ANARE / AAD - Australian Antarctic Division

One of the more challenging oversnow environments operated by Australia is the logistical support work undertaken by our (now) Australian Antarctic Division (previously ANARE). I have kind permission from AAD to republish their relevant information here as appropriate, but it is quite a large task (!) so for now, an introduction and a few pictures to suffice.

The introduction wording has been voluntarily submitted by guest writer Emma Chivers and is a nice piece of work, it follows together with a selection of pictures from AAD (individual credits where appropriate) giving a hint of the diversity seen in our Antarctic operations over the years.

From Emma Chivers:

Braving the South: Antarctic Wilds

Barren, breathtaking, bold – Antarctica is the most isolated territory on the planet, the rugged retreat of scientists, explorers, and artists who have braved the cold, merciless winds and gigantic glaciers. Along with a fearsome resolve, a resilient physique and a relentless determination, those who cross the Antarctic rely on wits and science to make the passage bearable. Enter the oversnow vehicle, one of the best innovations to grace the snowy banks of icy climes around the world, often becoming the main mode of transportation as well as a durable means of delivering goods and providing a pleasurable pastime.[i]

The Legacy of Snow Trekking

For many societies, old methods consisted of dog sleds and snowshoes, highly sophisticated art forms that evolved over the course of several centuries. While these methods originated in the northern climates of the world among first societies as well as explorers and settlers, dog sledding would also become a prominent part of Antarctic culture come the turn of the century, culminating in an epic trans-continental journey more than two decades ago led by Will Steger.[ii] Though dog-sledding is now a thing of the past in this southern land, expeditions and research teams have adopted modern advancements like snowmobiles and the larger oversnows which are commonly seen. Capable of crossing through challenging terrain, offering protection from harsh weather, and carrying groups of varying sizes along with equipment, these also offer good viewing points from the safety of the interior.[iii] Not only has this designated these sentinels of the south as the primary choice when it comes to conducting missions, but it makes them the perfect vehicle for tourist ventures as well.

In fact, the use of oversnow vehicles has contributed tremendously to keeping various operations successful, whether it’s reinforcing the safety of a ski or snowboarding resort or delivering the camera crew to capture some of the industry’s most defiant extreme sports quests.[iv] Several national parks, particularly in Australia where a large number of world-class oversnow vehicles like trail groomers and snowcats are engineered, employ the use of these vehicles as recreational pleasures as well as emergency services.[v] Particularly in frontier country, oversnow vehicles are foundational for paving the way for advancement, literally carving out roads and means of getting from one place to another.[vi] Sturdy, long-lasting, and iconic to the rugged landscapes for which Antarctica is so striking, the oversnow vehicles are now permanent and essential fixtures of the great Antarctic expanse.

Explorer of the Past, Adventurer of the Future

With the sturdy exteriors and rubber tracking systems, oversnows like snowcats and trail groomers are not only the ideal personnel carrier but continue to serve the researchers within the Antarctic community. Indeed, their invaluable contribution is a significant aspect as the importance of research – provided it is conducted in a sustainable, eco-conscious manner – continues to grow. Antarctica is the last remaining landmass which hasn’t been ravaged by the excess of human activity, though its recent glacier activity has set alarm bells ringing across the science and environmental community.[vii] Because of its pristine state, it presents a unique advantage for research and the potential to innovate some of the most extreme living conditions on the planet, as well as find environmental solutions for the ecology in the immediate region and other areas around the world. Oversnow vehicles are fundamental to this process, with team experts from organisations from all participating countries including Australian teams and the American Museum of Natural History using them regularly for their missions.[viii] As these expeditions continue to unfold, while the basic structure of oversnow machines will remain largely the same, they will continue to evolve and adapt to become more efficient in order to complete the tasks at hand. Eventually, as the population of Antarctica branches out into further tourism and even long-time habitation, oversnow vehicles will provide an essential part of this, helping to bring communities together and forge an unforgettable legacy on the true last frontier.







[iv] IgluSki. “The Best Skiing, Snowboarding & Adventure Films of 2013/2014”.




[vi] Dtic.mil. “Snow Roads at McMurdo Station, Antarctica”. Accessed 1 July, 2014.



