2015 Is A Family-Friendly Ski Season In Australia

8 February 2015

Australia's ski season is only mere months away from kicking off. For those of us who live for a steep, snow-covered mountain and a pair of skis or a board on our feet, it has been far too long between runs.

There's a family-friendly atmosphere brewing over many of Australia's best ski resorts, like a hot cuppa on a sunny winter morning. This year, with ski holidays at their most affordable, is considered one of the best to take the entire family along.

You won't be throwing the kids, or yourself, into the deep end, as all the major ski resorts feature ski schools, kids' clubs and other fun activities for all ages. So what can you expect, on the family front, from our most popular snow destinations?

 Share some quality time on Australia's snow fields this winter (Getty)

Falls Creek - VIC

Short queues and innovative kids ski programs

Even when Falls Creek is running at almost full capacity, you'll only be waiting about one to two minutes at the ski lifts. This efficiency is a huge sigh of relief for families with younger children; one of the many 'little things' the ski resort does to ensure pleasant holidays.

Another is the range of ski and board workshops at the Kids Snowsports School. The Renault Snowclub teaches children from three to five years and the Junior Workshop takes care of kids aged six to 14. There's also an established childcare where you can drop the younger ones off while you enjoy a day carving powder.

Outside of skiing, Falls provides a bundle of entertainment with its collection of winter activities including tobogganing, snow tubing and the surprisingly fun snow bikes.

 Snow bikes at Falls Creek

Thredbo - NSW

New beginner runs and kids ski free

Thredbo is bringing some quality developments into the 2015 snow season starting with an increased amount of beginner and intermediate trails along with expansions to its popular Snow Play Area. The latter is where all the tobogganing, snow tubing and snowman building takes place.

However, the most notable feature is Thredbo's updated pricing, classing everyone under 18 years old as a child and running two 'Kids Ski Free' promotions in June and September, during which anyone of child age can enjoy the slopes for free with a paying adult.

The good ole staples are sticking around as well. The specialised snow schools for children aged three to 14 will be running and the entire family can 'party down' during Thredbo's regular Family Fun Nights with face painting, snowman building competitions, live music and more.


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Mt Buller - VIC

Off-mountain entertainment and big kids

Mt Buller is a mere three-hour drive from Melbourne and thirty minutes from the closest town of Merrijig. Whether you stay close to the base, further away in Mansfield (add on 15 minutes) or in the Village on the mountain, there are numerous family-friendly entertainment options available.

The Mansfield Zoo makes for a great half-day trip, home to a variety of animals including two rare white lions. Up in higher altitude, Mt Buller Village has more than 30 dining options along with a cinema, day spa and indoor rock climbing.

Mt Buller welcomes the big kid (no not you Mum and Dad) by classing anyone under the age of 18 as a child. There are three highly-qualified ski schools: Bunyips for three to six year olds; Buller Kids for seven to 14 year olds; and Buller Teens for 15 to 18 year olds.

 Tobogganing is fun for all ages (Getty)

Perisher - NSW

Kids learning tricks and little ski stars

Along with the usual learn-to-ski programs for children, Perisher has also added in the Ski & Play program for two-year-olds eager to get their ski shoes on. This includes all-day supervision and care with a one-hour private ski lesson run by a specialist instructor, scheduled around other fun activities.

Another new concept at Perisher brought in last year is the Kids' Progression Sessions where skiers and snowboarders aged seven to 12 are taken to sections of the mountain to learn 'kick-ass' ski moves from professional instructors. Your little powder fiends will come back talking about all the sick air and one-eighties they've been landing.

Perisher's ski village is packed with shops, restaurants and nightly entertainment. You can also visit  Tube Town for tobogganing and snow tubing, and ski for longer during the night skiing and boarding sessions held two nights a week.
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5 tips for your family snow holiday

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  1. If your children are new to skiing or snowboarding, book them a few lessons. The old saying goes: "One day in ski school is equal to three days being taught by Dad". (Okay I made that up, but you'll believe it too by day three.) There will be time for you to ski together once the lessons have finished.
  2. Grab your gear the afternoon before your first day on the slopes, because shops tend to be busier in the mornings. Some hire shops also let you book gear in advance online.
  3. Make sure your travel insurance policy covers skiing and snowboarding.
  4. Consider bundling your snow holiday in one cost-effective holiday package. These typically combine accommodation with lift passes and other money-saving inclusions.
  5. Attach your children's gloves to their jackets with elastic to help stop any getting lost.

Ben Stower

I love the kind of travelling that is one part strategic planning and two parts spontaneous adventure. Whether I'm exploring my local city or a small town in the middle of nowhere, I'm always hoping to find something no one else has discovered.