The land of koalas and kangaroos is not all sun, sun, sun. Along with surfing, grilling meat on the barbie and exploring the outback in their camper vans, Australians also love to ski. It might come as a surprise, but there are actually a number of fantastic ski resorts in Australia that can give the Alps a run for their money. If you feel like the 2018/2019 ski season in Europe can’t come fast enough, why not consider heading Down Under and exploring the freshly groomed pistes in the southern hemisphere? We’ve scoped out five ski resorts in Australia that are worth the long journey.
Perisher is one of the largest ski resorts in the southern hemisphere. With an altitude of up to 2034m, snow is guaranteed from the beginning of June. Through to mid-October, Perisher offers skiing on 100km of pistes spread across 4 ski areas. It’s the perfect ski resort for a ski holiday with the whole family, with the majority of pistes suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers. Perisher Valley also boasts the only superpipe in Australia, making it a popular ski resort with freestylers.
The projected 2018 ski season opening date at Falls Creek is June 9, but generally the best time for skiing this Australian ski resort is at the end of August or beginning of September. During this season, you’ll find snow depths of around 120cm. With the valley runs open, this means 96km of slopes in total. Skiers and snowboarders who visit Falls Creek usually spend the night in the eponymous ski resort (1600m) in the heart of the ski area. The ski resort also offers cross-country trails, snowshoe tours and rides in a piste basher.
Situated about 3 hours from Melbourne, Mt Buller is one of Australia’s most well-known ski resorts. The resort often starts producing snow in May in preparation for the season opening in June. This means that by the ski season opening date (June 2, 2018), a large portion of the 100km of pistes should be ready for business. With its focus on the more challenging pistes, Buller is popular with advanced and expert skiers. Adrenaline junkies can also compete in one of the many freestyle events.
Thredbo ski resort is located on Australia’s highest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko (2228m). 70km of slopes here cater to a variety of levels: beginners can practise their skills in the secured slopes of the beginners’ section, while intermediate skiers can carve out perfect turns on the long pistes and experts can enjoy off-piste skiing in deep powder snow. Thredbo also opens some pistes for night skiing. If snow conditions cooperate, the 2018 ski season expected to run from June 2 until October 7.
Mount Hotham is considered one of Victoria’s most snow-sure mountains, with an average yearly snowfall of almost 3m. The Mt. Hotham ski area has around 50km of slopes, mostly marked blue and red, the perfect choice for beginner and intermediate skiers who want to work on their technique. Once you’ve worked up an appetite (or if you simply fancy a cheeky pint), there are around 20 mountain huts and bars to choose from.
If you’re looking elsewhere than the Alps for a summer ski holiday this year, Australia is not your only option. Also in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile all offer great ski resorts, and even Lesotho ski resort in South Africa has some decent groomed slopes in its small ski area. As of March 2018, Qantas Airlines have inaugurated the first UK-Australia nonstop flight. The journey from London to Perth takes around 17 hours - make the most of your trip and spend a few days sightseeing or hit the beach to compensate for the long flight times.
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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