In pole position
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: lanternapartments.com.au. More: thredbo.com.au. 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: charlottepass.com.au. 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: selwynsnow.com.au. 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: mthotham.com.au; ski.com.au. 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: flightcentre.com.au. More: mtbuller.com.au. 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: fallscreek.com.au; skifalls.com.au.
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