Best of Buller guide
There are lots of things that are great about Mt Buller but hands down you can’t beat it for accessibility. Getting out of Melbourne and onto the snow is doable in 3 hours although it might get longer if you make a few winery stops in the Yarra Valley or coffee breaks at some of the great little towns on the way like Yea, Yarck and of course Mansfield.
‘Bourke Street’ run is where lots of Victorians have their first experience on skis and because this big, wide beginner-friendly run sweeps right into the village centre you could be forgiven for thinking Mt Buller is all about green runs.
In fact, 45% of the resort is blue and 35% is advanced so there is plenty of vertical and challenge for everyone once they’ve moved on from pizza and French fries in Ski & Snowboard School.
Mt Buller is a true mountain, which has some significant benefits. Not least, you get a cracking view of the peak dramatically rising out of the rolling farms around Mansfield as you head up the Buller Road. On a clear day you’ll see cars pulling over at Buttercup Road, just half an hour before they roll into the resort, to get an awesome photo.
Being a mountain with northern and southern slopes is also handy for chasing (or dodging) weather. You can shelter from wind or weather or, as many locals do, follow the sun around the hill. It’s great to start the day with a warm up on Shakey Knees in the sunshine and get your legs moving on a few groomers as you work anti-clockwise around the mountain. As the sun gets higher the summit delivers ripping lines and then it’s on to Little Buller, Wombat and over to the more challenging and shaded southern slopes.
The sweeping, wide runs like Little Buller Spur (2.5kms of leg burning carving top to bottom), Dam Run and Summit deliver consistently fun turns, but Buller has plenty of out of the way little tree runs, side tracks and fun spots where you feel like you are the only person on the hill.
Some favourite tucked away corners are the tree runs that weave in and out beneath Bonza chair and around Boggy Creek where you’ll often find fresh stashes on even the busiest weekend.
If we’re honest a big part of any snow day is the eating and drinking, especially the all-important après. Buller carved out a big party reputation back in the 80s and it’s a resort that loves a drink and a bit of dancefloor shenanigans.
Traditions like the 3am close at the Kooroora Hotel (Hoo Hah as the locals affectionately call it) when “That’s Amore” plays and lets everyone know it’s time to go are part of the fabric. A midmorning E&B (that’s an egg and bacon and it’s served on local Bertalli sourdough) at Tirol has kept many a skier going through a winter’s day as have the huge bowls of pasta.
There’s nothing quite like sitting on the deck and looking over to Mt Stirling while inhaling a few delicious carbs and feeling confident you have earned all those calories.
BC bar in the bottom of the Chalet is standing room only most afternoons when happy hour kicks in from 4pm, just one of the many popular après venues that spring to life every afternoon.
Sometimes it is the simple pleasures, the donut man being the most popular guy on the mountain and as you walk through the village and get a waft of sugar and cinnamon, it’s hard to resist a bag of mini donuts for the walk back to the lodge.
Twilight Sessions are a cool addition to midwinter with skiing under lights on weekends from mid-July through August and tobogganing until 8.30pm also under lights on the village slope. The fire-pits in the village are a win with kids and the resort hands out yummy marshmallows for toasting over the flames.
It’s deceptive just how much accommodation there is at Mt Buller with the most on-mountain beds of any resort in Australia (over 8000 at last count). The winding roads and snowgum lined paths around the village hide lots of lodges, apartments and of course a few iconic hotels like Chalet, Pension Grimus, Breathtaker and Arlberg that make it easy to stay the night.
Being able to stay in the snow adds to the whole winter experience and means you can fit more into your visit. There’s nothing quite like hearing the snowmaking guns cranking at night as you nod off to sleep or seeing the sunrise out your window and knowing the lifts are just a short walk away.
Now you have the inside guide, what are you waiting for, be sure to head up to Mt Buller this winter.
JOURNEY: All roads lead to Mt Buller.
HOO HAH: When the sun goes down the Kooroora Hotel lights up.
APRES: Cocktails are always a staple diet of the snow scene.
SLIDE: Learn to snowboard or ski on the gentle Bourke St run.