The strong Aussie dollar has been luring Australian skiers abroad, but domestic resorts are fighting back with hefty price cuts, discounts and specials for the 2012 season.
Giving skiers and boarders hip-pocket reasons to play at home seems to be the major theme of the big resorts in New South Wales and Victoria.
Perisher is offering those who book and pay early up to 30 per cent off what they'll pay after they arrive.
Early Bird specials bought before May 31 include the new any-five-in-seven days lift ticket, plus a free afternoon of skiing with any three or more days lift tickets and beginner lift and lesson packages.
Perisher is also offering discounted three and four-day midweek tickets in July and August.
Thredbo has discounts of up to 15 per cent for those who buy early online, and a similar cut for three and five-day midweek passes in selected weeks during the peak season of July and August.
Falls Creek is slashing some prices to below what they were in 2011.
A five-day lift ticket, for example, will be cut from $482 to $424, weekend passes will be cut from $212 to $185 in peak season for adults, from $180 to $157 for youths and from $106 to $93 for children.
Value season prices are also reduced.
Mt Hotham's best specials equate to $85 a day for adults in peak season, and $43 for kids, and even less in value season.
Kids can ski free in value season when accompanied by adults on packages of three days or more.
Charlotte Pass and Mt Selwyn also have kids-ski-free deals, some of which must be booked early.
Mt Buller is offering a swag of specials, too, as well outlaying the biggest single investment for the 2012 season, a $3.1 million chairlift.
The Bonzer quad chair, combined with expanded snowmaking and a new ticketing system, is part of a $5 million outlay at Victoria's busiest resort.
The chair will boost the popular gladed area between the Horse Hill and Grimus lifts.
Spanning 530 metres with a vertical rise of 135 metres, it replaces the Burnt Hut chairlift lost to lightning damage in 2010.
To support it, Buller is expanding snowmaking operations on the Burnt Hut Spur, with a new 200-metre trail with fully automated snowmaking machines.
"This new chairlift is a terrific addition, particularly for day visitors who will be able to access this terrain directly from Horse Hill," said Laurie Blampied, general manager of Buller Ski Lifts.
"We are all passionate about this mountain and these investments demonstrate our commitment to future growth."
Falls Creek and Mt Hotham are both rolling out a new electronic point of sale and ticketing systems which will get guests onto the slopes quicker.
They will allow guests to organise their snow holidays online, with pre-purchase of lift tickets and lessons, and bookings for hire gear and Snowsports School programs.
"It's important to provide systems that create more time on the slopes for our guests," said Falls Creek marketing manager Nick Noble.
"We all value our time and the ability to maximise time on the slopes is paramount," said Mt Hotham's Gina Woodward.
Perisher is spending $600,000 on new snowmaking at Blue Cow and expanding its fleet of groomers by three to 21.
Falls Creek and Thredbo have also purchased new groomers.
Charlotte Pass has new all-day kids programs, a new 20-seater oversnow vehicle for arrivals and departures, and the Mt Kosciuszko Chalet has introduced a snow guarantee scheme in case of bad weather.
Mt Selwyn is upgrading facilities at its picnic and toboggan area with a shelter containing electric barbecues, first aid equipment, vending machines and a telephone.
Here's how the winter of 2012 is shaping up at Australia's major resorts ahead of the June 9 opening:
NEW SOUTH WALES
Australia's biggest ski resort, created by the merger of four resorts into one.
It features an extensive investment in snowmaking and grooming and a lift capacity to rival many resorts in the US and Europe.
Perisher offers more than 100 groomed runs and 47 lifts, spread over seven mountain peaks.
It has five terrain parks, a Rider X course, Australia's only superpipe and a village with ski-in, ski-out accommodation.
- Over $600,000 invested to improve snowmaking quality and output on Roller Coaster at Blue Cow.
- Three more snow groomers taking the fleet to 21.
