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During the Australian winter, powderhounds from near and far make a beeline for NSW and Victoria to catch some of the nation's best snow.
Between the two states, there's healthy handful of resorts to choose from. If you're stuck on where to head this year, our guide compares eight of the best to get you over the line.
Then it's just a matter of dusting off your boots, packing the car and hitting the road.
Restrictions due to Melbourne's July coronavirus outbreak
Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreaks, anyone living in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will not be allowed to enter ski areas. Some ski lifts and resorts have closed across Victoria and will consider reopening when restrictions are set to ease after 19 August 2020.
Mount Hotham and Falls Creek will not be opening for the rest of the 2020 season.
If further announcements are made, we'll update this page with more information.
Despite being home to the longest ski run in Australia, Thredbo's main claim to fame is its off-piste action.
If you're more concerned around warm fires and schnapps than snow conditions, then this is the ski resort for you. With 11 ski-in ski-out restaurants on the mountain and plenty of shops, cafes and bars in the village, Thredbo has you covered.
Location: Kosciusko National Park, New South Wales (5-6 hour drive from Sydney)
Best for advanced skiers/boarders and ski/in-ski/out accommodation
If you’re looking for a more thigh-challenging ski holiday, then Mt Hotham could be the place for you. It's a purpose-built ski resort renowned for its steep verticals and challenging terrain.
The village is unique as it's located on top of the mountain, instead of at the bottom like traditional resorts. This not only means that you ski down for the first lifts of the day, but you're also staying up in the clouds.
Location: Australian Alps National Park, Victoria (4.5-hour drive from Melbourne)
Falls Creek takes first prize for having the prettiest alpine village. This resort has a small village that's full of restaurants, cafes and bars. Like Charlotte Pass, Falls Creek is a good one for beginners.
Unlike other mountains, here beginners are not relegated to the lower slopes. More than 80% of the mountain is dedicated to beginner and intermediate skiers so there is plenty to ski for all.
Location: Alpine National Park, Victoria (5-hour drive from Melbourne)
The closest ski area to Melbourne at just 150km away, Mount Baw Baw sits in a vast national park and is surrounded by alpine walking trails and gum trees.
The resort offers a small, intimate village and access to snow play areas, toboggan hills and 10km of groomed cross-country ski trails.
Location: Baw Baw Plateau and National Park, Victoria (3-hour drive from Melbourne)
Runs and terrain: 25 (33% beginner, 48% intermediate, 19% advanced)
Skiable terrain: 35 hectares
Vertical: 104 metres
Best for quiet slopes
One of the smaller resorts on the NSW side of Kosciusko National Park, Sewlyn is hailed as a premier learn-to-ski area. Unfortunately the resort is closed for the 2020 season due to damage from the bushfires earlier in the year. We'll update this space if that changes, or when we get information about when it's able to open again.
Location: Kosciusko National Park, New South Wales (5.5 hour drive from Sydney)
Most of Australia's ski resorts are in the south-east corner of the country in the Snowy Mountains.
When is the best time to ski in Australia?
The snow season runs from June to September in Australia, with specific dates depending on the snowfall per resort. The best time to arrive for snow and price is mid-June to mid-July or August both of which are shoulder seasons. Unless you have kids, it's best to avoid the winter school holidays as popular resorts get heavily overcrowded.
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Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned professional, snow trips always come with an increased risk of injury. But injury is not the only unexpected financial cost you can experience. Bad weather and ski lift closures can leave you with unused ski passes, and costly equipment can easily get lost or damaged. The risks involved in ski holidays are unique, so it makes sense to acquire snow specific travel insurance. This guide will outline the benefits of winter travel insurance and what to look out for when comparing policy options.
Key winter specific insurance features
In the event of a serious accident on the ski fields, snow travel insurance cover can ensure that you are covered for emergency evacuation to the hospital and even for helicopter rescue if this is required.
In the event that you forced to cancel your trip due to extreme weather such as blizzards and snowstorms, your snow travel insurance cover will enable you to recoup prepaid costs and expenses.
Ski equipment is and always has been expensive, especially within Australia. Winter sports travel insurance will ensure that in the event of loss or damage to you ski or snowboard equipment, you will be able to make a claim to cover the costs. This cover can apply for your own equipment and hire equipment, with some policies providing an additional benefit to cover the costs of hiring new equipment. In the event that your transport carrier has misdirected or delayed your equipment for a period longer than 24 hours, the insurer will cover the costs of you hiring new equipment.
Some people spend a long time looking forward to their trip, travelling to their destination, getting the equipment they need and then finding that once they get there the weather is too bad to hit the slopes. Many snow travel insurance plans will cover you for transport and accommodation expenses if you are forced to travel to a new resort.
Depending on which cover you take out, you may also be covered for unused ski passes, equipment hire and lessons in the event that you are unwell or as a result of loss or theft.
Many providers will allow you to take out additional cover for single-trip heli-skiing trips for an additional premium loading. This cover can be purchased after starting your trip, provided it is taken out at least 24 hours prior to beginning your heli-ski trip. It is worth noting that most insurers will not provide cover for any event that has occurred while travelling in a helicopter or disembarking a helicopter. It is worth noting that the inclusion of this option on your policy will generally require an additional excess to be paid in the event of a claim.
Some providers will cover the cost of transport to a new resort and the provision of additional ski passes in the event that you are forced to move to a new resort due to lift systems being closed on account of;
Stephanie Yip is the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for Travel Weekly, Escape, Showpo, The Nibbler and Hostelworld. She was also the editor of kids magazine DMAG. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney and has visited 55 countries (and counting).
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