Australian Geographic lists best ski resorts down under

Interesting story in Australian Geographic:

“WHY HEAD OVERSEAS FOR an action packed winter getaway when some of the best slopes are right here on your doorstep? Save on flights, avoid the hassle, and kick-up some of Australia’s powder bowls for longer this winter.

Whether you’re about to embark on your first-ever ski experience or are a seasoned boarder – look no further, Australia has an alpine playground suited to you.

Ski and Snowboard Australia Chief Executive Officer Michael Kennedy says skiing in Australia beats its New Zealand counterpart hands down. “Skiing in New Zealand is completely overrated,” he says.

Staying local means you don’t have to battle long lines at the airport, he adds, or worry about baggage restrictions and more.  “There’s something very nice about jumping in the car and driving up to where you’re staying,” he says.

New Zealand has bigger mountains and more snow, but you’re not necessarily guaranteed a ski, Michael says. “People have expectations, and then because of the weather, they can’t get up the mountain at all.

And the cost of skiing in Australia isn’t much different from overseas. “A lot of noise is being made- but the industry is making an effort to provide better value for money. Resorts came out at the end of last season and promoted early bird passes and helped to generate some excitement,” Michael says.

Michael says Perisher will draw in the biggest crowd this season, and Mt Buller will continue to pull the Melbourne weekender market. Falls Creek is the place to go for families, says Michael, while Thredbo continues to provide a unique European village feel.

Read more about ski resorts in Australia

Miss Snow It All discusses privileged skier problems in Australia

Another fun story from Miss Snow It All in the Syndney Morning Herald:

Australia is in the middle of a snow rush. The double header snow storm that hit hard two weeks ago has been followed by another massive half-metre dump this week, with more predicted on Saturday.

Today is a bluebird powder day across Australia’s resorts. Let’s just say skiers, snowboarders and resorts are on a serious high champing-at-the-powder-bit to get first tracks and boast their luck on social media, to make the rest of us lament our non-powder lives.

But with every manic high their comes a low, a downer, a moment when it all gets too much and the toys get thrown out of the cot.

We call that ‘privileged skier problems’. Those moments when you can’t really believe what came out of your fellow skier or snowboarder’s mouth, or even your own.

Paid too much for your ski pass? #privilegedskierproblem At least you can afford a ski pass.

Lift line too long? #privilegedskierproblem You could be lining up for food stamps instead.

Today I am cursing my ill-timed trip to Falls Creek (at least I am going to Falls Creek, right?), arriving tonight, and therefore missing this morning’s bluebird powder day. If that’s the biggest problem in my life, then clearly I should cancel therapy.

In moments of exhaustion I have heard myself spitting chips that there’s no gluten-free to be had, like a crossfit addict deprived of kale. I have complained about the stampede of fellow skiers and boarders behind me as I try to get first tracks, and I have screamed blue murder at my choice to ski in a blinding wind blizzard storm.

Seriously? #privilegedskierproblem

Read more in PRIVILEGED.

Late snow forces ski resorts to rely on artificial snow in Australia

Australia is sometimes the petri dish of climate change – a place where global warming is not just a theoretical concept but a tangible reality.

Environmentalists point to the fact that last year was once again the hottest on record, seeing drought and devastating bush fires. And a late snow has forced the ski industry in places like Mount Buller to rely on artificial snow to keep resorts operating.

But the country’s conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott is viewed by many as a climate change sceptic. He once described the science behind human-induced global warming as “absolute crap”.

He has pledged to abolish the country’s carbon tax and has shut down a number of climate research bodies.

The BBC’s Australia correspondent Jon Donnison reports.

Smith Travel Blog picks best ski resorts in New Zealand and Australia



The Spire, Queenstown, New Zealand

Looking for the best ski resorts? Itching to ski New Zealand or ski Australia? Good timing: as you read this, snowflakes are falling in flurries across the ski fields.

It’s set to be one of the best snow seasons, so whether the snow gums of Falls Creek are beckoning or the Remarkables’ impressive mountain ranges near Queenstown tickle your fancy, Mr & Mrs Smith will get you there.

