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Image credit: Perisher Ski Resort

In persuit of Perisher

A Perisher snow holiday is just the ticket for family fun, even if you have teenagers, as Helen Hayes reports.

Perisher is embedded in my family’s ski DNA; it’s where I took my first turns, where my husband learned to ski and where our kids learned, mastering their slice-of pizza turns and graduating to more difficult slopes in what felt like the blink of an eye.
So it is with great anticipation that we drive down the highway from Sydney, this time with L Plates, excitement mounting as we pass Queanbeyan, Bredbo, Cooma and then Jindabyne. For the first time, we are staying on the snow at Perisher, so we catch the Skitube, then board a snowcat bound for our snow home, Corroboree Ski Lodge. It is perfectly located a snowball’s throw from the bottom of the Perisher Quad Express chairlift, and the boys grunt with happiness, as they can see the massive jumps in the terrain park – the biggest in the southern hemisphere – from the windows in our spacious corner room. We even have our own enclosed balcony room, which fronts the mountain – a perfect place to watch the sun shimmy over the snow-covered peaks and a tease for what awaits us tomorrow.

On the snow
Perisher's main appeal is that it consists of four separate ski areas – Perisher, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega – with each of them offering a swag of terrain. After a quick and early breakfast, we are first in line for the chairlift and can’t wait to enjoy the day ahead, especially with the fresh snow that fell during the night. We go straight over to Mt Perisher, rather than going down Front Valley. We renew our acquaintance with the runs over Mt Perisher, especially around Eyre and International T-Bars. We then track down Vista and down to Sun Valley, while waiting for the Olympic T-Bar to open. The boys can’t wait any longer, and head off to do some rails and jumps in Happy Valley’s terrain park, before moving over to Front Valley to fly higher and jump longer.
We oldies didn’t want to know about jumps, so we went exploring, skiing across to Blue Cow via Pretty Valley, Interceptor and Brumby. Having never been that way before we are surprised to learn that Brumby comes out right at the top of Blue Cow by the restaurant. Like seagulls at the beach, the boys turn up just in time for us to feed them, and talk enthusiastically about the tricks they did or didn’t nail at the park. Afterwards, we check off some runs at Blue Cow, with the favourite being Outer Limits down to the bottom of the Ridge Quad – one of the longest runs of the entire resort, as well as Kamikaze and the runs off Rollercoaster and North Perisher T-Bar. Then we set off for the very enjoyable run back to Perisher, keeping in mind that we have to be at the bottom of the Pretty Valley chair before 4.30pm otherwise it’s a long walk home.
Next day we clocked up another first: skiing to Smiggin Holes for a look-see and then to Guthega, which for some reason we had never been to before. Guthega is so easy to get to; we head to Blue Cow and then across to Guthega, to the bottom of the new star of Perisher, the Freedom Quad Chair. We spend a happy few hours making up for lost time, and tuck into lunch at the Burning Log to refuel. Back at Perisher, we find the teenagers, chatting with new friends about their park antics, and making plans to head out again for night skiing. Fortunately that’s possible, as we are staying on the snow, although our tired legs are more into lingering in the Corroboree bar.

Image credit: Perisher Ski Resort







Thumbs up

Perisher offers full-day group lessons for kids and teens at Perisher or three-hour lessons (up from two hours last season) at Smiggin Holes or Blue Cow. Ski and snowboard lessons are offered from three years with Discovery Kids.

Image credit: Perisher Ski Resort

Perisher joins Vail Resorts

In late March it was announced that Perisher is being purchased by US snow behemoth Vail Resorts , becoming their first international acquisition. Vail owns some of the best resorts in the USA including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California, and Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons in Utah (which are joining to form North America’s biggest resort in time for next season). To celebrate, the Perisher Freedom Pass with Epic Benefits is on sale until 31 May 2015, allowing unlimited skiing and riding at a number of Vail properties, along with 10 free days at Vail and Beaver Creek.
www.perisher.com.au

Image credit: Perisher Ski Resort

Corroboree Lodge
At the end of a day exploring far and wide on the snow, it is such a relief to not have to pack the car and drive back to Jindabyne. We only have to walk about 100 metres, leave our skis and boots in the ski room and then head for the bar, where jovial Bob is on hand to make a coffee, hot chocolate or pour a beer or wine. The atmosphere is joyous and energised. Dinner is a treat at Corroboree and one of the reasons they have a high rate of return guests. Everyone dines together and the three courses are sure to delight. The kids’ menu is right on the money – even for fussy little eaters.
The hosts, Bob and Anna Tait, go out of their way to ensure all guests are happy and looked after. It feels like visiting friends. The upstairs area is spacious, with one wall covered in DVDs and books – many family favourites are included – and comfy lounges. There is a TV and DVD player as well tucked around the corner. The rooms have been refurbished over the summer, and are sure to be even more welcoming this season.

Perisher Report Card


Information
www.perisher.com.au


Getting there
A six-hour drive from Sydney or two-and-ahalf from Canberra. You will need a NSW National Parks permit to drive into the park (a better option is to buy an Annual Permit which allows access to any National Park in the state), or take the Skitube.


Stay
www.corroboreeskilodge.com.au


Eat

At Blue Cow – Cowpuccino Café is great for a quick and easy lunch or for a longer affair with more choice, head upstairs. At Perisher – the Mid-Perisher Centre is excellent and for an energising hot chocolate, stop off at the Avalunch Café at the bottom of the Pretty Valley chair. At the base of the mountain, the Man From Snowy River hotel is excellent for lunch or for a quick bite, Sundance Bakery is the pick and does great coffee.


Mountain lowdown

Stats

Beginner 22%, Intermediate 60%, Advanced 18%

Lessons

Ski and snowboarding lessons available from three years with the Discovery Kids programme.

Childcare

From six to 24 months

Lifts

47

Terrain parks

Five, plus a half pipe, superpipe and two rider-X courses.

Opening date

Saturday 6 June 2015










Image credit: Perisher Ski Resort



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