- Over $400,000 spent replacing ski and snowboard equipment for the various Perisher Snowsports Hire outlets.
- Demo Store on the lower level of the Perisher Centre will enable guests to try before they buy.
- Refurbishment of the Smiggin Holes Ticket Office will speed up the purchasing process.
- Sunkid Rotondo Carousel to improve children's programs.
- MyRide Dashboard will add exciting new functionality where guests can track the areas of the mountain skied; vertical metres skied and share with family and friends.
* Savings of up to 30 per cent for online lift tickets and lessons purchased before May 31.
* Free lift access on the afternoon before the first full-day skiing or snowboarding on all three, four and five-day lift tickets and beginner lift & lesson packages.
* Five in seven-day lift ticket from $295.
* Beginner lift & lesson packages with access to those lifts suitable for beginners. Five-days from $318.
* Three and four-day midweek lift ticket specials in July and August.
OFF PISTE ACTIVITIES:
Numerous night clubs, bars and restaurants, groomer tours, Nordic snowshoeing, tubing, night skiing on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Six hours by road from Sydney or seven hours from Melbourne. Less than three from Canberra. Cooma airport is 45km from Jindabyne, Perisher's nearest town.
The Perisher Valley Hotel is the most up-market of some two dozen commercial hotels and lodges on the snow, and located at the base of the lift system. There are also numerous private club lodges. The major alternative is to sleep at Jindabyne, and do the half-hour daily commute. Jindabyne has scores of lakeside apartments and houses for rent.
Village altitudes: Perisher Valley 1720m, Smiggin Holes 1680m, Guthega 1640m, Blue Cow Terminal 1890m.
Lifts: 47, including one eight-seat high-speed chair, six quad chairs, four double chairs, two triples, 21 T-bars, four J-bars, four ski carpets.
Highest lifted point: Mt Perisher double chair 2034m.
Lift capacity: 52,903 skiers per hour.
Terrain: Beginner 22 per cent, intermediate 60 per cent, advanced 18 per cent.
Skiable area: 1245ha
Vertical descent: 355m
Longest run: Three kilometres
Terrain parks: Five
Cross-country: Over 100km of marked trails.
Snow making: 40ha, 154 snow guns
Grooming machines: 21
Average maximum snow depth: 1.9m.
Fine weather days during winter: 70 per cent.
MORE INFORMATION: www.perisher.com.au
Thredbo Village, set within Kosciuszko National Park, is one of Australia's highest alpine towns, up to 1930 metres above sea level, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007. The village is famous for its cosmopolitan, European-style atmosphere and the slopes for their long runs and vast vertical descent.
- Buy Early and Save program through the Thredbo eStore on a selected range of products including two-day or more lift pass, two-day or more lift & lesson, and two to seven-day Thredbo Starter Package. Buy 28 or more days in advance and save 15 per cent, seven or more days in advance and save 10 per cent.
- Electronic access extended to every lift and T-bar across the mountain.
- Phone App gives access to information on weather, snow, dining, wining, activities, videos, pics and trail tracking.
- More fun in June and September value season. Buy a one-day or multi-day Thredbo lift pass and get access to the entire resort for free-swim in the 50m heated pool and use the waterslide, work out in the gym, have a hit of squash or tennis or play in the sports hall.
- Bonus half-day of riding when you buy a three, four, five, six or seven-day lift pass.
- Group lessons for children aged seven-14 years are changing from two to three hours.
- $500,000 groomer specifically designed to work in the terrain parks.
- $350,000 worth of new gear at Thredbo Sports Equipment Hire.
- Thredbo Sports Retail opens a new store, Heads Up, in Valley Terminal, specialising in helmets, goggles and music integration systems.
* Super Saver Weeks. In selected weeks in July and August you get 15 per cent off the three-day and five-day midweek passes.
* More for the Family. Five nights apartment style accommodation, five-day Thredbo Lift pass, includes use of Thredbo Leisure Centre and tennis courts, for two adults and two children under 14. From $2537 per family. Valid during June and September Value Season dates.
