Thinking of Australia, I often think about big cities, beaches, the wonderful ocean life, the outback, the heat and sun but NOT mountains, snow and ski…. However, Australia has some wonderful resources to enjoy a snowy break and practice the best ski or snowboards moves.
At the peak of winter, there are several places where one can discover a wonderful white paradise. While Australia can offer some of the best surfing waves, you can also get down on nice slopes in Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. The Alpine mountains are one of the oldest in the world, more than 40 millions years old. Even if the runs can be a lot shorter that you can expect in Europe, it is unique to experience.
Skiing in Australia is suited for all levels: beginners, intermediate or confirmed. The only thing is to be lucky with lots of fresh snow.
The one I've tried last weekend is Thredbo in the Kosciuszko Region. Part of the Snowy Mountains, Thredbo is a very popular ski resort of about six hours driving from Sydney or a couple of hours from Canberra.
Thredbo’s base elevation is 1,364 meters and top one is 2,037 meters. With more than 50 slopes, Thredbo has the longest runs in Australia. Winter or Summer, Thredbo offers a range of fun activities for families and young people.
Leaving for Thredbo, I wasn’t expecting too much as many told me I would be quite disappointed having skied the alps for years and years before coming to Australia. However, it snowed just before I arrived and the experience was so much better than expected.
One thing to know when you ski in Australia is to be ready to pay a lot - even just for few days. It is incredibly expensive, from the accommodation to the rental and ski pass. For a simple weekend with only one day of ski, I probably spent more than $500 (driving, accommodation, ski pass and rental and food). This can almost guarantee a week of ski in New Zealand or Japan (not including flights). But I think it is a unique experience that you get to do only a couple of times in your life (or maybe more...)
The Thredbo Staff was very friendly and welcoming and gave me great ski gears. I was so over-excited to ski again, as I had not been since 2 years, that I was ready to go quite early in the morning with my partner Leo who was snowboarding for the first time. After getting all ski gears and be warm and ready, I hit the slopes and didn’t stop until nearly the closing of ski lifts around 4:30pm. The runs were really nice - although getting the directions were quite difficult. Thank god I brought a map of the slopes, but still got lots several times. I even went outbound of the slopes without noticing how I did it!
Funny thing in Thredbo, the slopes only had three colours: green, blue and black. The red was missing! I tried all of these and I have to say there were all pretty easy. Even the black ones seem more like red. Unfortunately some were closed because of the lack of snow on some parts so I couldn’t try everything.
The view from the top was really nice - really different from what I am used to see in Europe with fir trees. I was a bit disappointed though because I didn’t get to go to the top of Thredbo - said the highest lifted mountain in Australia. The snow groomers didn’t do their job as their were too much snow on the top (how extreme from the slopes closed further down…) so the lift wouldn’t go up. But well I still tried to go as high as I could but still got stopped by the snow controllers…
After a good and intense day of skiing, I was happy to go back down to enjoy a well-deserved hot shower and dinner. One thing that’s amazing in Thredbo is the little shuttle around the village, it literally goes everywhere and is so frequent. No need to transport heavy skis or snowboards anymore.
That weekend in Thredbo was supposed to be the end of Uni Week. I was then expecting the little village to be wild and on fire but walking around the city tiny centre, I was quite surprised that nothing was happening. Restaurants seemed packed (but really didn’t inspire me) and only one local pub had some sort of animation.
Everybody was probably tired of the ski day or just wanted to stay in their wonderful & expensive accommodation. I was so tired of the driving the day before, the lack of sleep and an intense day of skiing that I was definitely ready for bed.
The day after was sunny and hot. The snow was starting to melt quite a bit and we had to leave. The drive back was awesome with nice landscapes and a relaxing stop-over at Canberra and the parliament.
Overall the Thredbo experience was well worth it and yes it is possible to ski in Australia! I really loved it but next year I will definitely prefer going to New Zealand or Japan. You can’t beat the prices there and it is always good to discover something new. Ski adventures are not over…