The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Australian & Nz Ski Holidays - CATHER­INE MAR­SHALL MERRY KIRK­WOOD

Per­isher pack­age: Get in fast to book a ski break dur­ing the up­com­ing NSWschool hol­i­days at The Sta­tion. Re­ceive a gift card for up to $150 a per­son to spend on snow-sports hire, food or bev­er­ages, or Sk­i­tube trans­fer. Ac­com­mo­da­tion pack­ages in­clude two, three or five days from $99 a day twin-share; valid for travel July 3-17. Also at The Sta­tion, con­sider a late-sea­son three-day short break and get the fourth night free. This pack­age in­cludes ac­com­mo­da­tion, three break­fasts, one din­ner and a three-day lift pass. From $373 an adult twin-share; valid Septem­ber 4-18. More: 1300 369 909. Quin­tes­sen­tial Queen­stown: Steal a sneak peek at the new Hil­ton Queen­stown on a fivenight pam­per pack­age in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion in a Hil­ton king gue­stroom (with gas fire­place and spec­tac­u­lar lake or moun­tain views), a 30-minute mas­sage for each book­ing and two three-day adult lift passes at Coronet Peak and The Re­mark­ables; from $NZ925($707) a per­son twin­share.Valid to Oc­to­ber 22. More: nzski.co.nz. Value ski: NZ’s Tre­ble Cone has been ranked first in a re­cent sur­vey of best ski value by Aus­tralian mag­a­zine Your Money. Com­par­ing lead­ing re­sorts in Aus­tralia and NZ­for peak-sea­son (July and Au­gust) pack­ages and prices, each was scored on travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs, equip­ment hire, lift passes and snow and ter­rain qual­ity. Tre­ble Cone was top per­former for qual­ity of ski­ing, an­nual snow­fall and the na­ture and di­ver­sity of ter­rain. Other NewZealand ski ar­eas per­formed well in terms of value, as­sisted by the strong Aus­tralian dol­lar. More: tre­blecone.com. Buller bar­gain: Amid­week Un­wind Deal ski break at Vic­to­ria’s Mt­Buller in­cludes three nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion in a stu­dio apart­ment, buf­fet break­fast daily, three-day lift passes, ski hire and free use of the Breath­taker Ho­tel and Alpine Spa’s Wa­ter Ex­pe­ri­ence area. Valid Septem­ber 18 to sea­son’s close. More: 1800 285 537; mt­buller.com.au. Kids stay free: Also at Mt Buller, a spring sea­son pack­age with five nights’ mid­week ac­com­mo­da­tion al­lows two chil­dren to stay and ski free; from $1323 a fam­ily, in­clud­ing break­fast daily and five­day child lift tick­ets. Deal based on two adults and up to two chil­dren aged 14 or un­der. Valid Septem­ber 4 to Oc­to­ber 1. More: 1800 285 537; (men­tion vis­itvic­to­ria.com/deals). Hothamhigh: En­joy the ease of a ski-in, ski-out ex­pe­ri­ence with Hotham’s Fly, Stay and Ski pack­age from $921 a per­son. The deal in­cludes two nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion at the deluxe White Crys­tal apart­ments, air­port trans­fers, gate en­try, lessons and two-day equip­ment hire and lift passes for each per­son. Flights ex­tra. Valid July 1 to Au­gust 27. More: 1800 468 426; hotham.com.au. South­ern ski deal: Plan a lux­ury apart­ment get­away for four adults at NewZealand’s Alpine Re­sort Wanaka tour­ing a se­lec­tion of South Is­land ski fields; deal in­cludes seven nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion, four-day lift WHAT’S not to love about long, hot show­ers at the end of a day on the slopes at Thredbo in NSW’s Snowy Moun­tains? The steam­ing alpine wa­ter is guar­an­teed to thaw the most frigid of bones, but those hol­i­day ablu­tions draw on the pre­cious re­sources of Thredbo River, which me­an­ders through this val­ley-cupped ski­ing ham­let.

And with all the en­ergy re­quired to heat the icy ef­flu­ent, it won’t be long be­fore the car­bon foot­print of skiers ri­vals that of the abom­inable snow­man. But passes at Tre­ble Cone or Cardrona, eight-day four-wheeldrive ve­hi­cle hire, and ski racks and snow-chains. Valid for the 2011 sea­son; from $NZ4760 for four (or $NZ170 a per­son a night). More: ski-newzealand.co.nz. Beau­ti­ful BawBaw: En­joy a ro­man­tic one-night mid­week moun­tain get­away ski­ing at Vic­to­ria’s MtBawBaw­plus a din­ner (with $50 voucher) at the Sea to Sky Restau­rant; the deal in­cludes ac­com­mo­da­tion in rus­tic Woolly­butt Cabin, a one-day lift pass for two and break­fast; from $499 a cou­ple twin-share. Valid to Septem­ber 9. More: (03) 5165 1136; mount­baw­baw.com.au. Snow in­tro: Ideal for those new to Thredbo man­age­ment has seized on novel ways — turn­ing used cook­ing oil into an­i­mal feed and bio-diesel, sup­ply­ing smok­ers with por­ta­ble ash­trays — of trans­form­ing the ski re­sort into a green des­ti­na­tion.

