Perisher, part of the mighty Vail Resorts ski
company, links Australian skiing to the world
and still offers the best of what’s available down
under, as Hilary Doling discovers.
oaming hot chocolate with
whipped cream as high as a
mountain peak sat on the table in
front of us. We were at the
Avalunch Cafe near the base of
the Pretty Valley Double Chair, deciding
where to ski next. The trail map showed us
valleys with names so appealing surely we
can’t help but enjoy ourselves: Pretty Valley,
Happy Valley and Sun Valley. My son was
keen to try Australia’s only Superpipe
housed on Front Valley, and I wanted to test
my skills on Mother-in-Law, despite the
intimidating name. Whatever we chose, with
four valleys and over 1245 hectares of
snowy terrain, we were spoilt for choice.
Best of all, at the end of the day we didn’t
have far to go for a hot shower and an
evening meal because one of the best
things about Perisher is the opportunity to
stay right on the snow. Families who choose
this option reach their accommodation by
Hans Oversnow, a transporter with
caterpillar treads that crawls slowly up the
incline. When we arrive flakes are falling fast,
great splodges hitting the windscreen. My
son has a grin from ear to ear; falling snow
means fun. The lodges scattered around the
edge of the slopes look as if they are
snoozing under great doonas of the white
stuff, piled on their roofs.
Convenience on the slopes
You could drive up from Jindabyne and park
your car for the day, but why would you? It is
far more exciting to take the Skitube, the
special train which whizzes you right up to the
centre of Perisher. Those staying on snow for
a few days can park in the overnight car park
in Bullocks Flat at the bottom of the Skitube.
Simply roll your cases onto the train and
porters will help you transport them to the
upper level when you arrive.
Once at the top, anywhere you stay on
the mountain is just a short walk to a lift
or a run and Perisher has a full range of
accommodation from star-rated hotels
to cosy intimate lodges.
We are staying at Perisher Manor, a
family-owned and -operated hotel, with an
unbeatable location right by the Village 8
Express chair and warm hospitality. It boasts
one of only a few truly ski-in, ski-out locations
on the mountain.
Perisher’s Snowy Day Care is perfect for
the non-skiing littlies. Ski school caters for
all ages right up to easily bored teenagers.
Kids are grouped with other children of
similar age and standard when taking part in
any snowsports activities, so new friends are
often made on the slopes.
Perisher was established in 1995 following
the merger of four separate resorts –
Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Mt Blue Cow
and Guthega – making it the largest ski
resort in the southern hemisphere. Last year
it joined the mighty Vail Resorts family.
The good news for visitors is that this
means you can purchase an Epic Australia
Pass which gives you unlimited skiing and
boarding at Perisher during the 2016 ski
season. More than that, it also gives you
access to eight world-class resorts in the
United States for the 2016/2017 ski season
including Park City, Northstar, Keystone,
Heavenly, Kirkwood, Breckenridge and 10
days at Vail and/or Beaver Creek combined.
A wealth of activities
However, there’s plenty to entertain in
Australia. It takes seven mountain peaks to
make up Perisher’s ski area, with 22 per cent
of the terrain suiting beginners. The resort’s
other credentials are impressive, too. It has
47 lifts, which can shift 53,990 riders per
hour. Kids will love the fact there are two
Rider X courses, five terrain parks (including
one under lights) – more than any other
Australian alpine resort. There is also a
halfpipe and a mini halfpipe at Yabby Flats.
Add to this the option to try ice skating,
tobogganing, snowshoeing, cross-country
skiing and tubing and you may have to stay
on snow for the whole season (June to
October) just to get through all the activities.
Every parent knows that it is hard to
scoop ski-mad kids off the slopes at the end
of the day. Luckily every Tuesday (all
season) and Saturday (July and August)
evenings there’s night skiing on Front Valley.
We were there on a chilly Tuesday and I
wimped out, watching from the window as
the chairlift kept going until 9.30pm, carrying
hardy skiers up into the misty night.
***PERISHER REPORT CARD***
Drive yourself or fly to Cooma with Regional
Express Airlines (from Sydney) or Canberra
(other major airlines) and catch a transfer.
You must purchase a Skitube ticket for travel
between Bullocks Flat and Perisher Valley
which can be added on to your lift ticket at a
The Snowy Daycare is good for the
non-skiing littlies. Kids from three onwards
can take lessons and are grouped by age
and standard. Kids’ lessons are available for
all ages up to 15 years.