Here's the lowdown on what it's like to ski Australia. What is surprising is that this country with such ancient, eroded, not very high mountains, produces champion skiers with podium results at the Olympics and World Cup. Mt Hotham, Perisher Blue, Falls Creek, Mt Buller and Thredbo are where these athletes train locally. International FIS races are hosted at these Alpine resorts.
Best Time to go
Snow sports is amazingly popular in Australia despite the season being short - the Alpine resorts open the last weekend in June and close the first weekend in October. While that's about 14 weeks, the snow falls in recent years are no longer consistently predictable and the season in Australia is generally reliable from the end of July to latest mid September.
The major resorts in Australia are Perisher Valley and Thredbo in NSW; and Falls Creek and Mt Hotham in Victoria.
Have a look at these pages for a detailed review:
One thing you need to know about Australian mountains - they're very old, eroded over millions of years from the days of Gwondanaland. What this means is that the mountains are not very high. So, don't be surprised that the downhill runs in Australia are short.
There are only two states in Australia that have snow country - New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (Vic). The alpine areas are clustered around the alpine region at the southern border of NSW and the northern boundaries of Victoria.
If you are a ski tourer, the main range is extensive with excellent back country skiing.
This is the most charming of Victorian alpine villages. Besides some excellent downhill pistes, it has extensive groomed cross country trails skirting around the dam. It's a very picturesque village.
The closest town is Mount Beauty. It's about a 40 minute drive from Mt Beauty, so many skiers choose to stay at Mt Beauty to save on accommodation costs.
Falls Creek is about 2 hours drive from Albury, which has the main regional airport.
Without question, Falls is the loveliest of Australian ski resorts. The pistes may not be as extensive as Perisher Blue Cow but it does have the best resort atmosphere. You won't be disappointed.
This Resort is along the next ridge. But Falls and Hotham are not interlinked and to get to either, one has to drive all the way down the mountain, across the valley and up the next ridge. The closest town at the base of the mountain is Bright on the north approach and Omeo, 40 minutes away to the south. Take great care when approaching Hotham from the northerly direction. In bad weather, this road along the ridge is treacherous.
The resort is smaller than Falls, but the runs have a reputation for the steep deeps. Hotham village is purpose built as a ski resort, but has been designed as a long rather than closely clustered development.
There are extensive Cross county trails running between Hotham and Dinner Plain. The main road is well serviced with regular buses.
Australia's biathlon range, at Whiskey Flat is 10 minutes from Hotham, and situated alongside some lovely cross country trails stretching from Hotham to Dinner Plain.
*Mt Buller Ski Resort
Mt Buller is well known for its moguls training program. Although it is a small resort, Buller produces some of the country's best internationally competitive mogul skiers.
Buller is on yet another spur of the Great Dividing Range. As a result, the Victorian ski resorts are not interlinked. It's about a 2.5 hour drive from Albury airport to Mt Buller Ski Resort.
I found the village and resort to be a little tired. The buses between the car parks and the village seemed to be always full and the queue was long. Perhaps the resort was particularly popular on the days visited, else they need more buses.
If you're visiting Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, the ski fields are between 3 - 5 hours drive. It is really fairly close to access the ski fields.
The NSW resorts are about a 6 hour drive from Sydney, the financial capital of Australia, and about 3 hours from Canberra, the political capital.
*Perisher Valley Ski Resort
If you're here to ski Australia's largest ski terrain, Perisher is the best place. It has the largest groomed terrain as it comprises 4 resorts interlinked with each other. It's fun touring between Perisher, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega.
Perisher Blue is the local home resort for Freestyle and Moguls champions. This resort together with Mt Buller, conducts specialized training development programs for talent identified athletes.
Skiing at Thredbo is best when it is top to bottom skiing, but this is dependent entirely on the amount of snow. Thredbo Village is ideal for apre' skiing activities, with a charming village atmosphere, good restaurants and bars.
Many skiers choose to stay in the nearby town of Jindabyne. It's cheaper to stay here than on the mountain as it is only about a 20 minute drive from Jindabyne to either Perisher or Thredbo.
Go ski Australia, you'll be surprised at the fairly good standard of skiers. The quality of the snow, though is variable and is dependent on the weather.
Enjoy your ski Australia trip!
Home › Ski Australia