* Three-day Super Saver. Three nights lodge style accommodation, three breakfasts, three-day lift pass. From $646 per person twin share and $601 per person quad share. Valid various dates in July & August.
* Three, five and seven-day Kids Stay & Ski Free. Three/five/seven nights accommodation lodge style, three/five/seven breakfasts, three/five/seven day lift pass. Three days from $1282 per family (two adults, two children under 14), five days from $2044 per family, seven days from $ 2902 per family. Valid during Value Season.
* Five-day Super Saver. Five nights accommodation lodge style, five breakfasts, five-day lift pass. From $1036 per person twin share and $741 per person quad share. Valid various dates in July and August.
* Three-day Break-Cheeky Ski. Three nights accommodation, three breakfasts, three-day lift pass. From $551 per person twin share and $506 per person four share. Valid during Value Season.
* Improve your Groove. Five nights accommodation, five breakfasts + four dinners, Thredbo Exclusive HIP or WHIP program in July and August; five-day Thredbo lift pass, five hours of skiing and tuition per day. Video analysis with individual assessment. From $2207 per person twin share and $2757 per person single share.
OFF PISTE ACTIVITIES:
Mountain biking, scenic walks, free night skiing twice weekly, snowshoeing, snow climbing, snow camping, squash, indoor swimming, minigolf, vast range of wining and dining options.
Six to seven hours (500km) by road from both Sydney and Melbourne, and 2.5 hours from Canberra. Cooma airport is an hour away by road. Thredbo has over 2500 car park spaces available with both day and overnight parking.
Capacity of 4000 people ranging from a youth hostel, B and B's and club lodges to hotels, motels, apartments, chalets and a four-star hotel.
Skiable area: 480ha
Vertical drop: 672m
Base elevation: 1365m
Summit Elevation: 2037m
Terrain: Beginner/novice 16 per cent, intermediate 67 per cent, advanced/expert 17 per cent.
Longest run: 5.9km (Karels T-bar to Friday Flat).
Lifts: 14, including Kosciuszko Express bottom to top in seven minutes.
Average snowfall: 203cm
Snowmaking: one third of the resort.
MORE INFORMATION: www.thredbo.com.au
At 1760 metres, it is the highest resort in Australia and therefore apt to attract snow.
All of the accommodation and facilities are ski-in ski-out. With almost all the skiable terrain in one bowl, it's easy for parents to keep an eye on their kids.
Charlotte Pass is one of the smaller resorts, with a capacity of around 600 people, and prides itself on the absence of cars, buses and long lift queues. Access is by snow cat from Perisher Valley.
- All Day Kids Program for children aged three-eight years, includes two x two hr lessons, hot lunch and supervised activities for $99.
- Rotondo Kids Lift, exclusively for All Day program, designed to assist children learn to use lifts.
- Start of a three-year program to reduce waiting times for hire equipment.
- High Tea every afternoon in the Adams Cocktail Lounge.
- Weekly Kids Flare Run.
- Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel snow guarantee. If the Kosi Carpet, Osko Carpet & Kosciuszko Triple Chair (to mid station) are not operating due to snow cover five days before your arrival, you can transfer your stay to another date in the 2012 season.
- Additional 20-seater oversnow vehicle added to the fleet.
- Expanded School Holiday Program includes fireworks display on Saturday night with a free hot chocolate or Gluhwein.
- Expanded Winter Festival. August 19-25 events include Flare Run, Outdoor Ice Bar, Road Gap Jump, Free Tubin Tuesday, Masked Party, Wine Tasting Lunch, Standard Race, finishing with a Fireworks display. Daily barbecue out the front of the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel, with live music and kids entertainment.
* Ski free in July. Two-seven days accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner included daily. Full mountain pass from day of arrival to day of departure, free return oversnow transport. Valid between July 15 and 28 only, must be booked and paid in full by April 30.
