In pole po­si­tion

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Australia And Nz Ski Holidays -

THEAus­tralian ski sea­son is in full swing and ex­cit­ing developments abound, from ‘‘magic car­pet lifts’’ for kids and dis­count passes to new snow groomers and spec­tac­u­lar flare runs. Here’s what to ex­pect at the main re­sorts. What’s new: Easy-ac­cess lift gates across the moun­tain; buy-earlyand-save deals on lift passes; three-hour (rather than twohour) chil­dren’s group lessons; a new snow groomer and shop. The low­down: The 480ha re­sort fea­tures long rides and a pic­turesque apres-ski-friendly vil­lage at the base of the Kosciuszko Ex­press chair­lift. Don’t miss: The Mother Bagjump (a must for aerial en­thu­si­asts) is back. The spec­tac­u­lar fire­works and flare run on the 3.7km Su­per­trail brings the vil­lage to­gether on Satur­day evenings. The deal: Thredbo’s The Lan­tern Apart­ments has dis­counts of up to 30 per cent; from $345 a per­son twin-share for three nights in Septem­ber, in­clud­ing free in­house movies. More: lanter­na­part­ More: What’s new: An all-day kids’ pro­gram with pur­pose-built carousel (for ages three to eight) and a weekly chil­dren’s flare run. A new over­snow ve­hi­cle in­creases trans­fer ca­pac­ity in peak pe­ri­ods. The low­down: Al­though reach­ing this re­sort can seem ar­du­ous (over­snow trans­port is from Per­isher’s Sk­i­tube ter­mi­nal only), Aus­tralia’s high­est re­sort, at 1760m, has quiet slopes ideal for be­gin­ners and ac­com­mo­da­tion tucked into a ski-in, ski-out val­ley. Don’t miss: Night ski­ing on the Basin Poma on Wed­nes­days and Satur­days. The deal: Get 30 per cent off a Stay and Play mid­week spe­cial at Kosciuszko Chalet Ho­tel from Septem­ber 9 to 14, in­clud­ing five nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion, all meals, six-day lift pass and equip­ment hire, five lessons and over­snow trans­port; from $1210 (adult) and $659 (child). More: 1800 026 369. More: char­lot­ What’s new: To­bog­gan and pic­nic fa­cil­i­ties plus full and half-day lessons for chil­dren. The low­down: Ideal for fam­i­lies and be­gin­ners look­ing for a more com­pact en­vi­ron­ment in which to find their snow legs (Sel­wyn has only 45ha of slopes and 10 lifts). Don’t miss: Safe snow play plus ski­ing, board­ing and snow tub­ing. The deal: A Fam­ily Time mid­week day pack­age for two adults and two chil­dren (un­der 16); $214 a fam­ily in­clud­ing ski hire and lift passes. More: sel­wyn­ What’s new: Seam­less re­sort en­try by road for those with pre-bought passes, plus a new valet ski ser­vice. The low­down: The 320ha of largely in­ter­me­di­ate and ad­vanced slopes stretches be­low this im­pres­sive moun­tain-top re­sort. A wide va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing cross-coun­try trails. Don’t miss: The ease of fly­ing in to Mt Hotham air­port, just a 15-minute drive from the slopes, mak­ing it the clos­est air­port to any Aus­tralian ski field. The deal: A Su­per Chalet Stay at four-bed­room Hotham Heights Chalet; from $1173 (adult) and $1025 (child), based on a five-night stay, in­clud­ing five-day lift passes and equip­ment rental, plus daily half-day chil­dren’s lessons. Valid to Au­gust 30. More:; What’s new: Bonza chair­lift, magic car­pet lifts for kids and be­gin­ners, plus new snow­mak­ing equip­ment. The low­down: Plenty of on-snow ac­com­mo­da­tion served by 22 lifts across 300ha of be­gin­ner, in­ter­me­di­ate and ad­vanced slopes. Don’t miss: The re­sort is part of a Vic­to­ria-wide ini­tia­tive that of­fers grade five students five free coupons to ma­jor re­sorts (in­clud­ing Mt Baw Baw, Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Lake Moun­tain). The deal: Flight Cen­tre has a fivenight stay at Mt Buller’s Ho­tel Enzian; from $949 a per­son, in­clud­ing break­fast daily and five­day lift pass (week­days only). Valid to Au­gust 23. More: flight­cen­ More: mt­ What’s new: Cheaper lift passes for stays longer than three days and a new week­end pass. The low­down: With more than 92 runs, 450ha and 14 lifts, the re­sort fea­tures ski-in, ski-out sim­plic­ity and a so­phis­ti­cated din­ing scene, with award-win­ning restau­rants such as Sum­mit Ridge, Feath­er­top Res­tau­rant and Ta­pas Bar, Quay West Re­sort & Spa’s Alta, Elk and Asian-themed Oishii-Go! at Sil­ver­ski. Don’t miss: The ‘‘Cruz the Blues, Con­quer the Blacks’’ pro­mo­tions this week­end and on Septem­ber 8-9 at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham. Skiers and board­ers can record their blue and black runs, and com­pete for prizes. The deal: Dis­count Satur­day and Sun­day ticket prices of $185 (adult), and $93 (child) — usu­ally $212 and $106 re­spec­tively. Buy from 5pm, Fri­days. More:; ski­

Mt Hotham in Vic­to­ria is the re­sort clos­est to an air­port

Sel­wyn Snow­fields is ideal for fam­i­lies and be­gin­ners

NSW’s Char­lotte Pass is Aus­tralia’s high­est re­sort

Snow­board­ing at Thredbo, NSW

Falls Creek in Vic­to­ria has cheaper lift passes this sea­son


Vic­to­ria’s Mt Buller re­sort at dawn

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