[viii] Amnh.org. “Living and Working in Antarctica Safely”. Accessed 1 July, 2014.
http://www.amnh.org/explore/curriculum-collections/antarctica/hazards-to-humans/living-and-working-in-antarctica-safely

A painting by Tim Fish of 2 Caterpillar D47U series tractors on traverse in the Prince Charles Mountains, Antarctica, Autumn 1965 Picture: AAD
 
One of the M29 Weasels seen picking up supplies from the supply ship. Picture: AAD
 
Porsche Snow Trac with custom cabin designed for Antarctic use and built in Melbourne. Picture: Melensdad, Wikipedia
 
Restored M29 Weasel with ANARE/AAD modified cabin at AAD Kingston Headquarters. Picture: AAD
 
VW car and Porsche Snow Trac waiting to be loaded onto the Nella Dan for use in the Antarctic, 1963 Picture: AAD
 
Modified Mini for oversnow use seen with one of the Nodwells. Picture: The Mini Experience Magazine
 
Foremost Nodwell at Casey Station. Picture: G.Creighton, AAD
 
Amphibious supply vehicle, Casey Station 1981. Picture: AAD
 
Moving buildings using oversnow vehicles. Picture: Joe Dragone, AAD
 
Prinoth BR 350 Snow Groomer used for runway work Picture: Jeff Hadley, AAD
 
Schmidt Supra 4000 clearing runway. Picture: M.Filipowski, AAD
 
Two Hagglunds on sea ice near Mawson Station. Picture: D.McVeigh, AAD

Nodwell - Foremost

While the Nodwells are one of the smallest (by number) marques seen in Australia, with only a few in service on the main continent, they were very distinctive, in part because they were relatively large vehicles, and also did quite a few years service in the Victorian and NSW Snowies.

The Foremost-Nodwell company builds some of the world's largest oversnow machines, and remains in production to this day, two links with some coverage are their own and an enthusiast site:



This picture is one of many on this page very kindly made available by the Flxible Clipper Club of Australia (http://flxibleclipperclub.com.au/wp/ ) and shows the first Nodwell being delivered. Unknown date.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia


Also from the club is this outline and notes on the locally bodied and varied Nodwells.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

This picture is said to date from 1955 showing Pioneer "Kosciusko Clipper" at Smiggin Holes, at this time these oversnows were used for the run between Smiggin Holes and the Kosciusko Chalet at Charlotte Pass
Picture: National Archive of Australia

"Snow Fox" looking very clean and/or new at what appears to be Perisher Valley. Note the driver's uniform. Unknown date.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

I'm not sure if this picture shows one of the Nodwells being recovered from deep snow, or a transfer of people/goods from the Nodwell to the Tucker Sno Cat. Unknown date.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

A 1960s picture of the road-snow transfer point below Smiggins Holes where skiiers are tranferring onto the Nodwells, with one of the Weasels and also a Tucker Sno Cat visible.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia
The two Nodwells parked at an unknown location and date.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

The Postcard view above shows "Snow Fox" in the late 1960s at Perisher Valley.
(Picture: Ralph Zollinger Collection)

Richard Bell has sent this very rare picture through of an ex-ANARE (Australian Antarctic) Nodwell in use by the Mount Buller Bus Company for access around the upper slopes of the village around 1970. This is the only record I have seen of this oversnow in use. Here it is parked in front of the Bus terminal in the village.
Picture: Richard Bell

A 1971 picture of skiers boarding one of the Tucker Sno-Cats with a Nodwell beyond, presumably for the trip up to Charlotte Pass.
Picture: Tom Marish

Also in 1971, the two Nodwells and a Tucker Sno-Cat are again seen at Perisher Valley between runs in a simplified blue & white livery.
Picture: Tom Marish

Many years later at least one of the Nodwells was still in service! The Matterhorn Ski Lodge's Nodwell pictured off-season at Perisher Valley, 1989.
Picture: Andrew Collier

Smaller Oversnow Equipment

This section  has some pictures and a little information on the myriad smaller oversnow equipment used throughout the Australian Alpine areas. As this field is so large and I am no expert on it, entries here will be representative only rather than ever trying to be a conclusive list. Additions and corrections are always welcome!

Nb - A note for overseas viewers - While Australia has had, and continues to have a significant fleet of these vehicles across its many resort areas, ownership of oversnow vehicles has generally always been restricted. Typically owners need to have an actual commercial reason for usage (eg. lodges, shops, resort operators, emergency services) to be able to operate an oversnow. As such, Australia has not had the proliferation of privately owned oversnow vehicles for back country access that is common in some other countries.

