South­ern ex­po­sure

Guar­an­teed snow? Luxe digs? A new “chon­dola”? These alpine re­sorts prom­ise a bumper sea­son. By Glenn Cullen.

Qantas - - Qnews. - For in-depth guides to these ski re­gions, visit trav­elin­sider.qan­tas.com.au.

YES, THERE WILL B E SNOW Mount Buller, Vic­to­ria

A guar­an­tee of snow in Aus­tralia seems a big call in the land of blaz­ing sum­mers but with a new, cut­ting-edge snow-mak­ing sys­tem, that’s ex­actly what Mt Buller (pic­tured above; mt­buller.com.au) has on of­fer. To en­sure your win­ter will be a white one, the re­sort’s Snow­fac­tory can pump out the fluffy stuff 24 hours a day, seven days a week in tem­per­a­tures as high as 15°C.

EPIC AD­VANCES Per­isher, NSW

Per­isher (per­isher.com.au), the coun­try’s big­gest ski re­sort, is now owned by Amer­i­can ski gi­ant Vail. That means we should ex­pect a raft of changes within the next few years. This sea­son, you’ll get a smoother ride on the Sk­i­tube from Bul­locks Flat, thanks to a $2 mil­lion up­grade and $500,000 worth of new hire gear at Per­isher Snows­ports. An Epic Aus­tralia Pass now al­lows up to 10 days’ rid­ing at Canada’s No. 1 re­sort, Whistler, plus other north­ern re­sorts, as well as an all-sea­son pass to Per­isher.

BIG MOUNTA IN, B IG CHANGES Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand

The North Is­land’s mighty mas­sif is some­times over­looked in favour of its south­ern cousins but $NZ100 mil­lion of planned up­grades should put Mt Ruapehu (mtru­apehu.com) back into the frame. This win­ter, a quad chair re­places the Wa­ter­fall T-bar and there are three new car­pet lifts and ex­panded snow-mak­ing. Con­di­tions can vary greatly but when the weather set­tles later in the sea­son, there are few bet­ter places for a spring snow get­away.

A DECA­DENT DUO Coronet Peak/The Re­mark­ables, Queen­stown, New Zealand

The peren­nial ques­tion in Queen­stown used to be where to ski: The Re­mark­ables or Coronet Peak (nzski.com)? This sea­son, if you don’t mind splash­ing out a lit­tle cash, it could be where to stay: Eichardt’s Pri­vate Ho­tel (ho­tel.qan­tas.com.au/eichardts) or Sof­i­tel Queen­stown Ho­tel and Spa (ho­tel. qan­tas.com.au/sof­itelqueen­stown)? Two of the area’s most stylish es­tab­lish­ments, both fea­ture new pent­houses. Eichardt’s has an ex­pan­sive bal­cony with panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu, as well as the use of – wait for it – a but­ler, pri­vate chef and driver. Pent­house No. 10 at the Sof­i­tel is Paris meets the Alps and has a pri­vate movie the­atre, six-per­son Jacuzzi and a per­sonal but­ler.

CHON­DOLA R IDE, ANY­ONE? Cardrona, New Zealand

Is it a chair­lift? Is it a gon­dola? Ac­tu­ally, it’s a bit of both. Travel up the moun­tain faster in the just-launched “chon­dola” at Cardrona (cardrona.com), the fam­ily-friendly alpine re­sort sit­u­ated be­tween Queen­stown and Wanaka on the South Is­land. Re­plac­ing the McDougall’s quad chair, the chon­dola is a high-speed six-seater with the added bonus of an eight-seat gon­dola be­tween ev­ery four chairs. The net re­sult is faster and more com­fort­able ac­cess to a fairly big slab of the re­sort’s ter­rain.

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