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Alpine Coach Training

Driver Training for Snowfields Access
Heavy vehicles visiting Victorian Alpine Resorts in winter can encounter challenging conditions requiring special equipment and driver training. For buses and coaches with 13 or more seats this training is mandatory under VicRoads Regulations. This applies to declared hazardous roads during the snow season, normally June to September, and is especially applicable to Mt Baw Baw, which has the steepest access road of any alpine resort in Australia.

In 2017 Mountain-Top Experience was approved by VicRoads to provide Hazardous Area Authority Bus Driver Training courses. Our expertise in this area is based on our Advanced 4WD Driver Training Courses which are widely regarded as the highest quality in Victoria, together with having operated Mt Baw Baw Transport Service since 1999. Due to the challenging nature of the Mt Baw Baw access roads, our HAA qualification exceeds the requirements of any other Alpine Resort in Australia (including Mt Hotham). Our principal trainer is Dr Ron Camier who is a qualified engineer and trainer/assessor, and whose aim is to make the course as enjoyable as it is educational.

We run three-day residential courses based at a motel at Mountain Rivers Tourist Park, Rawson, at very competitive prices, with discounts for each subsequent participant on the same booking). These courses are at the start of the season, and prior to school holidays, and should be particularly convenient for charter companies, school bus groups, delivery trucks from Gippsland and Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Each course begins and finishes at about lunch time, allowing time for participants from Melbourne or beyond to arrive and depart within each day.

In 2017 we successfully trained a total of 13 bus drivers, and attracted support from Regional Development Victoria as announced by Minister Jaala Pulford at a presentation at our office on 12th April 2018. Our scheduled course dates for 2018 are listed on our on-line booking system, or contact our office to inquire.

Syllabus includes
Introduction, driver licencing and accreditation, fatigue management, resort regulations.
Mt Baw Baw roads, terrain hazards, village familiarisation.
Bus and equipment, trailers, passenger motion sickness management.
Chain fitting, usage.
Snowbound road ascent techniques, traffic negotiation.
Snowbound road descent techniques, accident avoidance, skid recovery.
Black ice.
Alpine parking.
After-trip cleaning.
Written and practical testing.
Presentation format involves
Day 1 (afternoon): Motel classroom slide show, vehicle/chain familiarisation, Canadian ice road video critique, optional dinner at local pub.
Day 2 (morning): Pre-checks, drive South Face road/radio commentary, entry ascent/descent, practice chain fitting, lunch at Mt Baw Baw Village.
Day 2 (afternoon): Drive Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road/radio commentary, entry ascent/descent, Alaskan ice road video critique, dinner at motel.
Day 3 (morning): Written knowledge test, drive South Face road, entry ascent/descent, timed chain fitting, lunch at Rawson.
Day 3 (afternoon): Practical and written results discussion, certificates. Further testing if necessary.
Mandatory participant requirements
Own coach or bus* (with maximum two trainee drivers per vehicle)
Driver: Heavy vehicle licence (VicRoads), Driver Accreditation Certificate (Taxi Services Commission), National Driver Work Diary.
Driver equipment: head-torch, pen.
Bus equipment: UHF radio, chains (diamond pattern), wheel chocks, front recovery point, safety reflective triangles.
[* = Note: If necessary MTE may be able to supply a Mitsubishi Rosa hire bus.]

Recommended participant requirements
Driver equipment: warm/waterproof clothing, nitrile gloves.
Bus equipment: chains (diamond plus ladder*), plastic sheet/small tarp, tyre pressure gauge, anti-freeze in radiator, ramp blocks to raise inside dual wheels.
[* = Note: For extreme snow days at Mt Baw Baw two pairs of wheel chains are recommended.]

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