Thredbo - Australia's Best Resort, But It Has Some Strong Competition
Thredbo is my local mountain, and I’ve been coming here for the past 20 years.
Most people look past the Australian Alps and save up their pennies and head to Europe or the US for their winter breaks. Most people who do that love to tell you that’s how they are spending their vacations.
One thing I do love about Thredbo is that you are going to find more die-hards than try hards. August is a bit of different story, but anytime around that month, you will get a good mix of people who love the mountain.
Before we get too far into the review, when you look at the size of Thredbo compared to any New Zealand mountain, us Aussies have them covered.
They do have Queenstown (and the All Blacks) which beat us every day, but you don’t have that village life like Thredbo offers where you walk to the lift and après! When looking at the Australian resorts, its large in comparison. It has the highest lift access slopes and the longest trail in Australia, the Crackenback Supertrail.
Now let’s break this place down a bit or a lot:
The terrain here is for all levels, it just depends on what you like and is all depends on snow coverage which can be its Achilles heel.
The best level of rider this caters for is intermediate. There are so many runs that you can get from beginner to intermediate fast, but once you start looking for black runs, it’s there, but then it’s time for side and backcountry.
Yes, you can build up your air miles here. There are some natural jumps around the place. At the cruiser chair, you can access the beginner terrain parks, but you will get bored quite quickly if you know what you're doing. The best place is off the Anton T-bar. Here you can You’re Your Limit. It’s a run where there are intermediate to advance jumps and rails that will get the hair to stand up on your back.
If you are looking to hone in your skills and want to stick to a run, the supertrail is 3 km long and offers so much variation.
For me, the best part of the mountain is the bushranger. You have to go past Black Sallees restaurant and then pick your path through the trees.
Once again a lot of variation and you can play in here all day. You will end up back again on the supertrail. Finally, the place to play when it opens is the Golf Course Bowl. Access from the Karels T-Bar and be sure to ask people how to access as it can be a bit tough, once you let go, keep heading up the mountain. All good for Skiers, boarders will have to unclip, but it’s well worth it. If not, go to the bottom of the Basin T-bar and don’t get it up and ride any of the black runs in the basin bowl to tickle your fancy.
I will update this section very soon, but for the first time, Thredbo has opened up backcountry tours. It’s about time and ill be sure to get out there and let you know what it’s all about.
The beginner slopes here are ideal for first-timers. Friday flat could potentially be the scariest run. Loaded with beginner and most are on tram tracks. Once you concour Friday Flat head to The Cruiser area. Here there are a bunch of green and blue runs which are short and enough to keep you busy on your way to intermediate. Once you have the hang of that, head down High Noon.
The village has tried very hard to have a European-esque feel about it, but at the end of the day, it’s Australian with a tinge of Euro.
The bars and restaurants are similar to what you would find in most snow villages and options can get limited if you are here for a week. Thredbo has been known to try and establish itself as a bit of a party mountain, but it never hits the mark. It caters for all as it has a traditional ski culture, family friendliness, and an emerging shredder culture.
Like all Australian ski resorts, Thredbo is not renowned for snow quality or quantity. The average snowfall per season is approximately two metres. You will notice that the snow cannons will keep most of the popular runs covered, but you always have to go into Threadbo expecting a mixed bag. Sometimes it’s off, and sometimes you nail it. Is that not like most mountains?
WHERE IS THREDBO NSW?
Thredbo 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 shitty roads of most of the New Zealand ski fields. Had to throw that one in there for our friends over the ditch!
NIGHTLIFE, BARS, APRÉS
Without a doubt, the best place to have Aprés is at the River Inn on Friday Flat or next to the Gunbarrel Express Chair. From 3:30 the place starts to fill up, buy 4:30 the place is going off with a live band out the front and table dancing is encouraged. I’ve NEVER seen anyone kicked out or told: “that’s too far”. By 5:45 the place is a ghost town.
If you don’t want this kind of scene, and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t, head to either the Apres Bar in the Denman Hotel or the Lounge Bar in the Alpine Hotel. In peak season you will get a crowd, and it’s a good atmosphere, but it’s no River Inn.
From here there are not many options if you are looking to charge on. The village has a siesta. If you are looking for a bar and somewhere to eat that caters for families and also booze hounds, head to a place very badly named The Local Pub. It’s simple and easy, not going to blow your socks off, but it gets the job done. Gret when you want no fuss. There is not much regarding atmosphere here, so best to take a walk around the village and see what’s happening. House of Ullr has a small bar that has a good vibe, and they always jam in some live music which adds instant fun.
Once you are done checking out the village, there are only two places that will have a place to kick on. For an older crowd head to the Schuss Bar. Always live music and a place that will kick on for a long as the party is happening. OK, the latest is about 2 am.
If you are looking for a slightly younger crowd, then the place to party is Keller Bar. Only open on Friday and Saturday night and will close at 2 am. It won't start rocking until about midnight, and by that time, this powder hound is crashed out. I’d love to have the body to be able to party and ride all day and night, but I’m here to get as much out of the mountain as I can.
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