After a very quiet 2020, Australia’s ski resorts are back in full swing for ski season 2021 so you can make the most of the winter. Whether you’re heading to Thredbo or Perisher in NSW or Falls Creek and Mount Buller in Victoria, these are just some of the new passes, places to eat and experiences you can expect as you carve up the powder.
Always remember to check each ski resort’s website for the most up-to-date opening information.
Falls Creek, Victoria
If you feel a bit peckish after a day on the slopes, there are plenty of new and refreshed food and drink options at Falls Creek to complement the existing line-up. The always-popular Snonuts Donuts now has a platform to allow kids (and adult fans) to watch the sweet treats being made; the Cloud 9 mezzanine bar has had a facelift; Astra’s new head chef Kauri Watkin will revitalise the menu for the season ahead (and live music is back at the restaurant, too); and Bob Sugar at Elk Falls Creek is new for 2021 with an Asian-fusion menu that includes panko pork belly bao buns, massaman curry with braised duck leg and sashimi-style kingfish with micro herbs and wakame.
There’s also a new spa pavilion at Elk at Falls with three six-seater hot tubs for aching muscles, and the iconic on-mountain Lakeside lodge is undergoing renovations that will modernise the facilities while still highlighting its vibrant ‘70s ski lodge decor.
Image credit: Visit Victoria
Mount Buller, Victoria
There’s a lot going on at Mount Buller this ski season, on and off the slopes. The alpine village has been given a refresh; highlights include an expansion of The National Alpine Museum of Australia, which now features even more artefacts that tell the story of Mount Buller and Australia’s wider ski culture, as well as the return of a dedicated snowboard store, Freeride, if that’s your preferred way to get down the mountain.
A fresh mural by Indigenous artist Maddi Moser on White Bridge corner greets guests as they enter the park, and if you’re after cultural immersion, the new HarroArt Gallery in the village showcases photography, ceramics and paintings from a collection of local artists. Mount Buller’s alpine cinema also has an up-to-date line-up of movies to entertain you after the sun sets, including the Banff Mountain Film Festival.
On the slopes themselves, you can expect better snowmaking capacity thanks to a new 100-megalitre water reservoir, plus recontoured terrain across various runs for a smoother ride for skiers and snowboarders. There’s now a viewing area overlooking the slopes at the Control Centre to give you a better insight into your runs to Tirol and Burnt Hut, as well as a new link between the bottom of Summit Slide and the base of the Bonza chairlift.
Mount Hotham, Victoria
Seek out a new adventure at Mount Hotham with a full-day snowshoeing tour. Don your snowshoes, which distribute your weight over a larger area so you don’t sink into the white stuff, and take a guided hike through the mountain’s stunning snowgum forest and grassy (albeit snow-covered!) plains. Lunch and snacks are included, and you can leave from either Hotham or Dinner Plain.
There’s also a range of new Disabled Wintersport Australia resources and equipment to make the mountain more accessible, including sit-skis and other adapted equipment and specialised guides.
Image credit: Courtesy of Mount Hotham
Thredbo has a full line-up of fun feasts, festivals and parties for the 2021 snow season, which kick off with the Winter 2021 Opening weekend. Across three days from 12 June, the free festival includes an ice sculpture display, live music, impressive light projections, street performers and a fireworks extravaganza. Throughout the season you can also expect delicious long lunches, demonstrations from pros and the Kids Snow Festival (pictured above) in June and July featuring pizza movie night and the chance to make Lindt chocolate s’mores. And though it’s not strictly for kids, there’s also an Alpine Bungee so you can strap yourself in and bounce high over the snow for an impressive view of the mountain.
There are a few new on-mountain dining experiences for 2021, including the Merritts Mountain Haus Feast on Saturday nights that includes an alpine gondola ride and a hearty Bavarian menu; and the Kareela Snowcat Dinners that take guests on the aforementioned vehicle to Kareela Hutte (pictured above) for a four-course feast.
Image credit: Courtesy of Thredbo
Even if the snow doesn’t come down hard, you’re still pretty much guaranteed a good day on the Perisher slopes thanks to an increase in snowmaking and grooming capacity. Snowmakers were installed at The Chute at Perisher Valley, one of the ski resort’s most popular runs, over the summer.
Watch this space for the season’s schedule of winter events, too.
Charlotte Pass, NSW
The biggest change at Charlotte Pass this season is the introduction of The Charlotte Pass – a card that will allow skiers to pre-purchase everything they need before they arrive at the resort. There’s also a new ticketing and access system, with electronic gates at the lifts and a scanner to hop on the Oversnow Transport vehicles, which are the only way to get to the runs during winter.