Police urge travellers to be prepared when travelling to ski resorts in NSW and Victoria

Holidaymakers heading to the snow for the opening weekend of the ski season are being urged to prepare properly after thousands of vehicles were forced to change direction last year.

Victoria Police have revealed more than 3600 vehicles have been turned away at Mount Hotham for attempting to travel without the chains required for driving in snowy conditions.

Eastern Regional Superintendent Shane Cashman warned that police would carry out random checks on vehicles and have a zero-tolerance policy for unprepared travellers.

“Conditions can change quickly in the snow, so make sure you are prepared, even if you are an experienced snow goer,” he said.

“We want travelers to create memories on the slopes and not on the side of the road.”

Victorian motorists can face fines of $370 if they don’t wear chains during the snowy season and fines of $970 if they don’t put them on their wheels when asked to do so.

Visitors to ski resorts in Victoria and NSW can expect to encounter a heavy police presence throughout the season, including highway patrols, specialist squads and liquor licensing officers.

On Friday, NSW Police launched Operation Snow Safe to target crime related to alcohol in licensed venues, dangerous and distracted driving and risky behavior on the slopes.

Southern region commander Deputy Commissioner Joe Cassar APM said around a million tourists were expected to flock to the Alpine region during the 2024 snow season.

“Snowfield conditions can be difficult to navigate, so we would like to remind everyone to prioritize safety when travelling, plan your journey, take regular breaks, check the weather conditions before setting off and attach snow chains to tires in good conditions. slippery,” he said.

“The Monaro Police District will be supported by uniformed and plainclothes officers who will ensure people remain safe in and around licensed premises (and) do not engage in risky behavior by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.”

Deputy Commissioner Cassar said a new fit-for-purpose police station in Jindabyne will act as a base for search and rescue operations around the snowfields.

Last year, NSW State Emergency Services responded to 31 incidents during the season.

NSW State Emergency Service Acting Commissioner Debbie Platz urged skiers, snowboarders and hikers to be prepared and hire a personal tracker when heading to remote locations.

“Snowfield conditions can be difficult to navigate,” he said.

“Visitors should expect bad weather and be prepared. Hikers, no matter how experienced, should stick to the trails, as whiteout and snow clouds can quickly and easily disorientate.

Victoria Police echoed the warning after responding to 19 search and rescue events during last year’s snowy season, including a man who fell off a cliff at the Mount Buller ski resort.

The 18-year-old man had a lucky escape when his car was prevented from falling further down the mountain by a series of trees.

He was rescued by emergency services and taken to safety.

A month later, Victoria Police intercepted the driver of a 22-seater private bus who was driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.

Superintendent Cashman said police will be on the lookout for poor driving behavior such as impaired driving, speeding, distraction and fatigue.

“If you are driving in inclement weather and face conditions such as rain, ice or snow, use common sense: slow down, maintain a safe braking distance and use your headlights to see and be seen,” he said.

The warnings come as ski resorts across the country brace for a disastrous start to the 2024 snow season, with just one in 75 chairlifts set to operate in NSW over the opening weekend.

Read related topics:Melbourne

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