Australia NSW - Perisher

Ride guide


Working out from the Perisher Centre at Perisher Valley, the Front Valley slopes are the front beach – the main learning area – and well-served by an eight-seater detachable chairlift. From there, skiers and boarders can head wide to North Perisher or up the middle to Back Perisher Mountain or across to Mt Perisher – there are huge expanses of terrain in and between all these zones.

Smiggin Holes is a smaller area with very good learning qualities and is a terrific launching point for cross country. A free shuttle connecting Smiggins and Perisher makes access simple for more serious slopes.

Blue Cow is Australia’s most recently developed area; it has a good base building which includes a Skitube terminal and its well-planned lift system presents a surprisingly broad mix of terrain. With no overnight accommodation, Blue Cow connects with Perisher via the lift system or the Skitube.

Guthega is the outpost; there’s free parking for those that want to drive in, but other than overnight stayers, people will usually access it using the Perisher lift network. The terrain is good, the views sensational and Guthega is also an excellent launching point for ski touring.

Who does it suit? Beginner 22%, intermediate 60%, advanced/expert 18%

Who does it really suit? All comers, if a little light on the expert terrain.

Soft spots: There’s no shortage of soft stuff to get people going - this is one of the most encouraging areas in the world.

Perisher Valley: Front Valley has the terrain and it now also has an easy ride with the eight-seater Village 8 Express chair. Hop over into the next valley and ride the slower Pretty Valley chair and you get into some longer but equally cruisy runs.

Blue Cow: The Pleasant Valley Quad chair is perhaps the pick of the whole area – as it’s set beyond the base areas, you get a sense of mountain isolation and the trails wind easily along among borders of boulders and snow gums.

Cruisers: The choice is enormous, but again there are some highlights.

Perisher Valley: We love winding through the trees from the top of the Forester Quad down to the base of the Happy Valley T-Bar or even a little further, to the base of the Mt Perisher chair – this is mostly green with a little blue at the top. Other great cruisers with a little more pace are the Hypertrail on Mt Perisher or Olympic into Happy Valley.

Blue Cow: Ride the Ridge Quad chair and Outer Limits can be sensational – especially in the morning after grooming.

Guthega: The Freedom Chair, new in 2014, has transformed access in this area. Some of the best skiing in this vast area now gets efficient lifting.

Adventure: Ride the North Perisher T-bar and there’s an area hard skier’s left at the top of the T called the Devil’s Playground. It’s more blue than black and can be a lot of fun for adventurous skiers and boarders, especially after a storm. The adventure starts in Perisher and comes out at the base of the Ridge chair in Blue Cow.

Holy mackerel: Kamikaze at Blue Cow is the pick – for an area often criticised for its lack of challenging terrain, this is, in fact, one of Australia’s longest consistently challenging runs. An option in this area for bump lovers is Toppa’s Run.

Powder pointer

Perisher Valley: North Perisher is the place to be, especially during a storm as it will be reasonably well sheltered and is such a snow magnet, you might get fresh tracks every run.

Blue Cow: Rock Garden to Ridge Chair loads up very well and is a good choice for those who are willing to make speed their friend on a powder run.

Guthega: Take to the trees, especially during a blizzard.

Local tips: There is some sensational terrain just beyond the boundaries for people who want to extend themselves. Make sure you have the know-how and equipment and go with someone who knows the area, but highlights are the Paralysers (the name gives the terrain more bark than its actual bite) beyond the Mt Perisher lifts and, even closer to the resort, the Double Trouble area between Blue Cow’s Pleasant Valley chair and Guthega (best in fresh snow and exposure here means the snow cover can turn heavy as soon as it warms a little). Another option is a First Tracks morning – pre-booked the afternoon before. It gives skiers or boarders exclusive access to a specific area of the resort from 7.30am until 9am.

Traps: Crowding for lifts can be a problem, particularly during morning and after-lunch peaks. The tip is to avoid the chairlifts at these times and stay ahead of the crowds – this might mean skipping straight to Mt Perisher in Perisher Valley, getting to Guthega early or making a beeline for the Ridge Chair at Blue Cow. All these areas will also be good during the lunch break.

Gear: Plenty of options in Jindabyne, with Jindabyne Sports the pick for boot-fitting, tuning and ski hardware. On-mountain, Perisher Snowsports is the most convenient and easily packages up with a lift ticket. It also has performance/exclusive-level equipment.

 

jim darby/the snow biz
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arnie wilson/from the alps
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go flip/flip byrnes
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There's a lot to like about ski lifts, and the people who make them.

Life is full of ironies. The Alps got the snow and Russia got the Olympics.

Meet the fashion victims; a whole winter world of them.