerness to explore we set off on shorter expeditions from the hut. We explored the ever changing surroundings, hunted for a snow cave we’d seen the day before across the valley. We were amazed by how much the landscape changed as the snow blanketed the valley. Landmarks in rocky outcrops had transformed to small corniced snow fields.

By the third night at whites river hut we had become familiar with our environment and the quietness the blanket of snow created. Camp necessities, washing up, water collection, fire making, poo hole digging had become a normality and we were all relishing the break from our everyday worlds. We sat a shared stories around the fire a delighted at our new way of toasting tortillas on the fire.

The final morning didn’t bring much fairer weather so we made for an quick descent testing our split board usability. With undulating terrain I opted to keep remain on skis but the boys rode the boards to car park With the lower snow line the descent was super fast and over all too soon. As we looked back up to the mountains we had left our bodies were tired but our hearts were full. We all made promises to return.

Essential gear

  • Splitboards
  • Four season tent, sleeping bag, mat
  • Camping stoveCompass
  • Head torch
  • Survival bag
  • Winter clothing

How to get there

Munyang power station in Kosciusko national park


  • Split boarding
  • Schlepping
  • Fire making
  • Jump building
  • Snow man making
  • River crossing

Skill level

Intermediate – as long as your group has a competent navigator in snow conditions

Distance covered / Height gain

30 km 2500m climbed