Perisher Skiing Terrain

Perisher Skiing Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
  • Perisher Trail Map
  • Back Perisher Trail Map
  • Guthega Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,605 – 2,034 (355)
  • Average Snow Fall
    2.5 metres
  • Lifts (47)
    1 8-pack chair
    3 detachable quads
  • Ski Season
    Early June - early Oct
  • Terrain Summary
    Size – 1,245 ha
    Longest run – 3 km
    Beginner - 22%
    Intermediate - 60%
    Advanced - 18% 

Perisher Skiing & Snowboarding

Perisher Resort is made up of four distinct ski areas that were separate resorts once upon a time, which is part of the reason why some of the inter-connections between them are rather clunky and have flat spots to trap snowboarders. The Perisher skiing and snowboarding is spread across 7 peaks and 1,245 hectares of skiable terrain, with 111 trails and 47 lifts, so it’s no great surprise that the trail map is extensive and requires a few sub-maps to cover the different aspects and areas. What does come as a surprise is the really crap way-finding and signage. Newbies that ski Perisher may be left floundering, trying to figure out what T-bar they’ve just got onto and what options for trails they have when they get off a lift. Luckily, there is very little steep terrain at Perisher Resort, so even in white-out conditions you’re unlikely to get yourself into much trouble and end up on a super steep run that you didn’t want to ride.

Perisher Valley is the largest part of Perisher and has 44 trails and 26 lifts, which includes a stupid number of T-bars. This area is not heavily treed and there are plenty of zones above the treeline. Front Valley sits above the main base area and includes beginner areas and terrain parks. Mt Perisher offers the most vertical (approximately 300m) and various meandering blue runs. Trails run off in multiple directions. Lots have a southeast aspect but there are also east, northeast and west facing slopes.

Smiggin Holes sits to the northeast of Perisher Valley and has 16 trails and 10 lifts, of which only one is a chair lift (a triple) so hopefully you like T-bars and J-bars. Smiggin Holes provides only 150 metres of vertical, and is at low elevation below the treeline, so this can be the spot to hang out on poor weather days. The terrain is mellow and suited to beginners and low end intermediates. Aspect is predominantly southeast.

Blue Cow sits northwest of Perisher Valley and has 32 trails and 8 lifts, of which 5 are chair lifts so it’s particularly popular with snowboarders that want to avoid the T-bars. Blue Cow is also popular because the SkiTube drops day trippers up at 1,890 m elevation. This area has the best overall terrain, with a range of trails for all abilities, and decent vertical as it goes down to 1,605m at the base of the Ridge chair lift. It’s often the last area to open each season, and it may close early in the season if there aren’t enough patrons. Aspects vary from south around to east.

Guthega is west of Blue Cow and has 19 runs and only 4 lifts (2 chair lifts, one of which is the Freedom chair). Vertical is short, with elevations between 1,924 and 1,640 metres, and many of the trails are tree-lined. A highlight of Guthega is that it offers fantastic views of real mountains (unlike Perisher Valley and Smiggins where you look at little hills). The terrain is not ideal for novices but has something for everyone else. Aspect is mostly southwest to west.


Perisher Resort has 47 lifts, of which only 14 are chair lifts, with the rest being surface lifts, and of the chair lifts, there are only 4 high speed lifts (an 8-pack and 3 quads). The proliferation of lifts is particularly apparent in Perisher Valley where the terrain is spread out horizontally. The runs don’t funnel down to a few bases but rather fan out to terminate in a myriad of spots. So even if Vail Resorts would cough up some money to develop their Australian cash cow, where would they start? One new lift probably wouldn’t service much of the Perisher skiing terrain and many of the T-bars are very handy when the winds pick up, and if you only had chairs in the lower protected parts then the vertical would shrink even further.

Perisher has a little bit of night skiing. The resort also offers first tracks on selected lifts in Perisher Valley on the weekends in the main part of the season.

Lift Tickets

Like other Vail Resorts, lift tickets are inexpensive if you buy a season pass, the Epic Pass, but very expensive if you buy single or multi-day passes as you go.

Perisher Snow and Weather

Like other Aussie ski resorts, Perisher doesn’t get huge quantities of snowfall. They don’t advertise the average snowfall statistic, but it’s thought to be about 2.5 metres per season (about one seventh of the snowfall at the famed Niseko Japan). Snowmaking covers just over 4% of the terrain to top up Mother Nature’s goodness. This equates to 53 hectares, but in reality, it feels like lots of the main trails have snowmaking capabilities.

And like other Australian ski resorts, the snow quality fluctuates significantly, although Perisher fares relatively well considering its elevation. As to be expected, the snow quality varies across the many nooks and crannies of Perisher Resort because of the variety of aspects.

