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UPDATE

Hotham Alpine Resort

Resort Opening Dates 2017

Australia & New Zealand

Winter is looming and to help you decide where to go, here is Helen Hayes' guide to the best ski resorts in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia

Thredbo

OPENING Saturday 10 June 2017

In 1957, Tony Sponar and Charles Anton had the idea of creating a ski resort. Sixty years later Thredbo is going strong, with some great things planned for this special season. Ring the commemorative bell and snap a selfie at the top of Karels T-Bar – the highest lifted point in Australia. Put your keen shredders in the new Max3 Snowboard Sessions in the terrain park or play a round of Winter Disc Golf. Also new this season, special ‘Kids only’ play and adventure zones have been developed around the Cruiser and Friday Flat areas. Plus you can buy access to the pool at the Leisure Centre for just $5 a day and add it to your lift ticket. The village is set to look even more magical this year with the addition of twinkling lights.

Charlotte Pass

OPENING Friday 23 June 2017

A true snowbound resort, Charlotte Pass is Australia’s highest resort and is only accessible by oversnow transport from Perisher. Perched at 1765 metres, all the accommodation is on snow, including the beautiful Kosciuszko Chalet which is the heart of the resort. The views of Mount Kosciuszko are something special, and so are the fun offerings, with Christmas in July always a family favourite, along with Onesie Wednesday.

Hotham Alpine Resort

OPENING Saturday 10 June 2017

Hotham's hub and various apartments are sprinkled along the top of the ridge in the Victorian Alps, ensuring jaw-dropping views in virtually every direction. You can ski or snowboard from most of the accommodation, and the way the resort is spread out makes it fun to connect the various valleys and areas. The Big D Ski and Ride School is a shuttle bus ride away, which gives beginners a very safe environment to learn in away from everyone else. Dinner Plain is further down the road, but is such a pretty village with its excellent accommodation, the Snow Park, the Onsen Spa, dog sled tours and restaurants. Twelve more snow guns have been added this year as well as an ice rink.


UPDATE

Thredbo

Mt Baw Baw

OPENING Saturday 10 June 2017

Mt Baw Baw Alpine Village is 2.5 hours from Melbourne and offers fun, safe and affordable snow experiences through winter. The resort boasts over 35 hectares of downhill terrain, 10 kilometres of cross-country ski trails, two snow play areas and unlimited terrain to explore among the snow gums. Whether you are enrolling your children in their first lesson, a newbie yourself or an expert, there’s something for all ability levels. Off the slopes, Mt Baw Baw offers sled dog tours, snowshoe walks with retired sled dogs, skidoo tours, snowshoeing, a gym and spa pool.

Mt Buller

OPENING Friday 2 June 2017 (1 WEEK EARLY!)

Mt Buller has ensured that there will be plenty of snow on Bourke Street at the beginning of the season by investing in a new $1.6 million TechnoAlpin SF220 Snow Factory. This whizz-bang technology can produce snow 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which fills in the gaps when Mother Nature isn’t playing nice. Mt Buller has the largest lift network in Victoria with 22 lifts serving the varied terrain, with something for all levels from the beginner slopes on Bourke Street and Burnt Hut Spur to the challenging black runs. There is a huge range of accommodation for all budgets, over 30 bars and restaurants, two toboggan parks, and the Ski and Snowboard School has had extensive renovations to make it even easier for little ski bunnies and shredders. Mt Buller also offers a rock climbing wall, dog sled tours, snowgaining (on-snow mountaineering), a movie theatre, and the gnome roam – see if your kids can find them all!

Perisher

OPENING Saturday June 3, 2017(1 WEEK EARLY!)

With 47 lifts spread over four linked resorts, Perisher really is a snowy wonderland. Perisher is the biggest resort in the Southern Hemisphere with 1245 hectares of skiable terrain covering Perisher, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega. Stay on snow at Perisher or Smiggins, or choose to stay in Jindabyne and either drive yourself or catch the skitube from Bullocks Flat. Night skiing is on Tuesday and Saturday and there are over 100 km of cross-country trails.


