This trip was a bit of a novelty thing. I wanted to ski in July/August and see what it was like in the southern hemisphere. Lots of people warned me before hand not to get too excited and that it wouldn’t be like Canada but I think everyone was assuming that I spent most weekends at hills like whistler and the ones out west. (Which I have never been to, and hadn’t previously felt obligated to, but that’s all changed). Main differences are: skiing in Australia is extremely expensive and the hills have gum trees which don’t look like they should survive snow.
This year was apparently a good year for snow. I think all the hills at Thredbo were open which doesn’t always happen.
Highest Restaurant in Australia, see elevation posted in pic
Thredbo is the best and most advertised resort in NSW (and I think Australia). It is about 5 hours from Sydney.
Stats for the skiers:
It is located on Mt.Kosciosko which has a summit of 2037 metres, 480 hectares of riding terrain, vertical drop of 672 metres and base elevation of 1365 metres. The longest run is 5.9km. There are 14 lifts. 17% Advanced runs and 67% intermediate runs.
We left Wednesday night and stopped in Canberra (the capital - a small town of a few hundred thousand) for the night. Canberra is a planned city and ultra suburban. I think the only picturesque angles of the city are aerial shots. It is called the garden city but don’t let that fool you because there is a lot of pavement and really wide streets. The whole city is centered around the peculiar looking parliament buildings. Anyway, we arrived late and left early the next morning so we could get a full day skiing on Thursday.
Arrival at ski hill
It was a bit of a shock when we got close to the SnowyMountains and I saw snow for the first time in a year and a half and the weather was below freezing too. (only just though!) at this time of year the temp is around -5 to freezing.
We rented our skis etc. and hit the slopes by about 10ish. The lines weren’t bad at all. The only thing was that they predicted really strong winds that picked up during the day. It became really hard to see at some points! We stopped at the highest restaurant in Australia for a drink at the top of the Mt.Kosciosko at one point before heading down the windy slope. (There are nice restaurants at the resort since it is an expensive sport here.) We had a good lunch too at the bottom of the hill. I tried a number of the intermediate and advanced runs until about 3pm when we stopped for the day because the winds were causing some lift closures.
The lodge we stayed at was a members only lodge.
This saved us money off the commercial hotels. (there are not many commercial hotels in the village at Thredbo, there are mostly members clubs and apartments for rent.) It was really nice but had some bizarre, strict rules. You get your hot breakfast and a 3 course dinner included but the dinner is Mandatory. You are really expected to show up and socialize with other guests. The first night we “got out” of dinner because we had to go have dinner at this nice restaurant that sells my friend’s wine. The second night we had dinner at the lodge though and met some nice people. Including this young guy who’s skied everywhere and inspired me to not only ski my own country but also Japan. Our room was great with a balcony view looking at the mountain. And the lounge was nice with a fireplace and kitchen stocked with drinks and soup whenever you wanted.
The whole village is really nice - not too big and it has all these little narrow lanes and paths so there is a really intimate feel. There is also a good mix of shops, bars and cafes. Thredbo is known just as much for its life in the resort village as the skiing. You really pay for it though. A weekend night at a commercial hotel in the village during peak season is $300 a person.
The first night there was a hard blizzard but it cleared by day.
Posted on hotel room door in Canberra. Quite funny.
On Friday skiing was just wet but we still made the most of it. When you were at the top it was pretty good, the snow just got really heavy near the bottom. We didn’t ski for as long Friday because it the damp made it colder and I was so tired!
On Saturday, although the weather was beautiful we had to leave relatively early (I had to be back in Sydney on Sunday to teach horse riding at 7:30am). Also lift passes are $100 a day and rentals are $50 a day. So I went around some of the shops and took pictures before we left. We stopped for lunch back in Canberra and I got some photos of the Parliament buildings. A few hours later we were back in Sydney amongst the palm trees.
It was a great holiday - I feel lucky now to have so many hills in Canada. It is also funny to be in an environment where you’re automatically considered an expert just because of your nationality.
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