An early model ski-doo pictured at Perisher Valley possibly in the mid 1960s.
Picture: Ralph Zollinger Collection

A very similar if not same model now preserved at the National Alpine Museum of Australia at Mt. Buller in Victoria, photographed in 2011.
Picture: Andrew Collier

An OMC 208A Snow Cruiser pictured in what appears to be the early 1970s near the Jolly Swagman Lodge at Perisher Valley.
Picture: By ski and scooter through the snowfields Snowy Mountains, NSW, Uwe Steinward Garrick Colour Postcards

An unknown ski-doo model pictured in front of the Man From Snowy River Hotel at Perisher Valley perhaps in the late 1970s.
Picture: Ralph Zollinger Collection

A 1979 Bombardier ski-doo now preserved at the National Alpine Museum of Australia at Mt.Buller with its descriptive note showing usage and significance, photographed in 2011.
Picture: Andrew Collier

A linesman of the Snowy Mountains Authority using a skidoo for power line inspection, 1986. This looks to be a Bombardier of very similar model to the one shown in the previous picture at the National Alpine Museum.
Picture: National Archives of Australia
A brand new Arctic Cat tracked 4x4 seen at Hans Oversnow's Jindabyne Depot in late 2011. Hans Oversnow holds the licence for sale of Arctic Cats into the Snowy region.
Picture: Andrew Collier

What looks to be three Arctic Cat 4x4s parked  at Mt. Baw Baw during September 2012
Picture: Mount Baw Baw via Facebook

A Polaris Ranger pictured at Mount Baw Baw in Victoria in June 2013.
Picture: David Sissons

Other Australian Snow-Related Equipment & Like



This is possibly the first dedicated snowplough used in the NSW Snowies and possibly Australia. By 1935 the NSW Government must have believed the traffic to the NSW Snowies sufficiently robust to specifically import a Walter Snow Fighter from the USA. Here dignitaries are inspecting the newly arrived vehicle outside the Sydney Conservatorium. The plow advertising leaves little doubt where it was to be deployed....
Picture: ANMM

Picture: Baglin Collection in "Skiing off the Roof", Rick Walkom
The above picture is also dated 1935 showing the Walter outside the Hotel Kosciusko along with quite a few buses it may have helped reach this point. The dating shows the advertising having quickly worn off in use, and also the secondary blades not in use at this time.

The development of the Snowy Mountains Scheme brought increased requirements for snow clearing on NSW's alpine roads. In these two pictures a newly purchased Walter Snow Fighter is demonstrated on the road to CharlottePass in 1952.
Picture: National Archives of Australia

An early postcard view of what appears to be a Rolba Snow Clearer at what looks to be a location near Perisher Valley.
Picture: "Road Clearing in the Snowy Mountains", NSW, Australia, Garrick Colour Postcards, 1954

A caterpillar tractor seeminly using its dozer plough is employed at Mount Hotham for road clearing during 1957.
Picture: National Archives of Australia

A nice vignette of snow clearing on the way to one of Victoria's smaller snow fields, thought to be in either the late 1950s or early 1960s.
Picture:  Nucolorvue Productions

What appears to be a Rolba snow clearer, this time at work in the Victorian Alps, possibly on the road above Bright c.1970.
Picture: National Archives of Australia
A dawn picture of a Rolba clearing snow from the Kosciusko Rd in 1975 with an RTA truck (perhaps a MAN?) following.
Picture: Mr Mook via ski.com.au

Rolba Snow Clearers at Perisher Valley, 1985
Picture: Slopegrooming Reducing Injuries Report

Department of Main Roads Unimog with plow attachment, Perisher Valley, 1985
Picture: Slopegrooming Reducing Injuries Report

A great action shot by Damien Brietfuss of a later model Rolba at work near "The Man From Snowy River" at PerisherValley in 1991
Picture: Damien Breitfuss

Here's something different - An oversnow converted for rail use! Not far from it's previous home, it is used on the Skitube in NSW between Bullocks Flat and Mt. Blue Cow. As the photographer (Oigle) states: "Formerly A Perisher snowgrooming machine used on the mountain from 1988 to 1997. This Bombardier 1000 (Jumbo) was converted in-house to run up the ski tube tunnel as a maintenance vehicle. It has a large cog connected to one of the original hydralic tiller pumps for drive and runs on the rack rail to drive it up the track. The power plant is a 6 cylinder turbo charged Volvo diesel. It has a overhead work platform and a crew cab on the rear. Excellent use of an otherwise redundant machine.
Picture and quoted text above: Oigle via Panoramio

A great action shot by Mark Hanna of a Rolba clearer used on the road between Hobart and Mount Wellington in Tasmania, here seen in August 2008.
Picture: Mark Hanna  http://tasbushblog.blogspot.com.au/

Tracked gas tank trailer parked during the 2011 off-season at the Hans Oversnow depot in Jindabyne.
Picture: Andrew Collier

A piece of Snowy history - a Dodge Power Wagon, perhaps one of the many used by the Snowy Mountains Authority in the early days of the scheme, awaits restoration at Hans Oversnow's depot, 2011.
Picture: Andrew Collier

