12 reasons to go skiing in Australia this season

12 reasons to go skiing in Australia this season

Aerobatics, daring runs, drunken nights and romance all make it into this ultra white dozen
Perisher
The sunlit alps.

A month from opening day, with 10 centimeters of fresh snow on the ground and the mercury below zero, New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains are already showing a daringly white winter.

With bold trails, aerial courses, late bars and luxury chalets, the closest thing Australia has to a White Christmas continues to fight the effects of global warming.

Whether it’s the big players Thredbo and Perisher, or the smaller, more family-oriented fields Mount Selwyn and Charlotte Pass, there's something down everyone's ski trail in the Snowies.   

Before the snow melts (in spring) -- and from sunrise to sunset -- here are 12 reasons to make the snowy mountains run.

12. First Tracks for powder hounds

ThredboThis skier had powder for breakfast.A sweet ride for powder hounds, Perisher’s First Tracks offers an early-bird lift up the mountain for a privileged few. Accessing the Eyre T-Bar area, enjoy that smooth, floating feeling of uncut powder as you cut the first line down the hill in crisp morning air. $60 with valid lift pass, bookings before 3:30pm the day prior. Pick-up at Perisher Valley Hotel at 7:15am.

11. Thredbo Mother Bagjump

Not so much a run as an anti-gravity experiment, Thredbo has gone head over heels with the Thredbo Mother Bagjump -- a tabletop jump with a 20-square-meter inflated bag landing pad. It’s where daredevils practice their most ridiculous tricks before taking them to the slopes. It’s free for anyone who clears a $40 induction clinic. From July – August.

10. Six-kilometer Supertrail

ThredboMid-flight at Thredbo.Many will strap in to Thredbo’s easy-does-it Friday Flats, but for skiers ready to experience that top-of-the-world feeling, a succession of lifts to the top of Karels T-bar leads to Supertrail. It's just 100 meters shy of six kilometers from top to bottom; offshoots of the adrenaline-filled World Cup run and Little Beauty interrupt its calmer moments.

9. Time-honored Shifty’s Run

PerisherA slash turn at Perisher.Perisher Blue boasts Australia’s largest skiable terrain, but for sheer, time-honored adventure it’s hard to better Shifty’s Run. Officially opened in 2009 and named after the legendary octogenarian surfer-turned-skier Grant "Shifty" Turnbull, here you can shift snow with big turns and carving arcs just as Shifty himself has for the past 47 years.

8. Taking Lenny’s Leap

Skiers who get off piste at Charlotte Pass and then look to their right will see Guthrie’s Chutes. Various chutes offer drops and obstacles with the mountain’s last untracked powder -- because you’ve got to hike up to it. The chutes empty into the Black Diamond run known as Lenny’s Leap. 

7. Playstation Park –- only for old hands

Perisher’s terrain parks vary in size. Ultimately, the Playstation Park shouldn’t be tackled before the smaller zones. It’s the largest and it’s probably best avoided for those whose weekend-warrior skills aren’t up to scratch. But even beginners can stop outside the boundary fence and watch the spins and flips of those who know their "switch fives" from their "rodeos."

6. Boundary -– watch out for the trees

ThredboPowder snow on the Thredbo's rolling hills.Thredbo’s Cruiser Express quad chair offers great terrain. But on dismounting the chair, a drop down to the right descends into the wide, open bowl called the Boundary run. This is only reached after navigating through a few trees. At the end of the varied run, a tight track along a racecourse of shrubs leads back to the Cruiser.

5. Taking it easy on the Snowshoe tour

With Charlotte Pass off limits to cars, nature is at the centre of this resort’s appeal. And not everybody can do somersaults in the air or descend down mountains at breakneck speeds. For something a little slower, a snowshoe tour goes into the backcountry for a contrast of blue gums and clean, white snow.

4. Toboggan and tubes at Mount Selwyn

Mt. SelwynTubing down Mt. Selwyn.For non-skiers, or those with less age, courage or skills, Mount Selwyn still has a face full of snow on its toboggan and tube parks. It’s directly below the lodge so you’re never far from a hot chocolate. As Mount Selwyn prides itself on an affordable day on the snow with fewer people on the slopes, it should be a relaxed session

3. Happy Jacks Tavern at The Station

The StationBlurred vision at The Station.Jindabyne’s The Station rolls a fun day into the evening with a bustling nightlife from Happy Jacks Tavern for a schooner of beer to tell your stories of bravery, near misses and gravity-defying feats. The Stockwhip Bistro is available for a filling dinner before revelers can crash in one of their self-contained apartments, so they can do it all again. 

2. Live music at Thredbo Alpine Hotel

Staying in Thredbo Village will get skiers on the slopes earlier, or at least they can sleep in later and still make the first chair. The Thredbo Alpine Hotel buzzes with wintry energy, boasting the après-friendly Schuss Bar, live music in the Lounge Bar and DJs into the night at Keller Bar. Rooms start from $265 per person per night (based on two people) in peak season.

1. Romance (and free kids) at Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel

Perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds, Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel offers ski-in-ski-out accommodation to Charlotte Pass in a romantic, 1938-built chalet. Prices start from $709 (includes breakfast, dinner, lift pass and over-snow transport) per adult for two nights. From 24 June–2 July and 28 Aug.–18 Sept. Youngsters stay, eat and ski free.

Ski lift Prices

Representing peak periods, these prices should be used as a guide. Visit official resort websites for comprehensive rates and special deals.

Thredbo: one-day adult - $107; one-day child - $60; five-day adult - $460; five-day child - $264.

Perisher: one-day adult  - $109; one-day child- $60; five-day adult - $479; five-day child - $264.

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort: one-day adult - $93; one-day child - $56; five-day adult - $435; five-day child - $261.

Mount Selwyn: one-day adult – $78; one-day child – $45; five-day adult $333; five-day child – $191.