* Weekend Getaways. Save more than 25 per cent. Two nights accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner included daily, three day All Mountain lift pass, return oversnow transport, $699 per adult, $299 per child.
* Stay & Play Midweek Special June or September. Save 30 per cent. Five nights accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner included daily, six-day All Mountain lift pass, six-day equipment hire, five x 1.5hr group lessons (Monday to Friday), return oversnow transport, $1210 per adult, $659 per child, arriving Sunday June 24, departing Friday June 29 or arriving Sunday September 9 departing Friday September 14.
* Family Festival Fun. Save over 30 per cent. Five nights accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner included daily; six-day All Mountain lift pass, return oversnow transport, $3999 for a family of four (two adults two children) arriving Sunday August 19 departing Friday August 24.
* Snowsports Starter Special. Save over 25 per cent. Five nights accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner included daily, six-day All Mountain pass (restrictions on first three days), six-day equipment hire, five 1.5hr group beginner lessons, one 2.5hr lunch-time Snowshoe Tour, return oversnow transport, $1799 per adult, $799 per child, arriving Sunday July 22 and departing Friday July 27.
Six hours by road from Sydney and seven from Melbourne. Access takes 25 minutes by snow cat from Perisher Valley.
The Bavarian-style Kosciuszko Chalet, with its distinctive dome, is the centre of the small village and is one of the iconic buildings of the Snowy Mountains. All rooms have spectacular valley or mountain views. Frosty's kids club for children aged three-13 is complimentary for hotel guests, and operates through the day and into the night. There are also a dozen lodges.
OFF PISTE ACTIVITIES:
The chalet has cosy lounges, blazing log fires, two bars, a cafe, kids club, live entertainment, restaurant, gift shop, general store and massage therapist. Night skiing twice weekly. Back-country tours, snowshoe tours.
Village population: 600
Village Base: 1765m
Highest lifted point: 1954m
Vertical drop: 189m
Average fine days: 75 per cent
Average snowfall: 1.8m
Skiable area: 50ha
Groomed area: 40ha
Lifts: four (plus portable tow rope)
Terrain: Easy 10 per cent, intermediate 80 per cent, advanced 10 per cent.
Freestyle terrain park offers jumps, tabletops and rails.
MORE INFORMATION: www.charlottepass.com.au
An ideal spot for learners where skiing is at its most affordable. Why pay the ticket prices of the big resorts when you can't ski on half the terrain? Selwyn caters for up to 2000 people per day, and offers food and retail outlets, equipment and clothing hire, and ski school.
- Half-day and full-day lessons for children aged seven-15, as well as under sevens. Morning and afternoon tea is provided.
- Picnic and toboggan facilities upgrade now underway will comprise a barbecue shelter, first aid equipment, vending machines and a telephone. Located adjacent to the toboggan and snow play area.
* Value season three-day package: Includes three nights accommodation, three-day lift & lesson passes and three days ski equipment hire for two adults and two children (seven to 15). $1226 price includes Kids Ride & Hire for free. Valid June 9-22 and September 3 to October 1, 2012 staying at Anglers Reach Lakeside Village in self-contained cabins.
* Peak midweek package: Includes three nights accommodation, three-day lift & lesson passes and three days ski equipment hire for two adults and two children (seven to 15). $1326 price includes Kids Ride & Hire for free. Valid June 23-29 June and July 16 to September 2, 2012.
* Peak midweek five day: Includes five nights accommodation, five-day lift & lesson passes and five days ski equipment hire for two adults and two children (seven to 15). $1918 price includes Kids Ride & Hire for free. Valid June 23-29 June and July 16 to September 2.
* Peak midweek snowboard package: Includes five nights accommodation, five-day lift & lesson passes and five days snowboard equipment hire for two adults and two children (seven to 15). $1948 price includes Kids Ride & Hire for free. Valid June 23-29 and July 16 to September 2.
