Skiing may not be the first thing that most people think for holidaying in Australia, but with some of the Southern Hemisphere's very best ski resorts, numerous high peaks, and strong annual snowfall averages, there is plenty of skiing to be found in the land down-under! Here is our overview of one of Australia's best known ski resorts: Thredbo.
Located in the heart of the Australian Alps, Thredbo sits in the Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales. Thredbo's nearest airport is in Canberra, approximately 2.5 hours drive from the resort, but there are plenty of good reasons that thousands of skiers from all over Australia, and internationally, make the trip every year to Australia's longest established ski resort.
Thredbo itself is a small and lively village, at the foot of some of Australia's very largest mountains, in fact it is just 6km from the country's highest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko. The village is used by many visitors as a great access point from which to summit Australia’s highest point, via the Kosciuszko Express chairlift.
The village is home to under 500 permanent residents, though it's hotels can accommodate close to 5000, while its 40+ bars, restaurants and cafes ensure that there is always plenty happening away from the slopes.
The terrain at Thredbo consists of long runs and is the steepest skiing terrain in Australia, making it a standout resort in the country. Thredbo also serves beginner level skiers and first timers very well, with a very large beginner slope, and ski schools available.
Thredbo is home to one of Australia’s best known runs, named the Supertrail. At close to 4km in length it takes skiers three lifts to access the start; heading up the Kosciuszko Express chairlift to the Basin lift and then over to Karels lift. Some of Thredbo's best off-piste skiing and open tree glades can be found at the Golf Course bowl, while steeper terrain can be found at the Funnel Web trail. Twilight riding is one of the resort's most popular activities, which is usually possible in July and August.
The Australian Alps' ski season typically runs from early June to October, and Thredbo is home to some of the best snowmaking facilities in the southern hemisphere, allowing the resort to extend its season beyond its natural snowfall, when conditions allow.
Of Thredbo's 480 hectares of riding terrain, up to 75 hectares can be covered by the snow guns. The resort creates 600,000 cubic meters of snow per year, which is equivalent to 60 football pitches with a covering of 1 meter of snow! Thredbo’s snowmaking covers trails from the highest points, to the steeps , and all the way down to the beginner slopes; covering the needs of skiers of all levels.
Here is a fantastic video sharing a little bit of Thredbo's history, with Australian Olympian and Thredbo resident Frank Prihoda.
* Information from Snowy Hydro Ltd, Spencers Creek location,measured from the highest level of snow recorded at Spencers Creek at 1830metres (height of the Merritts area) from the years 1954 to 2012