We even have a bunch of hotels in winter wonderlands with 30 per cent off. There’s no better time than now to don those long johns, sip mulled wine and set off on an alpine adventure.

Azur Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

Azur Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand
‘Mind-bogglingly beautiful’ is the only way to describe this corner of the world. Azur Lodge’s free-standing stone and silver beechwood villas offer uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu’s smooth expanse, all the way to the mountainous horizon of the Southern Alps. Aromatherapy burners and soothing essential oils in bedrooms set the mood for a relaxing respite amid nature. The double spa baths and rainforest showers hint at sexy soaping; floor-to-ceiling windows let the outdoors in. Choose number 5 for added seclusion. There’s no restaurant here, but breakfast is served from 7am to mid-afternoon and the sociable bar that pops up in the main lodge daily more than makes up for you having to venture into town – or just order in with the help of the concierge. View offer

QT Falls Creek, High Country, Australia

QT Falls Creek, High Country, Australia
A change from its calmer summer self, Falls Creek in winter sees adventure-seekers flock to QT Falls Creek to play amid the freshly powdered scenery. Embrace your inner chef with the in-room kitchenettes or sample international cuisine at Bazaar, the hotel’s restaurant that dishes up Asian-influenced cuisine and organic salads. Stingray bar (only open in peak season) will entertain you with local musicians and DJ sets while you sip a hot toddy and nibble Mexican-inspired snacks. Almost all rooms have hot tubs stationed on private balconies for watching skiers slalom down the mountain – it’s not a bad setting for a glass of bubbly, either. East Tower rooms offer the best vistas, but for your own fireplace and a roomier Jacuzzi, the Two-Bedroom Penthouse E306 is a must. No need to pack the Uggs, there’s underfloor heating in these swish abodes, so your tootsies can get some air after being booted-up all day.

The Spire, Queenstown, New Zealand

The Spire, Queenstown, New Zealand
Nestled in Queenstown’s CBD, rubbing shoulders with boutiques, bars and restaurants, you’ll find The Spire. Set a peaceful distance away from the excitement and crowds on the ski fields, this is the perfect destination to enjoy the town’s adventurous activities before retreating to sophisticated cosiness. This boutique sanctuary is home to 10 suites, each one graced with stone-clad fireplaces, private balconies and L’Occitane toiletries. Choose Room 6 for its exclusive views of the hotel’s namesake spire. Settle in at No5 Church Lane, the hotel’s restaurant and bar, where you’ll be plied with warming tipples and Thai tapas. View offer

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand
Incredible alpine and lake views teamed with energy-saving practices and locally-sourced, seasonal and organic produce set Matakauri Lodge apart from the competition in Queenstown. Executive Chef Dale Gartland will let you order tailor-made creations on a daily-changing menu – he’ll even source fresh seafood and game on request. Deluxe Suites 7 or 9, located at each end of the lodge, give a bit of extra privacy, but really, every single one of the 11 rooms is blessed with flawless flashes of mesmerising mountains and velvety Lake Wakatipu – not to mention fireplaces and soaking tubs by floor-to-ceiling windows. Adventure is in the air here, so don’t forgot that instead of staring at the view, you should get amongst it – ski down Coronet Peak or jet-boat through ice-cold water that’s trickled down the Southern Alps. View offer

See the full list of stylish hotels in Australia and hotels in New Zealand with 30 per cent off, browse more of Mr & Mrs Smith’s stylish boutique hotels and offers or call the expert Travel Team. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras at all stays.*

*Copy compiled by Kat Williams

Australian ski resorts report almost five feet of new snow

Patrick Thorne files this great report with

Australian ski areas – which started their season badly on June 7th with almost no snow following a record warm May, are celebrating snowfalls of up to almost five feet (1.4m in fact) during the last four days.

The snow has now stopped leaving resorts well-covered ahead of the weekend and the country’s school holiday period.

“We expect to have over 40 lifts operating for the weekend across the four resorts areas of Perisher, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega,” said Samantha Hales, Communications and Media Manager at Australia’s biggest resort which now has a 102.1 cm base,

“There is a lot of work to do to get the resort open after a big storm as we need to get out there and groom out the wind drift, build lift tracks and ensure the resorts is safe for guests.”

