While Europe and North America may be counting down the days to ski season from June to October, the Land Down-under is enjoying the peak of theirs! Continuing our series on Southern Hemisphere skiing here is everything you need to know about Perisher, Australia...
Perisher, New South Wales is home to Australia's largest ski-able terrain, with the greatest number of lifts in the Southern hemisphere. Known until 2009 as Perisher Blue, the ski area increased as a result of the amalgamation of several inter-connected ski areas and villages of Perisher Valley: Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega.
Perisher Ski Resort spans seven peaks, with a total of 1,245 ski-able hectares. Much of Perisher's skiing is spread out horizontally, which is fairly common Australian ski hills, making the continuous vertical drop only around 350 meters. Perisher's 47 lifts, include an 8-pack express chair lift and 3 high speed quad chairs. The resort boasts that it's lift system is capable of carrying 53,990 skiers lifted per hour.
The Perisher Resort boasts a good mix of skiing for visitors of various levels, with 22% beginner level terrain, 60% intermediate and 18% advanced. The ski area has many groomed runs with an emphasis on blue cruisers, some of it's black runs are also groomed, making them suitable for stronger intermediate riders.
As with many other Australian ski resorts Perisher's average annual snowfall is modest (around 2m), but the resort's snow making facilities are extensive, with 240 snow-guns covering over 50 hectares.
Located in South Eastern New South Wales, Perisher sits within the Kosciuszko National Park of the Snowy Mountains. The resort is approximately 500km to the southwest of Sydney (5-6 hour drive) and around 210km southwest of Canberra. Perisher's nearest airport is the Cooma Airport (Snowy Mountains Airport) around and 78km away.
Perisher does boasts some ski-in ski-out accommodation, though most lodgings require a short walk to get to the lifts. There are various Perisher hotels, with other accommodation types like commercial lodges, club lodges, and self-contained apartments. The majority of Perisher's accommodation is spread out across several villages. Perisher Valley is the largest village and has the most restaurant and nightlife options - this is the probably the best option for families, with childcare care and ski school situated here. Smiggin Holes and Guthega are both smaller, with the positive being that it is somewhat easier from here to get to the lifts compared to Perisher Valley. Some visitors to Perisher choose to stay at Jindabyne, 30km away, as some accommodation and transport is available there also.