Ski season Australia and New Zealand: What's hot this season

SNOW IT ALL

There are 25 days until the Australasian ski season kicks off, not that we're counting.  

The biggest news to come out of the 2015 ski season before it has even begun is the acquisition of Perisher by Vail Resorts. The Perisher Freedom Pass with Epic Benefits is available for purchase until May 31 for $749. 

Buy this pass and you get unlimited access not just to Perisher for this coming season but you also have access to Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge in Colorado, Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt Brighton in Michigan and Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons in Utah. Plus 10 days combined between Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

Thredbo has hit back by joining The Mountain Collective pass as the first international resort this week. Mountain Collective pass holders get two days at Sun Valley in Idaho, Alta and Snowbird in Utah, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village in Canada, Mammoth Mountain in California, Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Aspen Snowmass in Colorado, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in California and Whistler Blackcomb in Canada. 

But wait, there is always more. Holders of the Mountain Collective pass which costs $US379 ($440) also receive 50 per cent off all additional day lift passes at each resort. 

There is good news for foodies further south in the Victorian ski-fields too. Two Hat restaurateur and 2012 Chef of the Year in the Good Food Guide, Michael Ryan from Provenance in Beechworth, is teaming up with Hamish Nugent and Rachel Reed from one hat Tani Eat & Drink in Bright to open a new restaurant at Mt Hotham. Named Yama Kitchen and Bar, the restaurant will be located in the old The White Room space in Hotham Central.

Falls Creek has two new ski-school programs – a teen academy for 13 to 17 year olds and an alpine touring program for those wanting to learn how to use alpine touring equipment to explore the side country. Their BFF Plan (bring a first timer for free) is available for June and September at Falls Creek and its sister resort, Mt Hotham. The BFF pass gives your guest a free two-hour lesson, free ski and snowboard hire and free access to all the beginner lifts.

Mount Buller Chalet will open an Asian Food Court this winter and the Australian Sled Dog Tours will launch midway through winter with a pack of huskies ready to take snow lovers on a tour.

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The big news across the ditch is The Remarkables' swanky new base lodge that will seat up to 644 guests indoors with sun decks on all three sides with ample outdoor seating. 

Cardrona has extended its season by two weeks. The resort opens on June 13 and will now close on October 11, making it the longest scheduled season in the South Island.

Hungry skiers and boarders at Treble Cone will have a new on mountain al fresco café on the top of Home Basin with barista made coffee, chef-cooked lunches from the grill and views of Lake Wanaka.

Porters ski area near Christchurch has a new four-seater chairlift this season, the first installed in the Canterbury region in more than a decade. The chairlift will carry 2000 skiers per hour.

Southern Lakes Heli Ski in Wanaka and Queenstown have announced a new product called Sessions. For $NZ385 (S360) you get one heli-ski run and a barbecue lunch. Every run after that is $NZ85. 

There's a lot going on for the season ahead and we're excited. Will the mammoth July snowstorms that hit Australian ski-fields bring the goods again? Will New Zealand be blessed with powder this year?

Snow It All will be reporting weekly right here on all ski and snow news ahead.

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