Meanwhile at Mt Hotham called the snowfall ‘Snowmageddon 1.0’ and are expecting ‘Snowmageddon 2.0’ to follow bon later this weekend,

“Snowmageddon 1.0  started last Monday and brought the snowfall we have all been waiting for. Within 3 days we had over 70cm of snow, got 6 lifts going and are looking forward to the best school holiday skiing and riding in years.  Another front is coming in on Saturday and we will be hitting the 1-meter mark by Saturday night/Sunday morning,” said a statement from the resort, which currently has seven  lifts running.

Check it out at SNOW.

Charlotte Pass great for back-country skiing and families in Australia

Flip Byrnes finishes his tour of New South Wales ski resorts in Australian Traveller:

Charlotte Pass: Snowbound Wonderland

Best for: Back-country bandits and families.

In a nutshell: You never forget your first love, and for many of us, that’s Charlotte Pass. Nestled against the flanks of Australia’s largest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko,Charlotte’s is a 45-minute over-snow cat ride from Perisher, and a universe away. There are no cars, no roads, just a handful of lodges dotted around the magnificent, refurbished 1930s Kosciusko Chalet.

Back country enthusiasts are drawn by easy access to off-piste terrain and families love skiing the intimate five lifts over 50 hectares. In a week, you’ll know every lift operator’s name, and like us, return thirty years later with your own generation of future pro skiers.

Underrated run: A little hike goes a long way. Hike to Kangaroo Ridge Cornice or Guthrie’s Chutes for some adrenalin-inducing action.

Best spot for an après: Sink into a leather couch fire-side at Adam’s Cocktail Lounge in The Kosciuszko Chalet, or sink beers while sinking balls in a game of pool in The Cellar.

Local tip: Day trips to Charlotte’s are available from Perisher ($97 for adults and $60 for children). There are two return over-snow transport packages with either a lift pass and hot lunch, or a two-and-a-half hour snow shoe tour with picnic lunch.

More info:

Family will love the Selwyn Snowfields in New South Wales

Australian Traveller’s Flip Byrnes continues his guide to ski resorts in New South Wales:

Selwyn Snowfields: Family Nirvana

Best for: Snow newbies who don’t want to burn gold bars trying a new sport.

In a nutshell: It’s small; with 10 lifts and 45 hectares of terrain. But that’s what renders it perfect for people who fall over when not even moving on skis. There’s nowhere to get lost, help is always at hand and the family that skis together, stays together.

It’s also great value at $82 an adult and $45 a child for a peak season day pass, and if you’re breeding future free-riders who just want park-play, a terrain park ticket accessing the two parks is a cheap-as-chips $25 per person.

It’s a day resort, meaning there’s no on-snow accommodation, but the Snowy Mountains Holiday Centre can arrange packages and hotels around Adaminaby (

Underrated run: First timers can score a great initial impression of powder skiing down The Meadows on snowfall days, running from Emu’s Chase straight to the Race Course T-bar.

Best spot for an après: The Swinging T-bar on the mezzanine is the best place (okay, the only place) to kick back with a cup of barista perfection. Alternatively, Wild Brumby Schnapps (with locally-made schnapps) overlooks the slopes. Put your feet up and enjoy the sweeping views (

What’s new? Public barbecues were added this summer, near the Toboggan Slope – ready for winter picnics. The snow-making capacity has also been increased with snow guns being mounted on lift towers.

Local tip: Seeking a calorie injection? The Bake House in Adaminaby has a mouth-watering range of Danish pastries to refuel weary ski legs (02 6454 2092).

More info:

Ski all day, party all night at Thredbo in New South Wales

 Here’s another good description by Flip Byrnes in Australian Traveller:

Thredbo: Split personality

Best for: Skiing all day, partying (in ski boots) all night.

