Mt Buller springs back into action
Regional tourism back on, but it could be too little, too late for some local traders
CELEBRATIONS at Mt Buller spread like wildfire last week as the news that regional Victorian snow lovers could get back onto the slopes as early as Friday (September 10).
Following the announcement, regional Vic skiers almost immediately began booking accommodation and planning a spring snow escape to make up for missed winter weeks on the slopes.
Mt Buller had good spring cover over the weekend of up to 64cm snow on popular runs including Bourke Street, Shakey Knees, Little Buller Spur and the Summit, and was still rallying for the eight lifts that opened on Friday.
“We can’t wait to have regional Victorians back on the slopes,” said Buller Ski Lifts general manager Laurie Blampied.
“It’s wonderful news for our community to be open for business again and welcoming skiers and boarders back to the slopes for spring.”
Though there were plenty of celebrations, the situation is still hard for many operators on-mountain, with some at breaking point.
Operations manager at Hotel Pension Grimus, Tim Skinner, said they were a little disappointed at the early bookings.
“We’ve definitely had some more bookings come in, but not as much as we’d hoped,” he said.
“People are obviously hesitant to book in case there are further lockdown changes, but hopefully we’ll see more this week as it gets to school holidays.”
Breathtaker Hotel and Spa are having a hard time opening at all with the current hospitality restrictions, especially when they are running spas and indoor pools.
“Costs are exorbitant for us right now,” said general manager Rachel Wadsworth.
“Without all the Melbourne guests we struggle, as the power and costs of the operation alone are so high.
“And how can you hold onto staff when you don’t know what is going to happen?
“And they have been looked after by the government, but not the businesses themselves.”
All visitors coming from regional Victoria must show a negative COVID test taken within the previous 72 hours of arrival at the resort in order to enter.
Children under 12 years do not require a test.
Visitors from metropolitan Melbourne and the Greater Shepparton area are not able to travel under the current health guidelines and will not be allowed entry.
Resort entry will be operating 24/7 to verify negative COVID tests and to welcome staff and visitors, but all visitors to the resort and venues on mountain will be asked to show proof of address and to follow all COVID safety guidelines including checking in, masks, and distancing.