Perisher, Australia

Have you ever felt that the name Perisher feels somehow ominous?

Well, you may be right, but not quite what you think.

Perisher got its name from cattle herders who used to graze their herds on the summer pasture in the valley. Sometimes, their livestock would get trapped in the high country and had to be rescued. The herders would crest The Gap and brave the strong mountain blizzards to retrieve the animals. Due to the perilous nature of the conditions, they would exclaim, “This is truly a perisher!”

This ski field is the largest snow resort in Australia and the Southern hemisphere. Its massive skiable area is composed of four interconnected areas and resort villages of Guthega, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes, and Perisher Valley.

To help you plan for an epic vacation and find your way around Perisher Ski Resort, we’ve created this handy guide. You’ll also learn:

A Little History About Perisher

Alpine skiing in Perisher commenced in 1909, with the development of Hotel Kosciusko. At first, the early skiers could only schuss downslope (without making any turns). Even so, skiing at Perisher did not get underway until the 1960s.

Timeline of Skiing at Perisher, Australia

How to Get to Perisher, Australia

The Perisher Ski resort is located in Australia’s Snowy Mountains in Kosciusko National Park. It is about 5.5 hours from Sydney, about 2.5 hours away from Canberra, and 7 hours away from Melbourne. 

Flying into Snowy Mountains

For visitors arriving at Perisher, the closest airport is Canberra. There are many connecting flights from Canberra to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. You’ll also find daily flights connecting Canberra with Adelaide and Perth.

From Canberra, you can choose to take a connecting flight to Snowy Mountains Airport. However, there are only a few of these several times a week. Alternative flight destinations include the Cooma Airport.

These airports offer convenient transfer options, from shuttle buses to rental cars, and luxury helicopter rides.

Accessing The Resort by Road

There are several transfer options to the resort when you get to the airport or the city. If you’re coming from the Canberra Airport, the following options are available:

You can also access the resort by car or bus from the lakeside town of Jindabyne. If you want to avoid the icy roads, you can take the alpine ski tube railway to the resort from the nearby Lake Crackenback Resort. Popular transfer options from Jindabyne include:

Driving across the Snowy Mountains is a great experience. However, the road conditions can be challenging. Please drive cautiously and pay attention to the icy roads, heavy vehicles, and wildlife. Always adjust your driving style to the circumstances of the road and be sure to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. 

Taking Scenic Helicopter Rides

An alternative airport transfer option includes Alpine Helicopters which provide fast and scenic routes from the city to Perisher. The helicopters transport thrill-seekers to Jindabyne, from where you can take shuttle buses or rent 4 x 4 cars to the resort.

Be sure to book your slots in advance before arriving for more convenience.

Snow Conditions at Perisher

Perisher has the most reliable snow of all Australian ski resorts. The majority of its slopes are southward facing and have high base elevation. This makes them retain snow relatively well.

The resort receives an average seasonal snowfall of about 4 meters and an average snow depth of around 1.9 meters. August is the peak period during which the resort receives the most snowfall.

To compensate for low seasonal average snowfall, the resort has 240 snow guns that cover the slopes with high-quality artificial snow.

Skiing and Snowboarding at Perisher

Perisher’s terrain caters to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities and levels. It has great facilities where novice thrill-seekers can learn to ski or snowboard. The resort has many long and gentle slopes for beginners to gain their confidence and learn to ski and snowboard. In addition, it’s beginner-faced lifts such as T-bars and surface lifts to enable novices to get used to the slopes.

The Perisher Terrain

The resort is a favorite among skiers and snowboarders because of its great terrain, which favors thrill-seekers of all abilities. In addition, snow lovers get treated to scenic views of Perisher’s distinctive eucalyptus trees that grace the landscape.

Perisher Ski Resort is the largest in Australia with an impressive 3,076 acres of skiable terrain. This is about four times the size of Mt. Buller Ski Resort and twice that of Mt. Hotham. Much of the resort’s slopes are spread out horizontally, only rising a modest 355 meters vertical.

The ski field spans over seven mountain peaks and four interconnected resort areas. The mountain peaks are:

The expansive snow playground provides an extended alpine experience with numerous things to do.  

The ski field’s terrain is graded as follows:

The resort has lots of groomed and well-maintained runs. And from these stats, you can see that the resort’s terrain has more blue runs which favor beginners and intermediates. It also has a few groomed black runs that experts love. The resort also has some of the best terrain parks in Australia, loved by skiers and snowboarders of varying abilities. 

Avid skiers who need to ski or snowboard all year round can acquire the Australia-Epic Pass. This gives them access to Perisher and select North American ski fields, including the Park City-Canyons Resort.

Where to Ski at Perisher

The resort consists of four interlinked, formerly independent resorts, which include:

Blue Cow has a great variety of green and blue runs. It also has advanced terrain popular with advanced and expert revelers. This snowfield has the Ridge and Summit quad chairs that enable thrill-seekers to scale the incline.

Smiggin Holes has the most beginner-friendly terrain. It has a dedicated learners’ area to the side of the resort where absolute novices and children can learn snow sports at their own pace. Smiggin Holes has its own lift system featuring T-bars and chairlifts. These lifts give novice snow lovers the opportunity to access the slopes, before exploring the rest of the resort.

For beginners who feel more confident, they can access the steeper slopes of Pretty Valley with its double chair lifts. This area has long and gentle beginner runs where novices can practice curves and turns.

Guthega Park has the greatest variety of runs. It has a good measure of blue, green, double blue, and a few black runs. Skiers and snowboarders also get treated to magnificent views of the Kosciusko Mountain range. Intermediate skiers and snowboarders love the runs in this resort which are well-maintained and groomed.

Perisher Ski Resort’s Lift Summary 

The terrain’s 69 kilometers of slopes are served by 49 named lifts, spanning over the seven mountains at Perisher. Getting from one place to another on this massive snow area is no mean task, hence the many lifts. The lifts also allow thrill-seekers to access the constituent ski resorts. They include:

Where to stay and Dine at Perisher

At an altitude of 1,699 meters and a peak altitude of 2,054 meters, all Perisher villages are above the average snow line. While not many of the accommodation facilities are truly ski-in/ski/out, most require a short walk to the lifts and slopes.

Perisher has a wide range of accommodation options to suit individuals, groups, and budgets. Thrill seekers love the option to stay right on the mountain, enjoying the alpine fresh air and scenic views. The ski field’s accommodation is spread out across three regions at the mountain’s base. 

Perisher Valley has the largest collection of lodges, hotels, and apartments to suit every budget. Smiggin Holes has the best family-friendly accommodation on the resort. On the backside of the mountain, Guthega offers a more alpine experience, even though it has fewer facilities.

The following are some of the places to stay and dine:

If you’re looking for an off-mountain accommodation experience with more budget-friendly options, you can try the lakeside town of Jindabyne.

Planning A Winter Getaway to The Southern Hemisphere? Brealpa Can Help You

As temperatures rise in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s snow sports season in the Southern Hemisphere. And Perisher Ski Resort is one of the best places in Australia to spend your well-earned winter vacation.

Enjoy a massive lift-linked snow area with terrain to suit all levels and abilities. You’ll also find great accommodation options at Perisher that suits individuals, groups, and budgets. 

If you’re planning a skiing or snowboarding trip to the southern, Brealpa provides you with all the information you need to plan your getaway. Our Perisher Snow Resort guide has more information, including alternative transport, parking, and opening times.

You’ll also find lots of handy, firsthand information from our site on: