Not all ski resorts are created equal. In the heart of Kosciuszko National Park, the NSW Snowy Mountains alpine gem of Thredbo was recently voted Australia’s Best Ski Resort at the World Ski Awards for the fourth year in a row. It’s also been declared Best Ski Resort for Families at the Family Travel Awards for three consecutive years. And it’s easy to see why the accolades are piling up. Boasting the country’s longest ski runs and highest lifted point, as well as its only alpine gondola, Thredbo packs in the fun with its maze of ski trails suitable for first-timers through to dedicated powder hounds. Just add a button-cute village where eating and drinking well is assured, and a full calendar of après-ski activities keeping pace with the resort’s daytime energy, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable skiing adventure.
How to get lift tickets
The countdown is on to the 12 June opening date, with the 2021 season expected to extend to 4 October. Lift tickets are available to buy online now – it is recommended you get in early, as peak-season dates may sell out.
As well as your Thredbo lift pass, it’s also worth planning ahead for ski and snowboard rentals; you’ll get a 20 per cent discount if you book your rental equipment online at the same time as your daily lift pass.
A quick guide to the snowfields
Thredbo is home to “The Big 5” – Australia’s longest ski runs – including the 5 kilometre Village Trail, the 3.7 kilometre Supertrail and the ungroomed Funnel Web trail, renowned for a near-vertical middle section.
A total of 14 lifts service more than 50 runs, including Karels T-Bar, which reaches Australia’s highest lifted point (2037 metres above sea level) – where you can ring the bell at the top. Book a Sunrise Session to greet the dawn here before breakfast at Australia’s highest restaurant, Eagles Nest, then take the day’s first run down the Supertrail guided by one of Thredbo’s Winter Olympian ambassadors (it’s suitable for advanced skiers and snowboarders).
Beginners are taken care of with the gentle gradient at Friday Flat – home of the Kids Snow Festival, which is packed with free events and activities during the school holidays and the iconic season-long Thursday night Kids Flare Run which has been a Thredbo staple for more than 30 years.
If you’re looking for black-run adrenaline you can venture deep into the back country with a guide. Five different tours cater for strong intermediate to advanced levels of experience.
Australia’s first alpine gondola has become another essential Thredbo experience. Launched last year, the high-speed, eight-person Merritts Gondola whisks guests in European-style enclosed cabins to the intermediate-friendly Cruiser Area (or simply to refuel at Merritts Mountain House). On select evenings, guests can ride the gondola under a night sky, with Thredbo Village lights twinkling below, to Merritts Mountain Haus Feast where they’ll enjoy an evening of Bavarian-inspired dishes.
Where to stay
Hugging the base of the mountain and looking across to the ski slopes, Thredbo’s cosmopolitan village has a great selection of hotels, lodges and apartments where you can embrace the ski-in, ski-out lifestyle.
Fronting directly onto the Village Square and close to the base of the Kosciuszko Express chairlift, the historic Thredbo Alpine Hotel is decked out in mountain-chic style and boasts a number of good in-house dining options, including Lounge Bar where you’ll enjoy cocktails and nibbles by the fire.
If it’s five-star alpine luxury you’re after, settle in at Rockpool Lodge, which has been named Australia’s Best Alpine Chalet at the World Ski Awards for three consecutive years. This gem is just a couple of minutes away from the ski lifts.
The centrally located Thredbo Alpine Apartments are ideal for families, offering one to three bedrooms as well as balconies with superb mountain views and kitchens.
Where to go for dinner and après
More than 30 bars and restaurants make Thredbo an unrivalled off-slope proposition. Village heroes include the smokin’ Brazilian barbecue restaurant Sante and late-night supper club Segreto, where red wine and antipasto platters prove their eternal compatibility.
But don’t miss Thredbo’s on-mountain offerings: there’s DJ-soundtracked Corona Sunsets sessions on the Merritts Mountain House deck; toasties and schnapps at the Bullwheel Bar & Bistro at the top of the Kosciuszko Express chairlift; and long, European-inspired lunches at the ski-in, ski-out Kareela Hutte restaurant. Live entertainment is on the menu at epic outdoor village venue Alpine Bar, where DJs will play each Friday and Saturday afternoon as part of Alpine Après (keep an eye out, too, for its legendary retro-themed party, First Base).
Eating and drinking aren’t the only après activities on offer. The Olympic-sized heated pool and waterslide at the Thredbo Leisure Centre provide a splashy change of pace, while Thredbo Alpine Museum will take you on a whirl through more than a century of mountain history.
And if you’re lucky enough to be on the mountain on a Saturday night, be sure to catch the mesmerising Flare Run, in which ski and snowboard instructors wind down the Supertrail with flares in hand, followed by a fireworks spectacular that lights up the sky above Thredbo.
SEE ALSO: These Are The World’s Best Ski Resorts