* Early bird peak three day: Includes three nights accommodation and three-day lift & lesson passes for two adults and two children (seven to 15). $1152 price includes free lessons. Valid June 23-29 and July 16 to September 2.
Two snow tube parks are both serviced by lifts. There is also a toboggan park (without lift). Also snowshoeing and snow biking.
A comfortable 2.5-hour drive from Canberra, 5.5 hours from Sydney or 6.5 hours from Melbourne. Turn off at Cooma. Day parking is free. There is no overnight parking. National park entry fee is $27 per vehicle. Snow chains are advised.
No accommodation on the mountain, so most visitors stay in the nearby townships of Adaminaby or Talbingo, 30-40 minutes drive away. By booking accommodation through the resort's authorised agent, Snowy Mountains Holiday Centre, guests can receive considerable savings on lift passes, lessons and ski hire. These deals are not available at the resort.
Skiable area: 45ha
Terrain: Easiest 40 per cent, more difficult 48 per cent, most difficult 12 per cent
Lifts: 10 plus two snow tube lifts
Highest elevation: 1614m
Lowest elevation: 1492m
Lifting capacity: 9500 people per hour
Cross-country skiing: 45km of marked trails ranging from 2.5-15km.
MORE INFORMATION: www.selwynsnow.com.au
Hotham's mountaintop village, with a capacity for 7000 guests, is the highest in Victoria. It offers superb views over a resort featuring diverse terrain from beginners to expert. It is the only Australian resort with its own airport, 20km away.
- Electronic point of sale and ticketing system allowing guests to pre-purchase online lift tickets, lessons, equipment hire and register kids into Snowsports School.
* Discounts include three-day lift passes for $270 and five-day passes in peak season which work out at $85 a day for adults and $43 for kids.
* Weekend-only deals offering a two-day pass for $185 for adults and $93 for kids are available all season long and are cheaper in the value season (June 9-22 and September 17-30).
* Kids ski free during value season when accompanied by a paying adult and prebooked with a three night or more accommodation package.
* Under-fives ski free every day.
* Free activities include fireworks displays on select nights throughout the season, family entertainment at Harry the Snowdragons shows, first tracks skiing from 7.30am on Wednesday- Sunday in peak season, Kat Skiing at Golden Point, and access to the cross-country ski trails.
* Value season (June 9-22 and September 17-30) savings of up to 50 per cent on three day or more pre-booked holiday packages.
* Lecture free Fridays. Full-time tertiary students get 50 per cent off adult one day lift pass prices every Friday of the season.
* Ultima weekend escape. Two nights accommodation in a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment, two-day lift pass, two days equipment hire, two group lesson or half-days at the Kids Snowzone, from $641 per adult and $501 per child based on four share. Valid June 29-August 30.
* Family Ski Week. Five nights accommodation in a three bedroom, two bathroom Hotham Heights Chalet, five-day lift pass, five group lessons or half-days at the Kids Snowzone. From $867 per adult and $796 per child based on 10 share. Valid June 9-28 and August 31-September 30.
Snow kiting, snowmobiling, snow grooming tours, helicopter rides, tobogganing, dog sledding, sunset tours, cat skiing, cross-country skiing, free shows for kids by Harry the Hotham mascot at the Kids Snowzone, fireworks shows, spa, gym and swimming, over 20 bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Night skiing twice a week.
Northern Victoria, 4.5 hours drive from Melbourne (357km), nine hours from Sydney (746km) and 882km from Adelaide. By air, Hotham is 45 minutes from Melbourne and 80 minutes from Sydney. QantasLinks Sydney to Hotham flights (and all other major cities connecting via Sydney).
Over 180 properties at Mt Hotham and nearby Dinner Plain, including chalets, lodges, apartments, houses and motel-style rooms.