In a nutshell: In an admittedly unusual analogy, Thredbo is like a mullet: all business in the front and party in the back. Located in a valley, one side is the slopeside; deep and steep with 14 lifts in over 480 hectares; while the other is the village, where lodges cling to the switchback road, and over 30 bars and restaurants see the schnapps flow like water.

But that’s where the analogy ends, for this resort is as chic and stylish as the Sydneysiders who go there. Outside ofVictoria, this is the only resort boasting a true in-resort village, and there’s nothing like staying where you’re playing. The perennial party lasting from June to September is a winner for big kids; Thredboland and the Mission Inflatable pool obstacle course a hit for little kids. And the terrain is full of nooks, crannies and natural features to explore.

Underrated run: Point your ski tips towards Golf Course Bowl for fresh snow. If not adverse to earning turns, Thredbo’s Dead Horse Gap is back-country intermediate and advanced bliss. Access is from the top of Karel’s T-bar, requiring a car convoy to return to Thredbo.

Best spot for an après: The Bistro is the obvious choice (02 6459 4200), but follow the ski instructors to the Black Bear Inn for schnapps in a Bavarian atmosphere. ( Or head down during ‘Cliquot in the Snow’, a week-long party, 29 July–4th August.

Local tip: Pay the National Park’s fee at the park entry gate. It results in 90% of the cost going towards the parks – as opposed to 30% if bought elsewhere.

More info:

Freestyle paradise found at Perisher in New South Wales, Australia

I’ve never been skiing in Australia, but I knew they get snow. So I’m checking out stories by Aussie writers to learn more. Here’s a good description by Flip Byrnes in Australian Traveller:

If you haven’t been to the New South Wales ski fields lately, prepare yourself for a surprise because they have been evolving. Flip Byrnes finds out which one is best for you.

Perisher: Freestyle Paradise

Best for: Everyone – with room to move.

In a nutshell: Perisher is bigger than Ben Hur and bigger IS better. The linked areas of Guthega, Blue Cow, Perisher and Smiggins Hole create 1245 hectares of riding accessed by 47 lifts. With statistics like these, it’s no wonder winter Olympic athletes call Perisher home (gold medallist Torah Bright and former world snowboarding champions Holly Crawford and Nate Johnstone are Perisher alumni), while the five terrain parks, Rider X course and Superpipe draw freestylers from around the globe.

But even if throwing down corkscrew 580s isn’t your thing, the many pockets of the resort offer something for all, from the beginner’s Magic Carpet at Perisher to double black Devil’s Playground at Blue Cow. Perisher misses the magic of the village atmosphere of Thredbo or Victorian resorts, but if it’s downhill you want, it’s downhill they’ve got.

Underrated run: Anywhere in Guthega, the over-looked, far-flung corner of the resort. The sheltered, tree-lined runs are tranquil even on the busiest days, and on a powder day, this is the place to be. Refuel at the Burning Log Restaurant (02 6459 4692) with Main Range views.

Best spot for an après: By the fireplace at the Perisher Valley Hotel (with free wi-fi).

Local tip: The Station in nearby Jindabyne offers killer lift, accommodation and meal packages. ( Pause pre-ski at Sundance Bakehouse in Jindabyne (02 6456 2951) – all goods are baked on premises and they open from 6:00am.

More info:

Snowpocalypse gives ski resorts down under an early start

Sounds like our friends south of the equator are getting a ton of snow for an early beginning to the ski season in Australia.

Here’s a story from the Melbourne Herald Sun:

IT’S here. The megablizzard. Snowpocalypse now. This baby has been on the weather charts all week and it’s howling its way through the Australian Alps as you read this.

Experienced weather watchers are calling it the storm of the century. They’re saying it could snow on and off, but mostly on, for the next 10 days.

And now the megablizzard has arrived. The NSW resorts of Thredbo and Perisher received 40cm and 50cm respectively overnight. Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buller (pictured below) in Victoria all reported similar totals.

A spokesman for Thredbo confirmed to that as of about 3.30pm, 80cm of snow had now fallen in the past 24 hours.

“It’s an incredible amount for June, I’m not sure it’s a record, but it has set us up for the rest of the season,” he said.

Check out their video and photos at MEGABLIZZARD.