A defin­ing fea­ture of its en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment plan is the Water­Wise pro­gram, run in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice.

‘‘Wa­ter con­ser­va­tion stick­ers on the backs of toi­let doors are just a re­minder that even though you’re on hol­i­day and in a re­sort that ap­pears to have a lot of wa­ter, you still need to con­serve it,’’ says snow sports, a five-night pack­age at NSW’s Novo­tel Lake Crack­en­back Re­sort has made ev­ery­thing sim­ple by in­clud­ing quad-share ac­com­mo­da­tion, hot break­fasts, two din­ners, four-day lift-and-les­son tick­ets at Per­isher (in­clud­ing Sk­i­tube trans­fers), four-day cloth­ing and equip­ment hire at Harro’s on-site ski hire, use of re­sort fa­cil­i­ties and com­pli­men­tary shut­tle bus. From $1487 for adults and $1138 for chil­dren 5-14 years. More: 1800 020 524. Afling in Falls: Visit Falls Creek dur­ing peak sea­son on a seven­night ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals pack­age in a Sum­mit Ridge Alpine Lodge mez­za­nine suite; the Euan Diver, en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices man­ager at Kosciuszko Thredbo, the firm that leases the vil­lage of Thredbo from NPWS.

‘‘We’re at the top of the catch­ment, so apart from a few wom­bats up­stream, we’re the first users of the wa­ter. The less wa­ter we use, the more there is for the down­stream user.’’

Cou­pled with prac­ti­cal mea­sures such as re­cy­cling and the in­stal­la­tion of wa­ter me­ters, wa­ter­less uri­nals, efficient wash­ing ma­chines and the like, these sub­tle re­minders have helped min­imise con­sump­tion.

‘‘Wa­ter flows have never pack­age in­cludes seven twocourse din­ners and break­fast daily. From $1575 an adult and $1182 a child twin-share, rep­re­sent­ing a sav­ing of 25 per cent. Valid to Au­gust 25. More: fallscreek.com.au/ sum­mitridgealpinelodge. Well-priced Wanaka: Tourism rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Wanaka say there will be no ac­com­mo­da­tion sur­charges dur­ing the Rugby World Cup in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber. Hometo four in­ter­na­tion­ally rated ski ar­eas and the largest heli-ski­ing area out­side North Amer­ica, this South Is­land ac­tion hub is within easy reach of Queen­stown air­port. More: lake­wanaka.co.nz. ex­ceeded 1992 lev­els, even though we’ve got an­other 1000 heads [a week] in the re­sort,’’ Diver says.

Thredbo uses the Sus­tain­abil­ity Ad­van­tage Pro­gram run by the NSW Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Cli­mate Change and Wa­ter to help repli­cate this suc­cess across the busi­ness, and was re­cently awarded bronze part­ner sta­tus, the only re­sort in NSWto be recog­nised in this way.

‘‘[The pro­gram] helps us iden­tify and im­ple­ment projects in prac­ti­cal ar­eas — re­sort ef­fi­ciency, staff en­gage­ment, stake­holder en­gage­ment and the Thrills at Thredbo: Book a five or seven-night stay at Lan­tern Apart­ments in July for a 30 per cent sav­ing; from $2960 for five nights in Lhot­sky two-bed­room apart­ments, or $4685 for five nights in lux­ury Snow Stream apart­ments (two bed­rooms plus loft) near Fri­day Flat. More: 1800 020 598; lanter­na­part­ments.com.au. High coun­try heaven: Keep it sim­ple and se­lect from a mix of mid­week or week­end ticket, les­son, hire and over­snow pack­ages at Char­lotte Pass, Aus­tralia’s high­est ski re­sort. More: char­lot­tepass.com.au. key one, car­bon man­age­ment,’’ Diver says.

‘‘If you can’t mea­sure car­bon, you can’t do any­thing about it. We mea­sure things re­ally well in ski re­sorts, es­pe­cially elec­tric­ity, be­cause we use a fair bit.

‘‘It al­lows us to work on ini­tia­tives that help us man­age or even re­duce our elec­tric­ity use.’’

So while snow will be man­u­fac­tured as usual on the slopes of Thredbo this win­ter, emis­sions will be kept in check.

‘‘In the past three years we’ve to­tally au­to­mated the snow mak­ing,’’ Diver says.

‘‘The sys­tem is work­ing 40 per cent more ef­fi­ciently than it was be­fore. We’re mak­ing more snow with less elec­tric­ity.’’

Thredbo has also worked to de­crease the size of its large, Euro­pean-in­spired ski slopes, im­prov­ing their bio­di­ver­sity and snow re­ten­tion with ex­ten­sive tree plant­ings.

‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally im­proved [con­di­tions] be­cause the trees pro­vide win­ter pro­tec­tion so the sun doesn’t melt the snow, and it also holds the snow bet­ter be­cause you con­tain it within a des­ig­nated ski run,’’ Diver says. More: thredbo.com.au; en­vi­ron­ment.nsw.gov.au.

There are bar­gains up for grabs at Per­isher

Tree plant­ing is part of Thredbo’s sus­tain­abil­ity pro­gram

NZ’s Tre­ble Cone is ex­cel­lent value

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