Sep 11, 2012

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The Big 5 Ski Resorts In Australia

Gondolas in front of mountains

Guest post written by Nick Sotos – Outdoor Gear Madness

Australia is known for its Olympic swimmers, Australian Rules Football or “footy”, rugby, and cricket. Skiing and snowboarding rarely make it on the lists of popular sports. However, there is a thriving ski industry in this country, particularly in the southern region.

The winter season is from June to August, which is the best time to go to Australia for a ski trip. On the other hand, thanks to the snow machines utilized by many ski resorts these days, you can pretty much go skiing any time of the year. There are so many ski resorts to choose from, but for now, let us focus on the “Big Five”, ranked in terms of skiable area and number of lifts. The Australian mountains will definitely thrill you.

Perisher Ski Resort

Spanning in four resort areas (Blue Cow, Guthega, Perisher Valley, and Smiggin Holes), the Perisher Ski Resort is the largest resort in Australia and in the southern hemisphere. With 1,245 hectares of skiable terrain, it has a total of 48 lifts. It also has a combination of high speed quad chairs, triple chairs and double chairs.

22% of its terrain is designed for beginners, while 60% is for intermediate and 18% is for advanced runs. Tube Town allows visitors to enjoy snow tubing at a low price. Tobogganing, snow shoeing and cross country skiing are also available here. When Thursday nights come, the sky of Perisher Ski Resort lights up with spectacular fireworks.

Falls Creek

The largest ski resort in Victoria, with 450 hectares, is particularly ideal for intermediate skiers. In fact, 60% of its terrain is intermediate runs, with 17% beginner runs and 23% advanced runs. While it only has 14 lifts, it boasts 92 runs, the longest of which measures 3 kms.

A snowboarder looking up a hill

Blue skies and empty pistes are always welcome

Tours are a particularly popular activity in this resort. You can go up to the summit on a sunset tour, or ride their grooming machine on a grooming tour. You could also ride through a ski trail on one of their snow bikes (only Falls Creek has snow bikes in all of Australia) or take a Helicopter Lift for enjoying a fantastic view of the whole place. Of course, you may also try out the other outdoor activities such as night skiing, bungy trampoline, snow tubing and Nordic snow shoeing.

Mt. Hotham

Still in Victoria, Hotham Alpine Resort is considered to be the second highest resort village in Australia (the highest is Charlotte Pass Village in New South Wales). For the past decade, it was also known to hold the record for the highest annual snowfall in Victoria. With 320 hectares, it has a total of 66 runs. It is also known for having one of the most difficult runs, “Mary’s Slide”.

With 12 lifts, it is one of the few resorts with a quad chair. 20% of its terrain is made for beginner runs, while intermediate and advanced runs both make use of 40%. Activities such as night skiing, grooming tours and helicopter links are also offered to visitors. Kids will also have a lot of fun on the kids skidoo rides.

Mt. Buller Ski Resort

Mt. Buller is the closest ski destination to the international airport in Melbourne, making it a popular choice for people who want to go skiing for a few days. During winter, the summit of Mt. Buller is a favourite among ice climbers.

With 22 lifts, it has 8 quad chairs, aside from a number of triple chairs, double chairs and surface lifts. Its 41 runs are designated as follows: 20% for beginner runs, 45% for intermediate runs, and 35% for advanced runs. It has a skiable area of 263 hectares and also offers other activities such as cross country skiing, night skiing, snow tubing, and tobogganing. The resort also has its own alpine museum, a spa retreat and a cinema.

Thredbo Village

On the slopes of Mt. Koscuszko, Australia’s highest mountain, is nestled Thredbo Village. This year round ski village features the longest run in the country, at 5.9 kms. It is also known for having the largest snowmaking system in the southern hemisphere.

With 14 lifts and 3 high speed quads, it covers a 450-hectares of ski area. Beginner runs are for 16% of its terrain, while intermediate runs and advanced runs are for 67% and 17%, respectively. Skiing under the stars is made possible through their twilight skiing activity while snow shoeing is also highly encouraged.

You can enjoy one of Thredbo’s traditions, along with the fireworks display on Saturday nights. You can also explore the village and the mountain through mountain biking or hiking. The Thredbo Leisure Center features a gym, an olympic-sized heated swimming pool, a bouldering wall, and a mini golf course among others.

Take Your Pick

The best ski resorts in Australia offer not only good skiing moments but an all-around amazing holiday experience. No matter what your skiing level or your age is, you will find yourself having a lot of fun while skiing in the Australian mountains.

Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Dave Oldacre

Guest post written by Nick Sotos – Outdoor Gear Madness

  1. I’ve been on a few skiing holidays in the past but i have never thought about going to Australia for one. I have done the alps, Austria and Canada but i think Australia might have to be next! great blog, can’t wait to tell you where i visit.

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