With the recent opening of the Australia snow season, here's a rundown on the hottest options on the Snowy Mountain slopes of New South Wales and Victoria.
New South Wales
Thrill seekers are trying to maintain indifferent nonchalance pending the arrival of the Monster Bagjump at Thredbo ski resort ( thredbo.com.au). Akin to landing in a bag full of marshmallows, it's a huge air-filled cushion designed for skiers and snowboarders to practise their jumps in safety. The Bagjump adds another element for both elite and aspiring alpine athletes, as well as those who just yearn for big air.
Check in to the four-star Denman Hotel for fine food and wine (the degustation dinner at the Terrace Restaurant is to die for) and balcony rooms with a mountain view.
Half an hour away by road is the village of Perisher Valley ( perisher.com.au). Comprising four distinct ski fields, Perisher is Australia's largest ski resort with almost 50 lifts and tows, with more than 350 metres of vertical terrain, along with a half pipe for boarders and vast cross-country trails as well. The Skitube Alpine Railway deposits snow bunnies right in the heart of the village. Winter Olympics gold medal-winning snowboarder Torah Bright honed her talent at Perisher from a young age and the snowboard Superpipe was renamed Bright's Pipe in her honour.
Over the state border at Falls Creek ( fallscreek.com.au), skiers are able to ski to lifts and accommodation from almost any position in the village. Approximately a five-hour drive northeast of Melbourne, Falls Creek is one of Victoria's most popular ski resorts. It's a family friendly place with plenty of activities such as ski tubing, night skiing and the Magic Carpet experience (designed to teach the young ones the basics).
At Australia's most elevated village, the lads at Mount Hotham ( mthotham.com.au) have new snowmakers to play with after a multimillion-dollar equipment upgrade. Back for another season is Mountain Kitchen, which offers gourmet take-home produce. Out on the mountain, a women's ski program offers tuition by women, for women, focusing on improving skiing confidence.
Check in to Blowhard Chalet Mount Hotham, an architectural masterpiece over 10 levels, featuring handcrafted furnishings by its film-set interior designer owner, reached via a heated road.
A four-hour drive northeast of Melbourne, Mount Buller resort ( mtbuller.com.au) has also invested heavily during the off-season with big dollars spent on snowmaking and grooming equipment. The village sits above the snowline with a network of 22 lifts accessed by chip-enabled smart cards. This weekend, the resort hosts the touring Banff Mountain Film Festival, which runs movies about life in mountain areas around the world.
Fly and ski
Skiers heading to Perisher and Thredbo can fly from Sydney to Snowy Mountains Airport with Aeropelican, while Mount Hotham airfield is serviced by QantasLink from Sydney and Melbourne during the season. Learn more about Australia's ski season and resorts at snow-australia.com.
Special to The Globe and Mail