One of the best things about Perisher Resort is its size. As the largest resort in the southern hemisphere, it is home to 1,245 hectares of skiable terrain. The resort is known for its reliable snow conditions and is often the first resort to open and the last to close each snow season, no doubt contributing to its win as Australia’s Best Ski Resort in 2016 at the World Ski Awards.
Consisting of four resort areas – Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega – Perisher can accommodate up to 53,990 skiers per hour. It boasts Australia’s only half pipe and views across the main range to Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko.
Skiing in Australia is different from skiing in other parts of the world; it’s quite an experience. For starters, you’re not skiing through pine trees, you’re skiing through gum trees, which has a beauty all its own.
Most of the snow is man made, particularly early in the season, and with daily temperatures of around 7 degrees Celsius this time of year, I’m convinced Australia is the only place you can snowboard in a t-shirt!
With its long runs and varied terrain, the resort is suited to beginners and advanced skiers alike. If you’re taking it easy, the Village Eight Express lift will take you up Front Valley, a beginners’ area that is well maintained with a gentle slope.
Another option is the Perisher Quad Express Chair which will take you to Goats Gully and Happy Valley, both also green runs.
Head over to Blue Cow for more fun, where you’ll find wide, smooth runs providing easy slopes for those still finding their feet. If you’re looking to step it up, Side Saddle on the other side of the Blue Cow Valley is a great run and is on the easier end of the blue scale.
For the more advanced, check out Zali’s at Blue Cow, or any of the black runs that come off the Ridge Quad Chair. Over at Perisher Mountain, you’ll find plenty of runs to enjoy off the Perisher Quad Express like Dogleg and Olympic. If terrain parks are more your thing, test your limits at PlayStation Yabby Flat Mini Park or the PlayStation SlopeStyle Terrain Park on Front Valley.
The resort offers night skiing every Tuesday and Saturday. The best part? It’s free for 2017 Epic Australia Pass holders and guests holding a valid full day lift ticket. There are also fireworks at Front Valley every Tuesday and Saturday at 7.20 pm.
A lesson is a great option if you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, or if you’re looking to brush up your technique. During my two-day visit I took two Max6 ski lessons, a lesson each day, starting at the novice level and moving up to intermediate the following day. The way the lessons at Perisher are structured, you can choose to move up, down or remain in the same skill level, as you progress each day.
On my second day our instructor, Sam Ladds, provided the group with some great tips for improving our technique and gaining confidence on the mountain. Visiting all the way from the UK, Sam is one of more than 400 qualified instructors at Perisher and is available to be booked.
There’s no shortage of fun to be had at Perisher. Not skiing? Take the scenic quad chair to the summit of Mount Perisher for stunning views of the area or check out the Mount Piper Slope.
If you want to stay on-snow, the Perisher Valley Hotel is ideally situated. There are limited accommodation options at Perisher due to its national park location so we stayed in Jindabyne. We had a very comfortable stay at the Alpine Gables Hotel, best known for its Brumby Bar. The spacious room offered plenty of comfortable bedding (perfect for families), a kitchenette and convenient access to the ski fields.
Perisher is an easy 35-minute drive from Jindabyne, New South Wales, through Kosciusko National Park. There are fees to enter the national park and 2wd vehicles are required to carry snow chains in winter.
Jindabyne is just under five hours drive from Sydney and two hours from Canberra. Regional Express (Rex) offers flights between Sydney and the Snowy Mountains on certain days – fares start at $149 each way (plus booking fees).
Perisher was recently purchased by Vail Resorts, providing access to some of North America’s best snow resorts for Epic Australia Pass holders. Vail Resorts own and manage 13 world-class resorts globally, including Beaver Creek and Breckenridge in Colorado, Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and Park City, Utah.
Read about our recent trip to Park City here.
With recent snowfall, more expected over the next couple of weeks, and cold weather providing ideal snowmaking conditions, there’s plenty of fun to be had in the powder at Perisher.
If you go:
Perisher Valley NSW 2624
Tel: 1300 655 822
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With thanks to Perisher Resort for providing Alise with a two-day lift pass and lessons. Photos with Food Wine Travel watermark © Alise Salins. Other photos supplied by Perisher Resort & used with their permission.