UPDATE

Falls Creek

Falls Creek

OPENING Saturday 10 June 2017

Falls Creek is the biggest ski resort in Victoria and its European-style village has an abundance of family-friendly accommodation – most ski-in, ski-out. Choose a cosy, welcoming lodge or a stylish hotel, and when it comes to dining, there are plenty of excellent choices including Elk. Drop into Snonuts during the day for an incredible doughnut concoction. Falls is renowned for its snow programmes with kids able to learn to ride or slide from age three. Have a blast snowmobiling, fat biking, snowshoeing, toboganning, tubing or play snow bocce at the Village Bowl. The Bowl is also where you will find the kid-friendly Street Party held every Tuesday afternoon from 4 to 6pm. During the night skiing down Wombat’s Ramble on Wednesday and Saturday nights, you can also try snow biking. First-time visitors can do free mountain orientation tours and for experts, book in for Steve Lee’s Backcountry tours. Plus there are 65 kilometres of groomed cross-country trails!

Lake Mountain Alpine Resort

OPENING Saturday 10 June 2017

Lake Mountain is Victoria’s most accessible alpine resort, just a two-hour drive from Melbourne. This winter wonderland is the top cross-country skiing mountain in Australia with almost 40 kilometres of groomed trails, and there is a snowshoe trail as well. Lake Mountain also offers exhilarating toboggan slopes, snow play areas and the wildly fun Dual Flying Fox and Tube Run. Kids from three to six can give snowboarding a try at the Burton Riglet Park, and there are excellent instructors for kids and adults, from beginners to experts. Stay in nearby Marysville for more days on the mountain. Take what you need to make a snowman, as the kids will definitely want to make one in the Snowman Village.


New Zealand

Cardrona Alpine Resort

OPENING Saturday June 10 2017

It is a massive year for Cardrona with the opening of New Zealand’s first-ever ‘Chondola’ – consisting of eight-person gondolas as well as six-person chairs. The $10 million lift replaces McDougall’s Express chair and is the first cabin-style lift in New Zealand. It will start much closer to the base which means beginners will now be able to ski from the top of the resort even on their first day. It also provides much better access to Captain’s Basin. That’s not all; the childcare centre has been expanded with all kids’ facilities now in one building. ‘Cardies’ also caters for those that love parks and pipes, massive jumps, a World Cup Slopestyle course, an Olympic-standard halfpipe, an international halfpipe, a big air jump and a Gravity X course. It also has the Real Journey run, which at 4.5 kilometres is New Zealand’s longest green run.

The Remarkables

OPENING Saturday 10 June 2017

The Remarks’ has had a major makeover over the last few years with the new Curvey’s Basin chairlift and base building. Plus, it’s now part of the Mountain Collective, along with sister resort, Coronet Peak. There is a large learning area with two magic carpets which will be covered this year. Once the kids have mastered those they can move up the Curvey Basin, Alta or Sugar Bowl chairlifts. Be sure to trudge up to The Lookout for out-of-this-world views over Queenstown.


UPDATE

Russia and Oscar take the lead on Mt Buller's sled dog tours. Iamge credit: Andrew Railton

Treble Cone

OPENING Thursday 22 June 2017

Treble Cone has legions of fans and for good reason; the terrain is world class and the views over Lake Wanaka are mesmerising. This season, there is more beginner terrain and a new snow play area for kids complete with slides – just make sure TC Cat doesn’t hog them. If you have kids that have never skied or snowboarded before, they can try it gratis with the Nice N Easy Platter and Magic Carpet free for everyone. For experienced skiers and riders, Treble Cone is a veritable playground – you won’t believe how good the terrain is around the Saddle Basin.

Coronet Peak

OPENING Saturday 17 June 2017

Just 25 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, Coronet Peak is the easiest to access and has everything a family needs for a ski holiday with some of the best on-piste skiing and riding in the world with state-of-the-art grooming and snowmaking. The modern and efficient base building makes everything simple and the online MyPass is easy to load and use. One of the things Coronet is best known for is the night skiing, on every Friday and Saturday night from July to September. The learn to ski or board programmes are also world class.

Mt Hutt

OPENING Friday 9 June 2017

Named New Zealand’s best ski resort in the World Ski Awards for the last two years in a row, Mt Hutt, 90 minutes from Christchurch and 35 minutes from Methven, delivers stunning views and spectacular skiing and snowboarding. There is a dedicated beginners’ area, and if you are new to the snow, consider the four-day Intro to Snow package for people 16 years and over, which includes lift tickets, two group lessons a day and ski or snowboard hire for four days. There are other packages available and kids 10 and under ski for free. All levels are catered for, and this season, there is another 21 hectares of terrain to enjoy.


UPDATE

Mt Hutt

This article appeared in volume 51 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.



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