Rather than go too far afield, head to neighbourly Australia for some of the best snow fields in the Southern Hemisphere.
Most of Australia’s ski fields are located in either the Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and home to Banjo’s famed Snowy Mountains) or the neighbouring Alpine National Park in Victoria.
Both offer an aesthetically majestic experience — and for many Australians, also a deeply cultural one. If you've seen a silver, red and yellow snow gum submerged in morning snow, you'll never forget it.
The big questions are, where and when should you go? Find out below!
Concentrated in New South Wales and Victoria, each of Australia's ski fields makes a unique contribution to the skiing landscape. Whether you’re taking young kids, you’re a solo traveller, or a grey nomad, or you’re looking for a couple’s getaway, here are five options to get you dreaming and planning.
Thredbo puts a lot of effort into catering for families, both on and off the snow. There’s a seemingly endless list of activities for everyone, including the September Kids' Snow Festival, Thredboland, kids' disco golf and the Thredbo Leisure centre.
Discounts are an incentive too, with children's prices applying to everyone under-18 for lifts and lessons, and promotions like "kids ski free" in September.
Thedbo also hosts the annual Torah Bright Mini Shred event, where the Australian Olympic snowboarder and her pro friends spend the day at the resort, coaching intermediate skiers and boarders under 18 in their own terrain park.
The resort's numerous awards testify to the high calibre of its offerings on all fronts.
Perisher includes Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega. This is Australia's largest ski resort, and there's enough here to keep everyone happy — especially seniors who might appreciate the resort's quieter feel.
There's still plenty to do here, particularly when it comes to enjoying nature. The snow quality is also good and the weather is reliable.
Perisher has access to many kilometres of cross-country skiing trails. Bushwalking on skis (as the PXC, an organised volunteer group of cross country skiers, puts it) is a great way to experience the beauty of the national park under a blanket of snow, at close quarters.
Perisher is also included in a great value multi-destination ticket (the Epic Australia Pass), giving you access to Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham — as well as Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu in Japan, and several US resorts, including Park City, Vail and Breckenridge.
Mt Hotham offers some of the best powder terrain in the country, and is favoured by expert skiers, with runs like Heavenly Valley and One Tree Hill offering a challenge to seasoned skiers.
Snowboarders can find a challenge at the terrain parks, and take advantage of the Boardercross Course, built to World Cup standards.
Conveniently, you can cut your ski and snowboard teeth on the Cobungra Platter ski and snowboard hill before exposing yourself to the mercy of Mt Hotham.
The resort also hosts Women's Ski Week, dedicated to improving skills for female skiers who can confidently ski on blue terrain or higher. The program includes instruction from top female coaches, as well as après events. There's also the Women's Snowboard Shred Session, and several other women-only activities for various levels of skill.
There are affordable accommodation options for solo travellers, like the Karnulurra Ski Lodge, offering single bookings and communal spaces where you can mingle with other guests. Or stay at Dinner Plain, 15 minutes down the road, for that alpine village feel, where there are some good lodging options, such as the cosy home-away-from-home Cloud 9 Alpine lodge.
Après ski is considered to be livelier here than at other Australian resorts, with a variety of bars, nightclubs and restaurants to cater to your inner party animal.
Completely snowbound in winter, there's no way into or out of Charlotte Pass except by oversnow transport. So if you want to have some quality time with your significant other and you both love the snow, this is the resort for you.
Here you'll find some of the most consistent snowfalls in the country, and the best quality snow. Novice and expert snowriders will find themselves equally enthralled at Australia's highest resort (1760m above sea level).
Charlotte Pass is also linked by cross country ski trails to Perisher and Smiggins, offering a different, slower exposure to the quiet natural attractions that are sometimes harder to appreciate when you're whizzing down on skis or snowboard.
All of the accommodation at Charlotte Pass is ski-in-ski-out. You've got a variety of options, including the romantic tower room at the famous Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel with every convenience you can think of thrown in.
Selwyn Resort doesn't try to be all things to all people. It happily bills itself as the "learn to ski" resort, geared towards "family friendly fun" and "providing affordable skiing". If you're looking for a high-end experience, wrong way, go back!
But it's absolutely the place to go if you want a classic family holiday, where you spend all your time together (for better or for worse), and the days already look like those sepia-tinted photos of your childhood.
Be aware, you can't stay on-mountain — lodging is dotted around in nearby locations. Also, it's a good idea to take cash and/or your own packed lunch.
The Australian ski season starts during the Queen's Birthday long weekend. It usually goes through till the end of September, but some resorts extend the period when conditions are right. Here's a guide to what happens when:
You're likely to get more snow at this time. Snowfall is a bit unreliable at all but the highest elevations, but snowmaking takes care of that, particularly at the big resorts.
This is a good time to go if you're looking for cheaper hotel prices, ski packages and good deals all round. It's touch and go whether you’ll have good coverage though. You'll have to play it by ear.
While some ski fields close in mid or even early September, those still open will be more relaxed and cheaper. What’s not to love about skiing in a t-shirt?
People don’t believe avalanches happen in Australia, but they do off-piste. They often happen because of heavy snow, but they can be deadly. To avoid being trapped in one, you might be able to take an avalanche course at the resort you’re staying at.
It’s called a sunburnt country...and that means snowfall can be fickle. Seasonal outlooks are difficult to predict, so if you’re booking shoulder season passes, you might be taking chances.
If you purchase a Winter Sports Pack, tobogganing is covered as a ‘winter sports activity.’ But if tobogganing is banned at your resort, then you won’t be covered.
Being intoxicated is a general exclusion under the 1Cover policy wording and you will not be covered.
Our policy states that any claim arising from being intoxicated, addicted or under the influence of liquor or drugs, except those prescribed by a medical adviser, will not be covered.