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THE WIZARD OF OZ - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Saturday September 29, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

We've been touring the ski fields of Australia. Our latest report comes from the largest resort and from the steepest. UPDATED

Step forward Perisher in New South Wales.

It has 47 lifts that can carry 53,990 people per hour giving them access to more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain.

It used to be a series of smaller resorts, Blue Cow, Smiggins, & Guthega, but they are now joined and unified by a single lift pass.

This year it has seen epic snowfall - the most since 2004.

By European standards it is small and would fit into a corner of many of the resorts in the Alps, but by Australian standards it is the largest of them all.

It has a vertical descent of 355 metres and its longest run in 3km.

It has 5 terrain parks - the most of any ski resort in Australia.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia













Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia














Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia














Though some runs are perhaps over-named.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia















And my favourite aspect of skiing in Perisher?

The gum trees:

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia
















The resort is criss-crossed by T-bars.

Now I am not really bothered by T-bars but many in Perisher are awkward to ride.

Especially if you are going solo.

More than once I asked myself whether the warning signs were about the terrain they accessed, or the skill required to hang on.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia


















I am pleased to report that one at least, the Leichhardt T-bar, is being replaced for next season by a quad chairlift.

It will cost $4.2m and increase capacity by 75%.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia
















There is some lodging at the resort but many people, myself included, stay in the nearby lakeside town of Jindabyne, known locally as Jindy.

At this time of year, as winter turns to spring, it is an ideal base, and a beautiful break from the mountains.

Jindabyne, AustraliaLooking at Jindabyne, Australia












Jindabyne, AustraliaLooking out of Jindabyne, Australia
















From Jindy you can drive the 25-minutes or so to the resort and pay a daily and expensive supplement of $39.

The resort is in a National Park and the fee is for access, but there really should be a smaller charge for people that just want to drive the 10 minutes to go skiing rather than pay to access the whole national park.

Or you can head to the resort by the Skitube.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia
















It's a train that heads through the mountain and is a preferred route in my opinion.

Now, I'm afraid no description of resort access to Perisher, and its surrounding area, is complete without mentioning the dead animals that litter the roadside, killed by passing vehicles.

You are warned:

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia















And then it is kangaroo carnage.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia














Why the authorities do not clear the dozens and dozens of dead animals that litter the road I have no idea.

It is not a pretty sight.

The resort of Perisher also has a few mountain restaurants - rare and welcome in this part of the world.

I would recommend the Burning Log restaurant and the small shack at the base of the Eyre t-bar at the opposite end of the resort.

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

Also accessed from Jindy is the resort of Thredbo - just a short drive past the Skitube, but again a hefty Parks fee is charged just to access the resort.

And the snow here has been just as good this winter.

The resort is smaller than Perisher but offers steeper and more challenging terrain.

It has the highest ski lift in Australia.

It has hosted World Cup alpine ski racing, the only resort in Austalia to do so, thanks to its 670m of vertical.

Perisher has just 355m.

Like Perisher it was developed in the 1950s and has a raw and pioneering feel to the place, though the village is more upmarket and more alpine.

Alpine history in ThredboAlpine history in Thredbo














Sadly, though, the resorts do not have any joint lift pass as it would be excellent to be able to ski both.

In fact they are part of different world-wide lift passes.

Perisher is on the Epic Pass and Thredbo on the Icon - fine if you live in Australia and want to ski in other parts of the world.

Not so fine if you live in Australia and just want to ski in local resorts.

And now the skiing part of my trip down under, to New Zealand and Australia, comes to an end.

I'm off surfing, snorkelling, whale watching, biking and hiking next.

Not much for PlanetSKI readers perhaps, but I would advise anyone who comes skiing in this part of the world to look beyond the mountains.

See here for my final round-up report from New Zealand as I ended in Mt Hutt.

And my overall thoughts on Australia?

I loved it.

The mountains are bigger in New Zealand and the slopes steeper, but (views aside) it felt much like skiing in the Alps, but with no trees and in much smaller areas.

Several times I had to pinch myself to remind me that I was the other side of the world.

Australia on the other hand is like nowhere else - from the gum trees, the retro feel to it all and the views across the mountains to the outback.

Would I advise a European to travel across the world in summer to get a snow fix in Oz?


Would I advise anyone there on business, visiting family or simply passing through on a world travel trip to make a beeline for the slopes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Canberra?

100% - I absolutely loved it.

And if you want to see a few more images from OZ....

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia














Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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