Best Places to ski in Australia
Mt. Buller, Australia
Copyright: Andrew Rail
2. Mt. Hotham
Located high in the Victorian Alps, Mt. Hotham is known as ‘The powder capital of Australia’. It holds the record for the most annual snowfall in Victoria. Expert skiers can conquer steep valley runs and the many natural gullies, half-pipes and tree runs. Hotham is home to one of Australia’s steepest and most difficult runs: Mary Slide. However, all skiers and riders can find terrain to their liking here, not just experts. There are plenty of good cruising runs for beginners and intermediates as well as the Big D designated learning area. Hotham also offers night skiing twice a week and three terrain parks. Non-skiers have snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling and toboganning.
When to go: Early June through the end of September
Terrain: 605 acres: 20 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate, 40 percent advanced
Longest run: 1.5 miles
Après ski: Hotham has more than 20 bars and restaurants. Favorite après-ski spots include Swinders Bar, The General and Zirkys Bar.
Resort facilities: Hotham Snowports Centre and kids’ club, day care, snow sports rental shop, retail outlets, two spas, medical centre, bars and restaurants, and more than 7, 000 beds in hotels, lodges and apartments.
Ski pass prices: A one-day lift ticket is 0 (AUD)
Transportation: Hotham Airport is just 12 miles away. Direct flights arrive here from Melbourne and Sydney. If driving from Melbourne (4.5 hrs), it is a very scenic journey as Hotham is located at the highest point of the Great Alpine Road. A resort entry fee is applied and there is ample overnight parking.
Mt Hotham, Australia
Copyright: Aaron Witherow
Thredbo, midway between Sydney and Melbourne, is Australia’s best-known ski resort. Home to the five longest runs in Oz, Thredbo is a hit with beginners and intermediates for its long, wide cruisers such as Walkabout, Playground and Ballroom. But it's not just for groomers: Thredbo has the steepest overall terrain of any ski resort in Australia, with natural hits, wind lips and powder bowls to satisfy even the most advanced skiers. The most challenging of Thredbo’s 50 runs is Funnel Web—essentially an ungroomed trail notorious for its near-vertical middle section dotted with bumps and moguls. Despite the resort’s low altitude (4, 478 feet), it actually has the country’s highest skiable point (6, 683 feet). Skiers needn’t worry about lack of snow on lower runs either as Thredbo has invested $6 million on the largest snowmaking system in the Southern Hemisphere. Thredbo also has several terrain parks to suit varying levels.
When to go: Early June through early October
Terrain: 1, 186 acres: 16 percent beginner, 67 percent intermediate, 17 percent advanced/intermediate
Lifts: Four quads, three doubles, five t-bars and two snowrunners
Longest run: Karels T-bar to Friday Flat—3.7 miles
Après ski: In addition to big events, each week there is a new schedule of entertainment, from Rekorderlig’s poolside parties to live performances at Lounge Bar, Keller and Schuss Bar, and parties at the Smirnoff Snow Dome.
Resort facilities: The streets are lined with a good selection of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. The Thredbo Leisure Centre has an Olympic-sized heated pool and the sports hall features a climbing wall. All accommodations are within easy walking distance or a quick free shuttle bus ride to the slopes and village. Choose from catered lodges, hotels, luxurious apartments and self-contained units.
Ski pass prices: Daily lift tickets cost $110 (AUD)
Transportation: Fly direct from Sydney or catch a 2.5 hour shuttle from Canberra airport. Entry into the national park is free but if you're taking your own car you'll need to get a permit, which will set you back $27 (AUD) a day. Driving from Sydney or Melbourne will take around six hours.