GREEN

Amazing Pics Of The Australian Alps As You've Never Seen Them Before

Make sure you explore the interactives.

08/06/2016 8:51 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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If you're reading this from overseas, yes, Australia has snow. And in a good season, lots of it.

We also have a handful of ski resorts whose season officially starts this weekend. There's just one teensy weensy problem right now. There's not much snow yet this year. So we're going to tantalise you and tempt the snow gods with some images of the Australian Alps at their pristine snowy best.

Andrew Griffith, Lensaloft.com.au
Mt Bogong, at 1986m, is Victoria's highest peak. It has a long flat summit but steep flanks which attract back country skiers well into spring. Australia's highest peak is Mt Kosciuszko at 2228m. It's about 90km north-east of Bogong.

These images were taken during the 2012 winter by Melbourne-based photographer Andrew Griffiths. Andrew a runs a company called Lensaloft Aerial Photography. His idea of a good time is to hire a chopper, harness himself to it and dangle out over the skids taking images like these.

"They're basically a bubble of between 15 and 20 photos that are all stitched together," he told The Huffington Post Australia. Click and explore the interactive below to see the Australian Alps in all their glory.

The above interactive starts with the heli hovering above Falls Creek ski resort. You can turn the full 360 degrees for a great view of the resort and surrounding peaks, or click on one of the tabs at the top for a different vantage point.

Here's the nearby Mt Hotham ski resort. Again, more tabs, more views.

Griffiths is best known for his Australian cityscapes. You can view his gorgeous Sydney sunset series here, or his exquisite Melbourne dusk collection here. But as mentioned, we're all about the mountains this weekend.

Here's what the ski slopes of Mt Hotham in Victoria will hopefully look like in a month or so after some decent snowfalls. The peak in the background is Mt Feathertop, which is pictured in the lead image on this story.

Lensaloft.com.au
Yes please.

A couple of features of the above pic are worth pointing out. Centre left of the pic is the skier bridge, which is a good way to keep "skidestrians" off the road. The ski slopes in the background include a face called Mary's Slide, which is regarded as Australia's steepest in-resort ski terrain.

The weird blob in the sky? Nope, not a UFO. It's the link to view the Feathertop panorama which you can click when you're in one of the interactive tours. Here's another view from the summit of Mt Feathertop. Cos why not?

Lensaloft.com.au
You can clearly see burnt trees on the lower ridgelines from recent fires which threatened our Alpine villages.

The overhanging slab in the above pic is called a "cornice". It's caused by the predominantly westerly winds which blow throughout the Australian Alpine winter, and which are often gale force.

Fortunately, Griffiths caught the mountains on a relatively benign day. Not that there's anything straightforward about hovering above the mountains doing 360 degree turns in any weather.

"It's pretty serious stuff. You wouldn't trust too many pilots to do the manoeuvre. You're pushing the heli to its limits when you spin like that," he said. "But it's fun."

Lensaloft.com.au
Another thing that's fun is jumping over these really big jumps at Falls Creek.

Interestingly, Griffiths has never never offered this snowy series commercially. "It's just something to share with people and to generate interest in the High Country," he said. "I just want to get it out there."

Consider us your allies in sharing the love, Andrew.

Lensaloft.com.au
The lift to the right is the Village Chairlift at Mt Hotham. Unlike most ski resorts worldwide, Hotham's village is on top of the mountain.

Lensaloft.com.au
The Falls Creek village bowl. OK, we really want to go skiing now. Anybody know a good snow dance?

Before we let you go, here's one more pic taken from above the summit of Mt Bogong. In the local Aboriginal dialect, bogong is the word for mountain, so this is basically "Mt Mountain". We Aussies are so imaginative.

Lensaloft.com.au
The infamous bushranger Ned Kelly hid out in a hut on the lower reaches of this mountain once. True story.

Sadly, the pic below illustrates the state of Australia's ski resorts on the Friday before the long weekend. At least there's enough snow for the kids. A little snow is forecast Saturday into Sunday, so here's hoping things improve.

ski.com.au