The area has some real “perishers” of storms which can shrink the size of the resort significantly due to the closure of lifts and the inter-connections between the areas. Even if T-bars are running, a lack of visibility is an issue because much of the terrain is sub-alpine. Smiggins is protected from the weather, and Guthega is often also good, and there are little stashes elsewhere depending on the wind direction. Nevertheless, Perisher isn’t particularly good for storm skiing, especially compared to resorts such as Mt Hotham and Falls Creek.

Perisher Skiing for Beginners

Ski and snowboard lessons are held at Perisher Valley on Front Valley and at Smiggins, so this is also where most beginners hang out.

Perisher Valley is good in some respects for novices having lessons, with its gentle slopes and surface lifts around the Tom Thumb area, however it’s often really congested. Same for all of Front Valley, which can be daunting because of the crowds, and some of the green-rated runs are rather steep. Beginners would be better served to head up the quad chair and disembark at the mid-station to access Happy Valley, although the T-bar can develop some long lines. The next progression would be to head to Pretty Valley, which starts with a wide and slightly pitchy section before mellowing out.

Smiggins is quieter and beginners can learn in peace because most experienced skiers and snowboarders don’t ride there. Easy access from the car park is also another plus. The slopes are mostly mellow and there are good progressions. The only potential downside is that there are too many T-bars and J-bar lifts. Some say that surface lifts are a great way to learn because going uphill on your skis or board teaches you plenty of skills, however most beginners would benefit from having a rest on a chair lift.

Our pick for beginners that don’t require lessons is to get the Skitube to Blue Cow. Novices can play on Pony Ride and to avoid T-bars, beginners can hang on Easy Starter and Pleasant Valley.

Intermediate Snowboarding & Skiing Perisher

Perisher has an abundance of blue trails that are spread out far and wide, and intermediates can enjoy exploring the four ski areas to get away from the hordes. You can ski lots of different runs but you might not necessarily rack up a lot of vertical per day considering the many slow lifts and that many of the runs are short, meandering, and not that steep.

Due to the mellow pitch of most of the blue runs, Perisher is particularly ideal for low-end to mid-level intermediate skiers and snowboarders. For strong intermediates, the Ridge chair is a very popular place to hang out because there are double blue runs that have a decent gradient, some reasonable width, and unique to Perisher, actually drop down the fall-line. A few of the runs off the Freedom chair at Guthega are also plenty of speedy fun.

Don’t expect that all blue runs will be groomed. Check the daily report to see whether they were generous or stingy with the grooming.

Terrain Parks

The terrain parks are a huge pro for Perisher, and there are also usually a couple of rider cross lines set up.

The main slopestyle park sits on Front Valley where you can show-off to the masses. Further west is another couple of parks, and sometimes a mini pipe is set up in the Yabby Flats park. There is also a little park off Piper and one on Blue Cow. Having the parks spread out across Perisher Valley & BC is advantageous, so that on bad weather days there is usually somewhere to play.

Advanced Skiing Perisher

Most of the Perisher skiing and snowboarding terrain consists of little hills so there isn’t much steep terrain. There are only several black runs and quite a few of them hardly justify the black diamond status. If you like steep groomed black runs then go to Mt Hotham, because there is usually only one black run groomed at Perisher, and that’s if you’re lucky, and that might just be Showboat which they can’t decide if it’s rated blue or black.

Despite the mostly mellow slopes, the terrain is very playful considering the abundance of rocks that litter the slopes and are good for zig-zagging or leaping off. Perisher Resort is one of those places where the more you explore off-piste, the more fun stashes that you find, although any pitchy and/or challenging terrain is very short lived.

Quintessential black runs are those off the Olympic T-bar. The T-bar may not open early in the season due to a lack of snow cover on the T-bar line, yet the face is often loaded with snow and provides fun treeless lines. The maximum gradient is only 32 degrees and that’s momentary. Rock Garden is plenty of fun, unless of course there’s too much snow and the rocks are mostly covered. Otherwise the off-piste style Devil’s Playground offers good vertical.

Ski Perisher - Experts

Perisher skiing and snowboarding is not well suited to the expert. Hunt around and leap off rocks, or scoot between trees, and you may find a little fun.

The top of Devil’s Playground is pretty steep and has some challenging parts before it quickly mellows out. Kamikaze is rated as a double black, and it really comes down to the amount and quality of snow as to whether it’s completely straightforward or challenging. Double Trouble is also rated double black, mostly due to the route finding and traversing skills that are required.

Sidecountry & Backcountry

There isn’t much Perisher sidecountry aka slackcountry terrain. One option is to head over the backside from the Blue Cow T-Bar down to the road for some tree skiing. Or there are some routes that are ideal for skiers off the backside of Mt Perisher down to Guthega. Or in the Eyre area you could head out wide skiers’ right and end up on the snow-covered road, although the terrain is about as mellow as it is in-bounds.

Backcountry is another matter entirely and Guthega is a trail head to some magnificent terrain. It’s definitely not slackcountry though, as it’s entirely a human-powered endeavour.