Three oversnow operators/enthusiasts at Hans Oversnow in 2011 (L-R) Ben Carrie, Damien Breitfuss, Ralph Zollinger
Picture: Andrew Collier

Forklift attachment for Oversnow, Mt Buller 2011
Picture: Andrew Collier

Tracks laid out, Mt Buller 2011
Picture: Andrew Collier

Autocar Crane/Recovery Truck, Mt Buller 2011
Picture: Andrew Collier

Above - Two pictures of the Mt Buller Oversnow Depot, 2011
Pictures: Andrew Collier


Following a tip off from a member of the Aus Ski Forum I dropped into Cooma Airport in August 2013 and found these two people carrying trailers stored at the Airport in apparently good condition. Seems an unusual place for them to be stored but perhaps as a contingency if the airport is snowed in. These seem to be very similar to the trailer in use for some time for the run between Perisher Valley and Charlotte's Pass, a picture of which can be seen in the Bombardier entry: http://australianalpinoversnow.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/bombardier.html
Picture: Andrew Collier

The NSW Ambulance service fields several vehicles for service during the snow season including this track equipped Toyota seen heading out at Perisher Valley in late August 2013.
Picture: Andrew Collier

A scene during late August 2013 on the road between Smiggin  Holes and Perisher Valley sees a large dozer for heavy clearing work cross one of the Roads & Traffic's snow plows, both helping keep the road open during a snowstorm at this time.
Picture: Andrew Collier

The same dozer is later seen clearing snow at the end of the cleared section at Perisher Valley, the road beyond here to Caharlotte's Pass being snowed in during the winter season.
Picture: Andrew Collier

At the same location and on the same snowy day during August 2013 a tracked Isuzu waits to either be loaded or leave for Charlotte's Pass with supplies.
Picture: Andrew Collier

Again on the same day a Takbuchi BobCat fitted with a rotary snow clearing capability is seen clearing the turn-around at the end of the cleared section (note the oversnow at right) at Perisher Valley.
Picture: Andrew Collier

Further down the road below Smiggins Holes a large 6x6 Caterpillar equipped with plough is roadclearing during a snowstorm in August 2013, the centre blade doing the work in this scene.
Picture: Andrew Collier

One of the earlier plough blades used by the Snowy Mountain scheme is preserved in the park at Adaminaby outside the Snowy Mountains Scheme museum there. August 2013
Picture: Andrew Collier

Two of the RTA's snow ploughs await their next call out at the Kiandra Snow Clearing Station. August 2013
Picture: Andrew Collier

One of my childhood memories of snow clearing operations in the NSW Snowies was the fleet of orange MAN ploughs based out of Jindabyne in the 1980s. I have so far been unsuccessful in finding a picture of one of these, however this MAN shown clearing the road at Mount Hotham during the 2013 season may be a vehicle that is ex-NSW DMR. Any information is welcome. Note the concrete ballast bloack on the rear of the tray.
Picture: Mount Hotham Facebook

I suspect this picture is taken a few years earlier and perhaps shows a different MAN in action again at Mount Hotham, and possibly still wearing it's ex-NSW DMR orange livery. Coincidentally taken in almost the same location as the previous shot.
Picture: Snucklepuff via Panoramio

Richard Townley of Snowy Tyres (http://www.snowtyres.com.au/has very kindly got in touch and provided the above picture and those below showing snowplow trucks in both NSW and Victorian service, a great selection thank you Richard! Thanks also for the further information on the earlier MAN trucks shown in entries above. These trucks are all owned by Karl Stadelmann who has a snow clearing business based in Bright (Vic) and Jindabyne (NSW).Above Falls Creek Resort Management 6x6 AWD Snow Clearing truck.
Picture: Richard Townley http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Stadelman Bright MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing truck.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Stadelman Bright MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing truck at the Mount St Bernard Snow Clearing Depot.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

A great portrait of one of Stadelman Bright's earlier  MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing trucks at the Mount St Bernard Snow Clearing Station.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Stadelman Bright MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing truck.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Stadelman Bright MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing truck useful out of season with the plow attachment still in situ.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

And in winter! 17 August 2012 - Stadelman Bright MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing truck.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Another picture on the same evening.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Stadelman Bright MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing truck.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Stadelman Bright MAN 4x4 AWD Snow Clearing truck.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Stadelman Perisher Thredbo  MAN 8x8 AWD Snow Clearing truck.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/

Two of Stadelman's Snow Clearers presumably parked at their Jindabyne base during the off season.
Picture: Richard Townley  http://www.snowtyres.com.au/