No Worries: Summer Skiing in Australia

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Australia, July 15-- For most skiers when they dream of heading south for the summer, visions of South America and New Zealand fill their heads, but surprisingly enough the country Downunder offers a well-rounded summer skiing destination. Australia has five major resorts located in the southeastern states of Victoria and New South Wales. The Australian ski season stretches from the first week of June until the first week of October.

Though ski packages including round trip airfare from the U.S. to Australia are hard to come by, once Downunder there are plenty of Australian based travel agencies that offer cheap ski packages. With Australia being in its off-peak winter season, relatively cheap flights from New York City or Los Angles to Australia can be found on both Qantas Airways and Ansett Australia (the two main Australian airlines) for approximately AU$1514(US$1000). A flight into Sydney, Melbourne, or Canberra will allow you to pick up a cheap ski package to one of the five major ski resorts in Victoria or New South Wales.

For more information contact: The Australian Tourist Board http://www.australia.com

Mount Hotham
http://www.mthotham.com.au/
Known as the "powder capital" of Australia, Mt. Hotham is considered the place for the serious skier. As Victoria's highest ski area (base elevation 5,740-feet), it boasts of some of the best skiing in the land with 605 acres of terrain to suit all levels from the total beginner to the most radical extremist. Unlike other resorts in Victoria, the lodges at Mt. Hotham are situated on the snow peaks, with trails twisting down through the village to their 13 lifts.

With Falls Creek just next door, Mt. Hotham offers access to both mountains, with transportation via coach service or an inter-resort helicopter. The village plays host to everything anyone would want in a ski village including restaurants, bars, discos, banks, and a general store. Accommodations are offered in six different lodges close to the resort from motel-style to bed-and-breakfast.

Alpine World and The Ski Travel Company both have a ski-in, ski-out package which offers a five-night stay in a double room at the Snowbird Inn. For A$819 ($US540), this package includes five full buffet breakfasts two three course dinners, and a five-day all mountain lift pass.

Falls Creek
http://www.skifallscreek.com.au/
This European-style village is set high in the Australian Alps about 236 miles northeast of Melbourne. Located next to Mount Hotham, Falls Creek offers access to both resorts with its ticket and is connected by choice of a coach service or an inter-resort helicopter. With 19 lifts (one being Australia's only self-loading quad chair), 96 trails and a sophisticated snow making system that ensures good coverage, Falls Creek offers plenty of terrain for all levels. Strategically placed lifts spread out over a wide area allows people of all levels to ride the sam chair and ski terrain of their own ability.

Famous for its lively apres-ski activities, Falls Creek village has all the facilities of a small town. It offers a choice of lodging from backpacker hostels to luxurious apartments and lodges. For skiers who want to enjoy the true Aussi experience, there are off-mountain accommodations in the neighboring towns of Mt. Beauty, Bogong Village, and Howmans Gap.

Since Mount Hotham is inter-connected to Falls Creek, the same ski package from Alpine World and The Ski Travel Company can be use for both mountains. Also, Koki Alpine Travel is an Australian based travel agency through which information and reservations can be made.

Mount Buller
http://www.skibuller.com.au/
The home of the Australian Ski Institute, Mt. Buller is a premier downhill skiing resort that is located just three hours northeast of Melbourne. With 28 lifts in total (13 chair lifts and 15 T-bars and Pomas), the resort has one of the best ski lift systems in the southern hemisphere. More importantly, Mt. Buller's snow making facilities allows them to make a Ski Guarantee- guaranteed skiing on runs serviced by at least 10 major lifts or your money back. There are 180 skiable hectares of trails and bowls above and below the tree line open both day and night (night skiing is available Wednesdays and Sundays).

With all the conveniences of a small Australian town, the base village offers everything from ski-in, ski-out accommodations to cafes and restaurants to a post office. Also, the Mt. Buller Ski and Boarding School provides lessons and packages for all ages and skill levels including child daycare. If you get sick of skiing, follow the lead of many other Australians who have taken up snowshoeing and tubing which are both available on the mountain.

Coast to Coast Surf & Snow Tours offers three different day tour packages leaving from Melbourne that include transportation and an all day lift ticket for AU$45 (US$29) to AU$125 (US$82) a day.

New South Wales
Located just northeast of Victoria, New South Wales is roughly two and a half times the size of Victoria. The two major cities of Sydney and Canberra offers good starting points for the two major ski resorts in New South Wales- Thredbo and Perisher Blue. The New South Wales snowfields are located southwest of Sydney and can be accessed by car, train, or plane.

Thredbo
http://www.thredbo.com.au/
Located in the heart of Kosciusko National Park, Thredbo offers the largest snowmaking capabilities in the Southern Hemisphere covering over 60 hectares. In addition to this, the double knock-out combination of the highest lift-serviced skiing (2037 meters) and longest ski run (5.7 km) in all of Australia, makes Thredbo a top Australian ski resort. With a lift system that whisks 18,000 skiers an hour to the top of the mountain in seven minutes to access the 65 marked trails, there is never a worry about lift lines or lack of challenging terrain from everyone to a beginner to an expert. For snowboarders, there is a full-time park complete with a half-pipe, gaps, and rails.

