Ah yes, Australian skiing. We’re as excited about it as we are unexcited for it.
Below average snow, short seasons, long travel times and unpredictable conditions all topped off with extortionate fees. We’re happy to pay the likes of $130 (it’s not actually even that much) for a day’s lift pass at Whistler Blackcomb, but at least you know you’re getting 200kms of runs at North America’s largest and arguably best all-around resort.
Back home, however, even despite all this, we know we’re going to end up at the snow anyway. Northern hemisphere daydreaming aside, it’s time you get methodical and start weighing up your options before making the pilgrimage.
There are actually nine functioning ski resorts in the country (not including Brisbane’s dry slope, I didn’t even know that existed until now), of which only five are really worth your time/accessible by the majority living in Sydney or Melbourne.
We’ve found the prices of the following expenses so you don’t have to and assembled them into a quick table to make it easy when weighing up your priorities. You can dramatically reduce most of these prices by staying outside resorts in nearby towns, purchasing in advance online, or doing a day trip rather than staying overnight (Mount Buller specifically).
– Single Adult Day Pass bought online in peak season for a Saturday, assuming you don’t have an RFID reloadable electronic pass, which will be a one-off $5 for most resorts, and we’ve included this in the table price.
– One Night’s Accommodation midseason lowest available on Booking.com as I write this, based on two adults, Saturday-Sunday on mountain. Not including nearby towns i.e Jindabyne.
– Standard One Day Gear Hire including sticks/board, boots, poles – excluding helmets, apparel & performance gear.
– Food & Drink Expenses for 48 hours of food, beers, ciggies and the like. They’re all pretty expensive in Australia anyway – let alone at a ski resort – so let’s peg a standard apres session at $100 including some sort of post-shred feed, plus an extra 100 bucks for two breakfasts and two lunches. If you want to have a slap at the pub in Jindy, though, you’ll have to add on the appropriate coin yourself. Standard set rate across all resorts = $200.
– Distance from Sydney based on the assumption that the greater the distance, the more fuel needed – we’ve highlighted the furthest and closest resorts calculated from the CBD to the carpark.
– Distance from Melbourne based on the assumption that the greater the distance, the more fuel needed – we’ve highlighted the furthest and closest resorts calculated from the CBD to the carpark.
– National Park Day Fees. Many resorts require single day, single vehicle entry passes given their location within National Park boundaries.
– Overnight Parking Fees. Some have fees, some don’t, some don’t allow it at all – but we’ll assume you’re parking overnight because everyone deserves to getting stuck into the frothies post-shred.
Cheapest ski resort from Melbourne – Mount Buller
Cheapest ski resort from Sydney – Thredbo
Our advice? Australia is so unpredictable that it’s not worth booking a trip months or even weeks in advance. Keep a few key dates free, maybe even book accommodation you can cancel and then decide much closer to the day given the conditions. If you can go during the week that’s even better.
Last year, we went over the middle weekend of the “Blizzard of Oz” right when the temperatures changed and it rained the whole time. The next week it was back to face shots and 50cm dumps. Sometimes saving a few bucks isn’t worth shit conditions.
Or you can just go to New Zealand…
Have we missed anything? We’ve done our best to get these prices spot on given the variables. If you have your own suggestions or tips to save some coin, post them in the comments section on the Facebook share of this article.
RELATED: Thredbo – Resort Guide