Thredbo Ski Resort
Of the Australian ski resorts, Thredbo is potentially the best all-rounder. Thredbo Ski Resort is also the most cosmopolitan, and the place to ski Australia
in style. The European-esque Thredbo Village is lovely, some of the bars and restaurants are rather chic, the skiing and snowboarding is pretty good (by Australian ski resort standards), and you have all the ingredients for a trendy spot for the Sydney-siders. Yet Thredbo isn’t just for the partygoers wearing foo foo outfits. It also has a traditional ski culture, family friendliness, and an emerging shredder culture led by the very cute Torah Bright!
Why ski Thredbo vs Perisher? Perisher Ski Resort
is great for families who want to stay in their lodge in the evenings and those who enjoy mellow slopes. Perisher has much more terrain, yet Thredbo skiing has more diversity of terrain, and the vibrant Thredbo Village has an après ski scene and some nightlife.
Thredbo Alpine Village isn’t just a winter destination. It’s also popular during the green season for hiking, mountain biking, and playing golf.
Thredbo Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Thredbo Resort proudly has the longest vertical drop of the Aussie ski resorts and at 672 metres, the vertical is almost double that of Perisher (and about a quarter of Chamonix France
and Zermatt Switzerland
!!). The vertical is a blessing for those that adore long thigh burning runs. The Crackenback Supertrail (now just called Supertrail) is 3.5km long and great for lots of speedy turns, and if you get the Crackenback waxed you can go even faster!
The vertical can also be somewhat of a curse for the snow quality considering the base elevation is only 1,365 metres. Thankfully Thredbo’s other claim to fame is having the most snowmaking facilities in the southern hemisphere. Snowmaking covers 15% of the terrain, and top to bottom skiing and snowboarding is generally possible.
The 480 hectares of Thredbo skiing terrain provides a reasonably good mix of slopes for all ability levels, although it has a bias to intermediate riders with lots of groomed cruisers and some steep-ish blues. The trail stats are beginner 16%, intermediate 67%, and advanced/expert 17%. Friday Flat is aptly named and includes a dedicated beginners’ area where novices can plough into each other undisturbed!
Thredbo Ski Resort has a variety of black runs, many of them rather short, as well as some good off-piste riding in Golf Course Bowl. The trail map doesn’t differentiate between single and double black diamond terrain, possibly because none of the black runs are worthy of being awarded another diamond.
And even though the resort claims to have the steepest overall ski terrain in Australia (which isn’t saying much), the expert terrain isn’t a patch on that found at Mt Hotham
. However like it’s Victorian counterpart, Thredbo does excel in the backcountry stakes.
Thredbo Ski Resort has 14 lifts, which includes 3 express quads that cope with most of the weekend stampedes, as well as a few double chairs, and a handful of T-bars up high which are handy for windy days.
Like all the other Australian ski resorts
, Thredbo is not renowned for its snow quality or quantity. The average snowfall per season is approximately 2 metres, whilst the quality of the snow can vary from heavy powder to slurpee-like or patchy.
Many of the slopes on the eastern side of the resort have the advantage of a mostly south-facing orientation, and Thredbo Resort has another claim to fame with the highest lifted terrain in Australia via a T-bar at 2,037 metres (Perisher
has the highest chair lift at 2,034m!). Nonetheless the snow quality isn’t so good further down the hill and sometimes it doesn’t hold up until midday on High Noon!
Thredbo skiing can be a lot of fun, but it comes as no great surprise that a lot of Aussies go skiing in Japan
during their summer to get a powder fix.
Where is Thredbo NSW?
The Thredbo Ski Resort and associated Thredbo Village at the base of the slopes is located within the Kosciuszko National Park at the foot of the Crackenback Range in the Snowy Mountains.
Thredbo is 492km southwest of Sydney (5-6.5 hour drive), 213km southwest of Canberra, and 546km northeast of Melbourne. It’s possible to fly from Sydney to Cooma and then get a shuttle to the resort, or get a bus from Sydney or Canberra, but most people drive. The drive to Thredbo is pretty easy, especially relative to the gnarly roads of most of the New Zealand ski fields
. Tyre chains are required to be carried which can be hired in nearby towns, and national park fees need to be paid.
Walking around Thredbo Village is pretty easy, and there are frequent free shuttle buses that do loops around the village.
There are lots of options for Thredbo accommodation including hotels, catered lodges, apartments and chalets. Much of the accommodation in Thredbo caters to upscale budgets, although there is some economical lodging including a hostel. There are three main zones for accommodation.
Staying in Thredbo Village
provides easy access to the heartbeat of the town, and the slopes are a short walk (or shuttle ride) away.
near Friday Flat is a good spot to stay for beginners and those who need childcare. The River Inn
is popular because it is uniquely ski in ski out to the Friday Flat area.
The Crackenback Ridge
area near the Thredbo golf course has some privately owned ski in ski out chalets.
Thredbo Accommodation Listings
The other option is to stay off-mountain in Jindabyne accommodation. The town of Jindabyne overlooks the picturesque Lake Jindabyne and is 34km east of Thredbo (about a 30 minute drive). It offers the advantage of more affordable accommodation and the flexibility to also ski Perisher
. Accommodation types include hotels, motels, cottages and apartments.
The Alpine Resort Motel
offers a range of rooms, studios for up to 5 adults, and 2 bedroom apartments.
Jindabyne Accommodation Listings
Ski Resort Facilities
Unlike Perisher, which mostly consists of a series of ski lodges, Thredbo Village is charming and has various amenities and shops. There are plenty of restaurants and bars, including après ski pubs and dignified wine and cocktail bars. On the slopes there are also various eateries including the lovely Eagles Nest, the highest restaurant in Australia.
Thredbo has other well developed ski resort facilities including a good ski school offering lessons for ages 3 and up, and the resort also offers child care for babies aged 6 weeks plus.
Thredbo has various other winter activities on offer besides skiing and snowboarding at the resort. There are snowshoeing or backcountry ski tours to Mt. Kosciuszko, the “bobsledding” track, leisure centre and swimming pool, ski museum, or you can head to the day spa if your body is feeling a little battered. Thredbo Village also has a little snowplay area where the kids can slide on a tube or toboggan, or build a snowman (or snowwoman if you want to be PC!).
Summary of Pros and Cons of Thredbo Resort
- Whilst it’s no Aspen or St Moritz, Thredbo is rather sophisticated for an Australian ski resort.
- Thredbo has a lovely village with good restaurants, bars and shops.
- The Thredbo Ski Resort has a good cross section of terrain, and it’s particularly great for intermediate riders.
- It has a variety of terrain parks.
- Thredbo is on the Mountain Collective pass, which is great news if you plan to go skiing in North America (or Hakuba Japan or Valle Nevado Chile). Pass holders get 2 days at each of Whistler, Aspen Snowmass, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Jackson Hole, Alta, Snowbird, Banff, and Sun Valley, and an additional day at one resort, plus mega discounts on skiing at these resorts after that.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
- Be prepared to open your wallet wide. Most skiing in Australia is rather expensive, and Thredbo is no exception.
- The base elevation is very low so Thredbo has nice long runs, but the snow towards the end of the runs may be thin or sloppy. But then snow conditions at any of the Aussie ski resorts can be incredibly variable.
- Much of the Thredbo accommodation provides the convenience of being able to drive your car to the door, but there is very little ski-in ski-out accommodation, and none if you want to stay in the thick of the après action.