Thredbo Village offers a full range of facilities from nightclubs and bars to ski rental shops. Accommodation in the village is available for both those budget skiers eating Ramen noodles or wealthy couples exploring the world for fresh tracks. Also, the village is home to the Australian Institute of Sport's Alpine Training Centre, which provides an ideal venue for high-end sports training with state-of-the-art facilities to help trainers and athletes reach peak their performance levels.

Both The Ski Travel Company and Alpine World both offer the same ski packages to Thredbo. Depending on what hotel you stay at, a five-night stay in a double which includes a five and a half day lift ticket, five full buffet breakfast, and two three course dinners costs approximately AU$800(US$528). The four hotels this deal is offered at include The River Inn, Snowgoose Lodge, The House of Ullr, and the Bursills Alpine Lodge.

Perisher Blue
http://www.perisherblue.com.au/
Perisher Blue is by far the ski monster of the Southern Hemisphere with over 50 lifts, ski access to 506 acres, and an uphill capacity of 47,00 people an hour. With only one ticket, you can access all seven mountain peaks within the four resorts of Perisher Valley, Smiggins Holes, Guthega, and Blue Cow. All four of these peaks are joined by 'Link Lifts" as well as shuttle buses. This international resort is the leading ski resort of Australia with its wide expanses of beginner terrain to the only double diamond run in New South Wales to night skiing (available on Tuesdays and Saturdays). For those overwhelmed with its size, Perisher Blue offers free guided tours to get familiar with the mountain. With two terrain parks and a halfpipe created by a specialist snow groomer blade, Perisher is a great destination for snowboarders. When you get tired of alpine skiing, Perisher Blue offers 62 miles of marked Nordic ski trails and rental equipment if needed.

For A$899 (US$593), both Alpine World and The Ski Travel Company offer a five night ski package at Astoria Alpine Chalet which includes a five and a half day lift ticket, five full buffet breakfasts, and two a la carte dinner. To travel by bus to Perisher Blue, Snowscene offers their Snowbus Extreme Tours which leave from Brisbane. For AU$884 (US$ 583), a luxury coach will bring you to the mountain for a five-night stay which includes a five-day all mountain pass, five breakfasts, and five three course dinners.

ift lines or lack of challenging terrain from everyone to a beginner to an expert. For snowboarders, there is a full-time park complete with a half-pipe, gaps, and rails.

Thredbo Village offers a full range of facilities from nightclubs and bars to ski rental shops. Accommodation in the village is available for both those budget skiers eating Ramen noodles or wealthy couples exploring the world for fresh tracks. Also, the village is home to the Australian Institute of Sport's Alpine Training Centre, which provides an ideal venue for high-end sports training with state-of-the-art facilities to help trainers and athletes reach peak their performance levels.

Both The Ski Travel Company and Alpine World both offer the same ski packages to Thredbo. Depending on what hotel you stay at, a five-night stay in a double which includes a five and a half day lift ticket, five full buffet breakfast, and two three course dinners costs approximately AU$800(US$528). The four hotels this deal is offered at include The River Inn, Snowgoose Lodge, The House of Ullr, and the Bursills Alpine Lodge.

Perisher Blue
http://www.perisherblue.com.au/
Perisher Blue is by far the ski monster of the Southern Hemisphere with over 50 lifts, ski access to 506 acres, and an uphill capacity of 47,00 people an hour. With only one ticket, you can access all seven mountain peaks within the four resorts of Perisher Valley, Smiggins Holes, Guthega, and Blue Cow. All four of these peaks are joined by 'Link Lifts" as well as shuttle buses. This international resort is the leading ski resort of Australia with its wide expanses of beginner terrain to the only double diamond run in New South Wales to night skiing (available on Tuesdays and Saturdays). For those overwhelmed with its size, Perisher Blue offers free guided tours to get familiar with the mountain. With two terrain parks and a halfpipe created by a specialist snow groomer blade, Perisher is a great destination for snowboarders. When you get tired of alpine skiing, Perisher Blue offers 62 miles of marked Nordic ski trails and rental equipment if needed.

For A$899 (US$593), both Alpine World and The Ski Travel Company offer a five night ski package at Astoria Alpine Chalet which includes a five and a half day lift ticket, five full buffet breakfasts, and two a la carte dinner. To travel by bus to Perisher Blue, Snowscene offers their Snowbus Extreme Tours which leave from Brisbane. For AU$884 (US$ 583), a luxury coach will bring you to the mountain for a five-night stay which includes a five-day all mountain pass, five breakfasts, and five three course dinners.

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