Can you feel the chill in the air? The drop in temperature might not be welcomed by some, but for many, the cold snap means one thing: Snow time! Winter is officially here and if you’ve been talking about hitting the Australian ski resorts this season, it’s time to sort out your leave with work and get your early-bird lift passes booked.
Whether you’re a snow newbie, a shredder on the slopes or just into après-skiing, there are a few VERY different Australian ski resorts to choose from when planning your trip. If you’re unsure where to book, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together a list of the snowfields we’ll be checking out this season. We promise this will be much easier than asking your snow mates who all insist their snowfield of choice is the best.
With one of the widest selections of terrains to suit all skill levels, Thredbo is known across Australia as being one of the ultimate destinations for those chasing the snow. With over 480 hectares of snowfields, the longest run in Australia (the epic five-kilometre long Crackenback Super Trail), and the jaw-droppingly steep Balls To The Wall pitch, it's definitely a popular one for adventure-chasers. While a favourite for intermediate-to-advanced skiers, Thredbo also has plenty of options for those less-confident – Friday Flat is perfect for newbies. When you’re not hitting the pow, be sure to try tobogganing, the Thredbo Alpine Village day spa, enjoy dinner at Australia’s highest restaurant, Eagles Nest, and indulge in a little aprés-ski in one of the local bars in Thredbo Village.
As the largest alpine resort in the Southern Hemisphere, it would be easy to spend upwards of a week here and never get bored. With 4 separate resort areas spanned and connected by 47 lifts, the 3000 hectares of skiable terrain that makeup Perisher is definitely expansive. Seriously, we’re talking 7 mountains and 5 terrain parks to explore. If you’re new to the slopes, Smiggins Holes is a good beginner spot and, because it’s more protected from the weather, a good destination for families. If you’re keen to explore the land, there are also over 100km of cross-country tracks to discover. At the end of the day, it’s a seriously expansive snow destination that has plenty of options to thrill everyone.
Tucked away in the Snowy Mountains, Selwyn is a popular snow destination for families. Their resort has been thoughtfully laid out easily allowing you to test your skills on the simpler runs before tackling the more challenging options. With 10km of runs in total, it doesn’t possess the same awe-inspiring expanse as Perisher or the nail-biting runs of Thredbo, but it is a top choice for newbies or those looking for a more relaxing holiday off the beaten track. Plus, with several toboggan runs and snow tubing spots also on the map, it’s a family-friendly playground that everyone can enjoy.
Charlotte Pass, NSW
Similar to Selwyn, Charlotte Pass is more on the family-friendly side of ski destinations. Less crowded than some of the more popular resorts, Charlotte receives some of the most consistent snowfall each season, resulting in good-quality snow. Only 50 hectares in size, it boasts a modest but refined selection of runs. If you’re a beginner, the East Starter run will keep you busy. Or, if you’re after a challenge, Sidewinder and Guthrie’s Chutes will more than satisfy you. To add to the magic, as the highest resort in Australia, you typically can’t access Charlotte Pass by car – you’ll need to catch an over-snow buggy from the Skitube. Charlotte Pass Village is a gorgeous destination if you want to stay on-snow, but if you have $$$ you can also book a chalet in nearby Jindabyne to enjoy the stunning scenery of Lake Jindabyne and Kosciuszko National Park.
Mount Hotham, VIC
Set on a spectacular snow-capped ridge, the village of Mount Hotham really is one of the more picturesque spots on this list. Covering 320 hectares of terrain, the area has an impressive selection of beginner, intermediate and advanced runs. In fact, it actually boasts one of the longest vertical drops in the country at a staggering 395 meters. As far as aprés-ski goes, Mount Hotham boasts some of the off-field activities of any snowfield in Australia. Try a dog sled ride, go cross-country on a snowmobile, pamper yourself at one of the on-snow day spas, or enjoy one-too-many drinks at one of the 20 bars and restaurants in the area. For the full snow-holiday experience, Mount Hotham is a must-try.
Mount Buller, VIC
A mere three hours’ drive from Melbourne, Mount Buller is a local favourite that more than packs a punch. With 22 lifts servicing 300 hectares of lush snow, there are plenty of runs to test yourself. If you’re more experienced, the southern side of the mountain has plenty of challenging runs to try. With dog sled tours, rock-climbing, two toboggan parks, an epic cross course and 30 bars and restaurants to trawl, it’s no surprise that Melbournites flock here when the temperate dips.
Mount Baw Baw, VIC
Mount Baw Baw is only 2.5 hours from Melbourne making it a popular destination for quick getaways. With beginner-friendly trails and just 10 kilometres of runs, it’s a prime destination for nervous skiers or anyone who just wants a relaxing trip.
Lake Mountain, VIC
If you just want to be surrounded by the natural grandeur of snow and don’t really care for skiing, Lake Mountain is perfect. An easy two hours’ drive from Melbourne, Lake Mountain doesn’t offer downhill skiing but does offer incredible cross-country trails. Whether you strap on some cross-country skis or a pair of snowshoes, there are 37 kilometres of trails to explore. If you’re heading up for a day-trip, make sure you check out their flying fox – it shoots you almost 250 meters through the air!
Ben Lomond, TAS
It might surprise you to know that Tasmania, our southern-most sister and the coldest state in Oz, is not a very popular a skiing destination. The fields are smaller and it’s definitely more expensive to get to than some of the NSW and VIC fields, but if you’re bold enough to make the pilgrimage you’ll find that it is easily one of the most beautiful destinations. Ben Lomond is Tasmania’s second highest peak and is reached by a narrow, twisting road that snakes its way up the mountainside. When you reach the peak, the view is glorious. It’s a small, laid-back resort that lacks the frills of some of the “bougie-er” resorts, but the incredible snowfall and stunning scenery make it a special snow escape.