How to Plan for the Perfect Weekend in Australia’s Snowfields
on 22 July 2019 in General News
Whether it’s hurtling down the hillside on skis or a mountain bike, wandering amongst wildflowers on a bushwalk or casting a line for fresh river trout, you’ll love the fresh mountain air and great range of things to do in Australia’s snowfields. Practically on Canberra’s doorstep, Australia’s Alpine region is a must-stop all year round. For now, however, let’s focus on its winter fun.
Winter in Australia’s Alpine region
Winter is when Australia’s Alpine region really comes alive. From Cooma and Jindabyne to Kosciuszko National Park, Tumbarumba and Tumut there are plenty of ways to get to the Snowy Mountains for a sneaky snow weekend away.
The snow season runs from June to October, with peak seasons in late July to August. There’s a range of terrain to suit all level skiers and snowboarders and a ton of other activities to enjoy. Take a guided mountain tour, enjoy a chairlift ride with friends and family, take a night ski under the stars, or sit back and relax with the region’s great restaurants and cafes.
No matter what you plan to do in winter in Australia’s Alpine region you can get yourself ready at Marketplace Gungahlin.
Preparing for your weekend away in the snow
If you’re contemplating your first ever weekend away in the snow, you’re probably wondering “How much kit do I need?” Well, that all depends on what you’re planning to do.
If you’re planning on skiing, the good news is that preparing for your weekend away doesn’t have to be expensive. You’ll need skis, boots, poles and a helmet, but you don’t need to buy these. Speak to your resort about their hiring options or talk to friends and family to see what gear you can borrow.
Like boots and skis, you don’t need to buy a ski jacket, ski goggles or ski pants either. Renting them is usually an option and again you can ask around your networks. If you do want to purchase your own, check out Osmosis in The Marketplace Gungahlin. Osmosis stocks the latest jackets, beanies, knits, jumpers, socks and accessories that can be worn again and again, even when not on the snowfields.
Other things you might like to buy include base layers (what used to be known as ‘thermals’) which will keep you dry no matter how wet your outer layer gets. Mid-layers like a lightweight down jacket or padded vest is another good idea. You can pick these items up at a number of our fashion stores. As you shop, ask yourself the question “what would an onion wear?” It can get cold while out on the fields but when you’re inside by the fire you want to be able to strip off layers.
For protection of your face and eyes, visit Sunglasses Hut and grab yourself a pair of good quality sunglasses and Chemist Warehouse to buy a high SPF sunscreen for your face. Snow reflects more UV radiation than water and sunburn and glare is common.
Choosing your ski resort
Each ski resort near Canberra offers a laundry list of on- and off- mountain experiences, services and amenities. Additionally, many resorts offer a range of events which provide the perfect cherry on top to your snow weekend away.
Choosing a resort on which to stay really comes down to personal preference, experience and your budget. Get to know the terrain around each resort, discover how easy it is to get there, and explore the atmosphere. You might prefer quiet, uncrowded slopes for your first snow weekend away but then again you might enjoy the high-energy buzz of a well-visited resort.
Bear in mind too that snow fields are as close to Canberra as 90 minutes so you don’t need to stay in a resort at all. Falls Creek, Mount Baw Baw, Perisher, Selwyn and Thredbo are all and easy drive or transfer away. If you’re driving, plan ahead and bring snow chains, as it’s a legal requirement to carry these in 2WD vehicles in Kosciuszko National Park between June and October. All visitors are also required to pay fees on arrival at the park entrance. Bear in mind also that Charlotte Pass can only be accessed by the over-snow transport from Perisher. Please read these alpine-driving safety tips before your journey.
Booking your activities
Think about whether you want to enrol in ski school or take private lessons. A lesson is highly recommended as not only will you receive instruction on how to properly stop and turn, you’ll get a tutorial on how to operate your equipment and load and unload lifts. A lesson is also the best way to get your legs warmed up and to fine-tune your technique and style. Plus instructors can provide a wealth of insight into the local terrain.
If you’re a non-skier or snowboarder there are plenty of activities you can book outside of lessons, including snowshoeing and trekking. You might also like to make use of childcare services. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Supermarket shopping can be expensive at the resorts so stock up before you get there. If you have a real fire in your apartment bring marshmallows to toast and don't forget the hot chocolate, whipped cream and spices to make your own mulled wine.
There are plenty of dining out options available on the ski fields but if you’re on a budget, packing items for a packed lunch is a must. Head to Woolworths and stock up on easy snacks that are simple, delicious and nutritious to eat and grab a thermos from Big W so you can pack tea and soup for your days out. Check out this guide to the best food for skiers and shredders.