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How To Plan the Ultimate Weekend Snow Trip from Sydney

Perisher Valley

Photo supplied by Perisher

Few landscapes are as beautiful as the Snowy Mountains and few things are as fun as skiing and snowboarding with friends and family! Make this winter one to remember by planning the ultimate weekend snow trip with these tips:

Pick Your Dates

Early (June) and late (September) in the season is often cheaper for accommodation and lift passes but the snow is much less reliable and not all runs may be open. July and August are usually the safest bets. If you don’t have kids it’s a good idea to visit outside of school holidays as this is the busiest time of the season when the runs get busy and lift lines are at their longest.

Thredbo Ski Season

Photo supplied by Thredbo

Check the Weather

Of course the weather is hard to predict but ideally you’d have clear, sunny conditions or snow. The worst weather on the hill is rain and also high winds, which can cause the lifts to close. You can look at snow forecasts to try and get an idea of when the best days to go are. The Mountainwatch Snow Forecast is one of the most detailed and reliable available.

It’s also a good idea to follow the Facebook and Instagram pages of each resort as they’ll be sure to let you known when snow is on the way! The live snow cams, available on each resort’s websites, will give you a great idea of what it’s like on the slopes in real time.

Perisher Valley

Photo Supplied by Perisher

Choose Your Resort

The biggest and most popular resorts in NSW are Perisher and Thredbo. You’ll need to decide which one you’ll be visiting or if you’d prefer to check out both. Perisher is the bigger resort and is spread out over 4 different areas, while Thredbo is known for having Australia’s longest and highest runs as well of plenty of events going on in the Thredbo village.

Book Your Accommodation

There are plenty of accommodation options around Perisher and Thredbo, some with ski-in ski-out locations and beautiful views of the snowy mountains. You’ll find everything from hostels to hotels, luxury chalets and self contained apartments. Popular choices are the Thredbo Alpine Hotel or the Perisher Valley Hotel, but there are many different options to cater to different groups and budgets.

A great alternative is to stay in the lakeside town of Jindabyne, which is a 30 minute drive from both Thredbo and Perisher. This can be a great option if you’re visiting both resorts or if you want a greater range of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops to explore. There are options like Rydges Hotel, the Lake Jindabyne Hotel Motel and The Station, as well as plenty of privately owned lodges and guesthouses scattered throughout town.

Get Your Lift Pass

It’s a good idea to book your lift passes online before you go so you don’t spend as much time lining up for them. You’ll also want to grab a trail map or download one to your phone so you know the best places to ride for your ability level.

Thredbo weekend away

Photo supplied by Thredbo

Get Your Gear

If you don’t have all the gear you need for the snow you can hire it for the duration of your trip. This can be done in each resort, in Jindabyne or in a few of the towns on your way to the Snowy Mountains. It can be a good idea to hire your gear from somewhere at the actual resort in case anything breaks or you’ve got the wrong size. That way you can easily swap and get new gear instead of ending your day on the hill early.

It’s best to hire your gear the day before you need it to save you time in the morning. Most places will allow you to pick up your stuff the night before at no extra cost. Skiers will need skis, boots and poles while snowboarders will need a board and boots. You can also hire snow pants and a jacket, as well as protective gear like a helmet and wrist guards. Be aware there are some essential items you can’t hire and must buy separately. These include gloves, goggles, a beanie, socks and thermal layers to keep you warm.

Weekend away in Perisher

Photo Supplied by Perisher

Book Lessons

If you’re a beginner at skiing or snowboarding it’s recommended you take a lesson from a qualified instructor. These can be be booked through the Perisher or Thredbo websites or in person at the resort. Snow sports are complex and not very intuitive so it’s best to learn how to safely progress with the help of a professional. These lessons can be great to not only learn the ropes but to also orient yourself with how your equipment works, how to use the chairlifts, carpets or rope tows, as well as to learn the best places to ski and snowboard for your ability. There are classes for different ability levels and age groups so that you can continue to learn and improve at any age or stage.

Ski Season Thredbo

Photo supplied by Thredbo

Plan Your Travel

Most people choose to drive from Sydney to the snow, which takes about 6 hours. This allows a lot of freedom for exploring the resorts and nearby towns at your leisure but be aware that driving in the mountains can be dangerous due to snow, ice, winding roads and wildlife. If there’s snow and ice on the road you’ll need to have chains ready to put on your tyres. These can be hired at service stations and ski-hire shops. You’ll also need to buy a National Parks Pass if you’ll be parking at the resorts. Another option is to drive most of the way and then catch the Perisher Skitube the final distance to Perisher. This often avoids driving on snow and ice and having to buy a National Parks Pass.

If you’d rather not drive you can take a flight from Sydney to Canberra and catch a bus or use a hire car to get to the mountains, or take a REX regional flight to the town of Cooma. Taking a bus or coach from Sydney can be a great idea to save you time and energy driving yourself.

Now you’ve got everything planned, all that’s left to do is to enjoy your snow holiday! You’re sure to love the mountain views, the fireplaces, hot chocolates and getting fresh turns through the snow.

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