Get ready for big chill!

Chilly conditions and early snowfalls indicate a strong start to the opening of this year’s snow season.

Thousands of skiers, toboggonists and sightseers are expected to load up their cars and head to Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Mt Buller to make the most of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Police will have a 24-hour presence in alpine areas from the commencement of the snow season. General duties officers, supported by the Operations Response Unit, will be stationed at Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and Mount Buller.

Bright Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll reminded everyone heading to the snow to be aware of the appropriate safety measures.

“Planning and preparation are the keys to having a safe and enjoyable experience in the snow,” Senior Sergeant Incoll said.

“We ask that all snow-goers this season are equipped with car chains and a lot of patience to ensure everyone gets to the slopes safely.”

“Police and other authorised officers will be conducting random checks both at the resorts and roads leading to the resorts to ensure snow chain compliance.

“Vehicles that are found not to be carrying snow chains as required may be fined and not allowed to proceed further until snow chains are obtained.”

Police have also asked people to prepare appropriately before hitting the slopes by regularly checking the weather and snow conditions.

“It’s important to be aware that conditions can and will change quickly. To prevent an emergency search and rescue situation, again plan your trip carefully,” Sen Sgt Incoll said.

“Always let someone know where you are going and how long you’ll be. Wear appropriate wind and waterproof clothing, take care of and check your equipment before skiing or boarding.

“There may be occasions where police will not be able to rescue or search for those who are injured or lost due to environmental conditions.

“If you get lost – stop, seek shelter and wait. If going outside the boundaries of the resorts, consider the risks associated with avalanches, in particular after heavy snow falls.”

The official snow season begins on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (Friday 7 June onwards).

Here are some tips from Victoria Police to enjoy a safe trip to the snow:

• When it comes to road safety, travelling on alpine roads in winter can be dangerous. Driving on roads with snow and/or ice cover requires concentration, adept driving skills and a lot of patience.

• All vehicles heading into the snowfields are required to carry snow chains and fit them where directed.

• Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Mt Buller resorts all have snow chain specific information on their websites and members of the public are encouraged to visit the website prior to attending to find out the up to date requirements, as each resort is slightly different.

• Snow chains are available for hire at the town centres and other locations leading into the snow fields. Knowledge of how to fit snow chains is also required and if in doubt ask the hirer to show you.

• Keep your cool if caught in a long queue of traffic and always follow directions by resort staff, police and road signs as these are issued for your safety.

• Once at the resort, there are a number of common sense measures you can take to reduce theft of your property such as knowing where your skis/board are all times, keeping them secure and keeping valuables out of sight.

You can find additional information about preparing for your trip to the snow at this website http://snowsafe.org.au/

Media opportunity:

When: Thursday 6 June at 1pm

Where: Bright Police Station, 7 Park Street, Bright

With: Victoria Police’s Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll

/Public Release. View in full here.