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There’s Val d’Isere, Aspen, Cortina D’Ampezzo, Vail…and Australia? That’s right, you can find some significantly excellent slopes “down under”. With multiple resorts, winter enthusiasts can downhill ski, cross country ski, snow tube and sled during the Southern Hemisphere winter. The ski season runs from around June to October, which may take some adjusting when thinking of experiencing a winter wonderland instead of a day at the beach if you decide to go during summer vacation. Skiing in Australia is unique, thanks to the snow consistency and differing foliage, and these are the very best resorts to visit.
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Thredbo in New South Wales sits within Crackenback Valley, and because of this, the resort features impressive and extensive snowmaking equipment to ensure the best powder for skiers. Breaking records with Australia’s steepest and longest runs, there’s some seriously terrifying backcountry for adrenaline seekers. However, Thredbo has more to it than devilish hills, like an abundance of beginner terrain, and a cozy village with shops, bars and restaurants. This little group of liveliness takes it beyond a typical resort and more to a town-like atmosphere.
Perisher is also in New South Wales, but is different from Thredbo, as it’s much larger with 47 lifts and the accumulation of a handful of villages. However, Perisher feels more like a lodge resort rather than a town but is still the largest ski resort in the hemisphere. Snow sometimes has to be created here as well, while natural fluff does fall too. Getting to the resort is actually part of the fun, as visitors can ride an underground rack railway, which uses a cog track system, to climb the steep hills.
More proximal to Mount Kosciuszko than any other resort, Charlotte Pass is our last ski resort to talk about in New South Wales. Its high elevation means much colder temps that can dip into the negatives in Fahrenheit measures. Some cool historical moments took place here, as one of the oldest ski destinations resides in the area, and the name is in honor of the first woman to climb the mountain. The perk of being at the highest ski destination in Australia is the natural powder that coats the ground.
Mount Hotham in Victoria houses Hotham Alpine Resort, in the Alpine region. While the second highest resort devotes a decent percentage to beginner slopes, much of the ski paths are challenging, with Mary’s Slide being notorious for its steep, heart-pounding run. Weather is cooler up here, with chiller winters and comfortable summer months.
Falls Creek is in the Victorian Alps among the lovely surroundings of Alpine National Park. Beginners and intermediate skiers will find the slopes to be extremely accommodating, but more difficult runs can be accessed via Snowcat. Falls Creek has to make a lot of its snow artificially, by using water from a nearby lake, so they are more attractive for their cross country trails. The restaurant, nightlife and shopping scene is the perfect addition.
Mount Buller in Victoria is closer to major cities than any other Australia ski resorts, which already gives it loads of appeal for weekend vacationers and so on. But Buller is highly versatile in a number of ways—there are 22 lifts ranging from t-bar, rope pull, chair and higher speed options, and there’s more than just downhill skiing. Terrain parks are kept in top condition and even the sledding park is managed with care, so there is something everyone can do. Summer is a great time to visit, too.
Mount Baw Baw truly is a beginner’s paradise, as the terrain is gentle and prime for gaining those ski legs. Several lifts are available, but the Poma is by far one of the greatest things for people fearing the ever-dreaded dismount off the chair. A Poma lift gracefully swings a slow-moving pole alongside passengers—just grab on and your skis stay in the snow the entire ride. A little village, along with a wide variety of walking trails gives guests a break from the ski boots.
Ben Lomond is actually a mountain in Tasmania within Bend Lomond National Park but has been cultivated into one of the area’s top ski resorts thanks to wide-open runs. There aren’t many trees along the plateau giving it a dramatic visual appeal. The resort is simple in comparison to others but a village is located within the vicinity to provide solid places to stay and eat. Wildlife is regularly seen around, from wombats to wallabies.
Mount Mawson in Mount Field National Park further reflects Tasmania’s minimalist ski offerings, will just a few barebones rope tows to carry folks up the hills. But the allure of Mawson is its beauty, with native foliage such as multi-hued Snowgum trees being regularly coated in natural snowfall. So while you’ll have to rent a special snow belt to literally be hauled up the mountain, there is something kind of cool, and magical about Mount Mawson.