Best of Buller guide

Alpine News - - News -

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.

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