Village elevation: 1750m
Skiable area: 320ha
Terrain: Beginner 20 per cent, intermediate 40 per cent, advanced 40 per cent
Highest lifted point: 1845m
Vertical drop: 395m
Longest run: 2.5km
Lift capacity: 24,485 skiers per hour
Grooming machines: seven
Average natural snow depth: 150cm
Average snowfalls: 300cm
Cross-country trails: 35km
MORE INFORMATION: www.hotham.com.au or www.mthotham.com.au
A family resort with a European-style village featuring ski-in ski-out accommodation for all 5000 residents, a rarity in Australasia. The vast bulk of terrain is suited to intermediate skiers. The kids' ski school and the terrain park are both highly rated.
- Electronic point of sale and ticketing system allowing guests to pre-purchase online lift tickets, lessons, equipment hire and register kids into Snowsports School.
- Groomer specially designed for steeper runs around the Summit and Maze areas.
- Free iPad app which provides up-to-date snow reports, snow cam, and lift status data, packages and deals.
* Kids Stay & Ski Free at Viking Lodge. Three nights accommodation, three-day lift pass per person, three-day ski or board rental. From $789 per adult, minimum two adults, maximum two kids free. Valid 27 July - 11 August 2012.
* Gebi's Apartments. Five nights accommodation, two bedroom six share, five-day lift pass, five group lessons per adult, five full days of Snowsports School per child. Five days ski or board rental. From $658 per adult and $625 per child. Valid June 8-21 and September 7-30.
* Quay West Package. Four nights luxury accommodation, four breakfasts, two bedroom four share with hot tub, four-day lift pass, four group lessons per adult, four full days of Snowsports School per child, four days ski or board rental. From $1008 per adult and $967 per child. Valid June 8-21 and September 7-30.
* Half-price holiday, five nights apartment, two bedroom five share Premier, five-day lift pass, five group lessons per adult, five days of Snowsports School per child. Five days ski or board rental. From $647 per adult and $614 per child. Valid June 9-21 and September 7-30.
* Snowtime Intro, three nights lodge style accommodation, three-day lift pass, three group lessons, three-day ski or board rental, three-day parka & pants rental. From $499 per adult and $331 per child. Valid June 8-21 and September 7-30.
Snow bungy, snowmobile tours, grooming tours, cat skiing on Mt McKay, snow kiting, snow bikes, snow bocce, helicopter flights, Nordic snowshoeing, snowman competitions, free kids concerts twice weekly with Pete the dragon, night fireworks and night skiing.
Falls Creek is renowned for its Night Spectaculars in the Village Bowl each Thursday in July and August. Night skiing on 2.2km Wombats Ramble, which has snowmaking top to bottom, takes place several nights a week.
There is a huge array of eating and drinking spots around Falls Creek that serve pizzas, burgers, healthy meals and fine dining.
Falls Creek is 120km by road from Albury, 350km from Melbourne, 500km from Canberra and 690km from Sydney. Bus lines offer connecting services to Albury train station and airport.
There are 5000 beds on-mountain, or stay at Mt Beauty, 30km down the hill.
Highest altitude: 1842m
Highest lift: 1780m
Village altitude: 1600m
Average annual snowfall: 4m
Average days open: 128
Number of runs: 92, the steepest are off the Summit chairlift Mt McKay
Skiable area: 451ha
Vertical descent: 267m
Longest run: Wishing Well (blue) 3km
Terrain: Beginner 17 per cent, intermediate 60 per cent, advanced 23 per cent
Groomed cross-country trails: 60km
MORE INFORMATION: www.fallscreek.com.au
Just three hours from Melbourne, it is Victoria's busiest resort in terms of visitor numbers and is billed as Australia's most accessible ski resort. It boasts the largest lifting capacity in Victoria, with a network of 25 lifts capable of moving 40,000 people per hour around its 80km of marked trails.
It has over 7000 on-mountain beds, more than any other resort in Victoria and a range of accommodation styles including lodges, apartments and hotels, many of which are ski-in, ski-out.
