Ditch Regular Runs For Off-Piste Terrain In Thredbo

19 April 2015

Skiing offers so much – discovery, adventure, and freedom; the might and mystery of the mountains.

You might think, in an age of roped boundaries, personal GPS systems and mobile phones, the adventure has all but disappeared.

Not so.

Thredbo to Dead Horse Gap is a classic and you can usually get fresh tracks for quite a while after a snowfall.

For the perfect picnic, convoy a car full of lunch to the Gap car park early in the morning, head back to Thredbo and start the climb to the top of Karel’s, Australia’s highest lifted point (2,037 metres).

That handy ascent means the trip to Dead Horse is more a cruise than a climb, but if you want to add some steeps, you can scale the peaks of the Ramshead Range and take a run down the chutes.

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Snowgums Perfectly Placed For Dodging And Weaving

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On the right day, the skiing up here is magic. High and cold, the snow keeps its winter quality on the southern faces and aspects.

It can ski like fairy dust, but watch your angle – slip across to the sunny side and it skis like breakable crust.

The run continues along these ridges until you want to make a break for the trees. Stay high and it’s a big highlight – long turns and fields of space to take them in.

 On the track to Dead Horse Gap

The snow gums are tall and open as you enter the forest – perfectly placed for some dodging and weaving.

As they will anywhere, the trees draw the heat. So watch your turns if you decide to take them close.

The turns need to tighten towards the end, the trees grow a lot closer together until, above the creek and with the Gap in sight, it opens again.

And there it is – the creek, the gap, the bridge and the picnic.


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Go With Someone Who Knows The Way

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Thredbo to Dead Horse Gap is one of the simpler beyond-bounds adventures, but watch it, getting lost is a simple process anywhere in the mountains.

Make sure you go with someone who knows the way and make sure someone who isn’t going knows where you’re going.

 Driving to Thredbo

The view of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service is “get out there and enjoy the park,” but do it with the right preparation and skill level.

Thredbo’s view is a little more complex. They guard the resort’s northern boundary – the line between Merritt’s and Stanley Bowl around the top of the Cruiser chair – very carefully and will pull tickets for transgressions.

With good reason – Stanley’s is treacherous country and to discourage skiers without the right ability and capability from heading out there, they need to apply a no-tolerance policy.

Skiers making the Dead Horse Gap run are generally left to their own resources. If in doubt, have a word to the ski patrol before you go.

Jim Darby

Jim Darby is an Australian-based ski writer, blogger, author and publisher. He edits theSKImag – the No.1 magazine for skiers, and Alpine Style, the lifestyle magazine for the mountains. Jim contributes to metro newspapers and is the author of two books about mountain resorts (see the pictures) and the co-author of the comprehensive Snow Guide to Australia and New Zealand.