Read our writer's views on this property below
Jacquelin Magnay finds a stay on the slopes that takes the fuss out of hitting the mountain.
The sound is distant but constant. Soothing even, akin to the crashing of ocean waves – but we are hundreds of kilometres from the coast.
It is instead the sound that is nirvana to thousands of skiers and snowboarders – the hum of the snowmaking machines.
Looking out my window at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel, the temperatures are low and scores of machines are spewing bucketloads of snow across Thredbo's most famous runs: the Supertrail, High Noon, around Friday Flat and, for the first time this year, on Little Beauty.
We've driven from Sydney and arrived in the early afternoon. I'm itching for a hard ski tomorrow – artificial snow or not. For me, the snowmaking creates a more solid top-to-bottom ski run, especially on the lower reaches of the most popular runs where sometimes the snow is a little thinner.
As my partner and I head to Sante Restaurant in the quaint Thredbo village, lit like a Christmas tree with hundreds of fairy lights, to fuel up for tomorrow's big day, the beautiful white stuff starts to fall softly from the dark sky. By the time we have finished eating, the ground looks like icing sugar. The knots of stress that began dissipating on the way out of Sydney have dissolved completely.
In the mountains, when the snow is falling, there is no tension, just excitement. I have chosen to take my other half to the Thredbo Alpine Hotel as a special birthday treat. He comes from the mountains and knows the trails, runs, walks, wildlife, weather and the terrain like the back of his hand. But Mountain Man has rarely stayed on the mountain – apart from crashing on various couches after a few unexpected long nights with mates.
So quaffing a couple of red wines beside the hotel's lounge fire, then wandering up a flight of stairs to a comfortable bed is utter luxury. No early morning dash from Jindabyne, no waking in the dark and joining the traffic queue at the Jindabyne roundabout – made worse on this particular weekend by a "police operation" involving testing for alcohol and drugs. No putting on snow boots in the Thredbo carpark, nor carrying skis over shoulder to the shuttle bus, or wolfing down a quick coffee and raisin toast from the Avalanche Cafe while waiting for the 8.30am Crackenback lift to open.
Oh no. At 10 to eight we're still in bed. Asleep. Surely snoring. The alarm goes off 10 minutes later. After a quick shower, we're dressed, boots and all. We walk up the stairs, along a lengthy hallway and then downstairs to the hotel's hidden-away Cascades Cafe for a buffet breakfast. Outside we walk just 60 metres across the bridge to the Summit chair. We haven't hurried at all, yet we get to the chairlift just after its 8.30am start.
That is the bliss of staying at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel: its location is ideal. The rooms are smallish, especially when ski boots, jackets, pants, hats, gloves, goggles and helmets for two are spread out, but the point of staying in the mountains is about being in the mountains – not hiding in a hotel room.
Skis and snowboards are left downstairs in a heated facility near the hotel's front door. The showers are hot and the water pressure surprisingly high to help soothe any aches from the day's activities. There are 65 immaculate rooms, most of them with king beds, including two suites, five family rooms and a four-bedroom apartment that sleeps 10. Importantly, hotel guests can park their cars close by, rather than having to park in the distant overnight area.
The view from the hotel rooms is to die for. I look down and a couple of children are splashing in the hotel's bubbly heated outdoor spa. I look across and there is a big glistening mountain covered in its white, sparkling coat. This is one treat I won't have to find a special reason to indulge in again.
Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.
Thredbo Alpine Hotel
Address Thredbo Village Resort, Thredbo.
The verdict Paradise for skiers and boarders.
Price $450 a night on weekends in peak ski season; $170 a night mid-week. Peak times require a two-night stay.
Bookings Phone 1300 020 589 or see rydges.com.
Getting there A six-hour drive from Sydney or a 2-hour drive from Canberra.
Wheelchair access No.
Perfect for A special treat to unwind — and let rip on the slopes.
While you're there Eat at the hotel's Segreto restaurant, swim and go to the gym at the Thredbo Leisure Centre, go snowshoeing or head back-country with a guide and trek to Dead Horse Gap or Mount Kosciuszko.