One of the best parts of winter in Canberra is the easy access to the snowy slopes. Parts the alpine region did burn in the summer of 2020 but there's still plenty to cheer about as the snow clouds begin to form over the horizon. If you're itching to do a few runs this winter, the season kicks off in mid-June and the NSW resorts are an easy day trip from Canberra. To get you snow-ready, here's a rundown on where to find your ski legs this winter.
With 47 lifts across four resort areas and 3000 acres of skiable terrain, Perisher is the biggest ski resort in New South Wales. If you're a serious skier, this is the best place to head. The easiest ways to get to Perisher are by car or the Bullock's Flat ski tube station. The resort has four main areas Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Guthega and Smiggin Holes.
Perisher Valley has a range of runs to suit everyone from beginners to advanced sow bunnies. Front Valley is home to a terrain park and Australia's only Superpipe if you want to pull off some epic tricks. For a totally Iinstagrammable experience, there is night skiing (flares, fire works AND snow!) two nights a week throughout the season. There's tube town and access to snow shoeing and marked cross country trails if the downhill action is not your pace.
Guthega has 16 runs from green to black and has the relatively new Freedom chair (which was installed in 2014). Its panoramic views of the Kosciuszko range are breathtaking and a huge drawcard but it also has some great on-snow and accommodation options.
Smiggins is the best spot in Perisher for beginners and bad weather days. It is a 'bowl' configuration hat means all runs return to the same spot with the benefit of protecting visitors from the worst of the weather. You can also find food and lodging options at Smiggins.
With a name that's hard to forget (it honours the English shorthorn cattle that once called the mountain home), Blue Cow is accessible by Skitube. You can ski straight out the door and hit up the range of Green and Blue runs including Zali's, Pleasant Valley and Roller Coaster and for the daredevils, some great Black runs such as Kamikaze and Show Boat should get the blood pumping!
Thredbo is a postcard-pretty village clinging to the side of a steep hill. Home to 50 runs including the longest ski run in Australia, it has some beautiful lodges offering accommodation on or near the snow to choose from. As well as skiing and boarding, Thredbo offers boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, an indoor swimming centre and even a sled track.
The most unique dining experience at Thredbo is the Eagle's Nest, famed for being Australia's highest restaurant. You can find it at the top of the Kosciuszko Express chairlift where you are guaranteed amazing views looking out over the slopes back toward Thredbo Village.
As well as skiing and boarding, there are some beautiful walks through the village. The apres ski is a huge part of the Thredbo experience too and you're guaranteed a pumping nightlife and plenty of seasonal events to have you feeling schnapps-happy on top of the world.
Charlotte Pass Charlotte Pass is completely snowbound over the winter so the only way in or out is by Oversnow Transport (included as part of your resort package). At 1765 metres, it's Australia's highest resort so the snowfalls are consistent and natural. There is terrain to suit all skill levels and a range of ski-in ski-out accommodation options. The limited number of guests means Charlotte Pass offers a less hectic snow experience (and the chance of first tracks!) that is unlike any other.
Mt Selwyn's ski facilities were completely decimated by fire over the 2020 summer. The Selwyn team are committed to coming back bigger and better but it's a long road ahead. Selwyn was a perfect spot for beginners and also for the snow play which bigger resorts tend to overlook. Here's hoping the snow angels smile on Selwyn in the coming seasons.
If you need to hire winter clothes, boots, skis or boards, you'll find plenty of options in Cooma, Jindabyne and some of the resort areas. Remember you'll need a National Parks Pass (available on entry t the Park) and snow chains (available in Cooma and Jindabyne) for driving in the Kosciuszko National Park during the ski season. The season runs from the June long weekend 'til late September or early October depending on the weather gods. So get ready to hit the slopes and enjoy all of the fun the snow has to offer this winter!