It also has Victoria's largest grooming fleet of 15 machines.
Three dedicated terrain parks have a mix of features, boxes and rails.
- $3.1 million quad chairlift for popular gladed area between the Horse Hill and Grimus chairlifts.
- Expanding snowmaking operations on the Burnt Hut Spur, with a new 200 metre trail.
- New seats on the Howqua chair
- Improvements to Buller Community Centre
- B-Tag system enables card to be purchased online, able to be recharged and loaded with credit to use at food, beverage and retail outlets
- Flexible season passes include one for midweek use only and another 10-day pass allowing visitors to pick the days that suit them.
* Super Ski Special. Two night midweek hotel style accommodation, full buffet breakfast daily, two-day unlimited adult lift ticket, two-day unlimited child lift ticket. From $663 per adult and $116 per child. Valid July 15-August 16. Based on two adults sharing. To be pre-paid prior to June 11.
* Boarders Bargain. Two nights share accommodation, two-day unlimited adult lift ticket, two-day snowboard & boots hire. Weekend from $471 per person and midweek from $431 per person plus tertiary students with appropriate ID will save up to 20 per cent off full adult lift ticket and hire. Valid July 1-September 1.
* Cool Deal for Friends. Two nights midweek hotel style accommodation, full cooked breakfast daily, welcome drink, two-day ski hire, two-day clothing hire. From $350 per person - plus, upgrade to a five-night Super Deal for just $610 per person. Available June and September. Based on a group of four.
* Family Fun. Five nights midweek hotel accommodation, Continental breakfast daily, five-day adult Discover lift and lesson package, five-day child lift & lesson program (including lunch). From $1324.50 per adult and $542 per child plus upgrade to an adult three-hour ski school lesson for only $20 per day. Valid July 1-August 30. Based on two adults sharing.
* Lodge Escape. Three nights for the price of two. Three nights midweek lodge accommodation, three-day unlimited adult lift ticket, three-day unlimited child lift ticket, three-day ski or board hire. From $549 per adult and $368.50 per child. Valid June 9-28 and September 2 to close of Season.
* Unwind in Style. Three nights midweek accommodation in a studio apartment, buffet breakfast daily, use of Breathtakers water experience area, three-day unlimited lift ticket, three-day ski hire. From $884 per person. Valid June 8-25 and September 9-30, based on twin share.
OFF PISTE ACTIVITIES:
Snowshoeing, tobogganing and snowtubing, Australia's highest cinema, spa retreat, alpine museum, indoor sports complex, indoor climbing wall. Over 30 bars and restaurants.
Mt Buller is 248km north-east of Melbourne, an easy three-hour drive. Closest alpine resort to any international airport.
Capacity of 7000 beds including luxurious hotels, private lodges and modern apartments. Fifteen commercial properties.
Summit altitude: 1804m
Village altitude: 1600m
Highest lifted point: 1780m
Vertical drop: 405m
Average snow depth: 1.11m
Terrain: Beginner 20 per cent, intermediate 45 per cent, advanced 35 per cent
Skiable area: 300ha
Longest run: 2.5km
Marked trails: 80km
Cross-country trails: 9km
Lifts: 22, Victoria's largest lifting system
Capacity: 40,000 skiers per hour
Snowmaking: 78ha and 19km of resort trails covered by 176 machines
MORE INFORMATION: www.mtbuller.com.au
Styles itself as a friendly, affordable and fun resort. Ideal for beginners and families, its motto is: small is beautiful.
A wide variety is available in the nearby villages of Bright and Porepunkah.
Mt Buffalo is 325km (four hours' drive) from Melbourne, 680km (8.5 hours' drive) from Sydney, 775km (12 hours' drive) from Adelaide and 460km (5.5 hours' drive) from Canberra. From Albury it is a 1.5-hour drive.
Lifts: two double chairs, five pomas
Terrain: mostly green and blue trails, with a few black runs.