New South Wales’ four ski resorts are all within Kosciuszko National Park. Each boasts a unique vibe and extensive snowmaking to stretch the season.
If you choose to stay on snow – you won’t have to lug your gear and deal with tired youngsters. But it can be expensive.
A cheaper option is to stay down in Jindabyne or Adaminaby and either catch the ski tube or drive to the slopes. All the ski towns have snug lodges, Bavarian-style chalets and multi-room, self-catering apartments.
So which resort is right for your family?
Perisher is the biggest alpine resort in the Southern Hemisphere, with seven mountain peaks, 1245 hectares of skiable terrain, 47 lifts, five terrain parks plus a half pipe, mini pipe and two rider x courses and areas for kids.
Its interconnected web of runs, lifts and on-snow activities spread across four fantastic ski resorts – Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes, Perisher and Guthega. Perisher has a great range of trails from tree-lined trails to wide open runs and the fantastic “rollercoaster” with super-fun ups and downs.
You’ll also find tubing, tobogganing, night skiing on Tuesday and Saturday and fireworks to keep the kids entertained.
Ski lessons at the Snowsports School start for kids at age three. You can book lessons either at Perisher or Blue Cow. Private snowboarding lessons are available from age five, group lessons from seven years of age. Families can book childcare for children aged six months to six years.
From Jindabyne, you can catch the ski tube to Perisher and Blue Cow stations. Simply park your car at the Ski Tube Station and ride. If you book the ski tube with your lift tickets, it’s much easier to juggle kids and skis. The station also has a coffee shop for a caffeine hit if you need to wait for the train.
Perisher has a mix of chairlifts and t-bars. Inexperienced kids may struggle with the T-bars so you may be limited in the terrain you can cover. Grab a map and plan your route – it will save you from loads of tears.
Our tip: Pack your own lunch to cut the cost of buying food on the mountain. And bring water bottles. Also – ALWAYS test your ski bindings before you set off. It’s a long way back to the shop if something goes wrong. We know. It happened to us.
Base elevation: 1,720 metres
Skiable area: 1,245 hectares
Runs: 22% Beginner 60% Intermediate 18% Advanced
Longest run: 4 kilometres (Top of Perisher Quad Express to Bottom of Blue Calf T-Bar)
Thredbo has 14 lifts (three hi-speed quads, one quad, five t-bars, two double chairs and three snowrunners). It has the steepest overall terrain of any ski resort in mainland Australia, and also the highest lifted point (2037m AHD).
With its steep, forested slopes and loads of après-ski activities for all ages, Thredbo offers a run to suit everyone – whether you are a first timer or seasoned pro.
Beginners start at Friday Flat and move up the mountain as they progress. Expect plenty of action with runs from gentle green to adrenalin pumping double black.
Thredboland’s Ski Program offers lessons for kids aged from three to 14 and child care for kids from six months.
Threbdo also has a great snowplay park the kids love to play on.
Parents who want a challenge can look at Backcountry ski tours, or snowshoeing to Mount Kosciuszko.
Backcountry tours will take you up the mountain past the Eagles rest chairlift before dropping into a powdery valley. You will need to be fit to do it – you have to walk back up that hill once you’re done.
Base elevation: 1365m
Skiable area: 480 Ha.
Runs: 16% beginners, 67% intermediate and 17% advanced skiers.
Longest run: 5km (Village Trail from Karel’s T-bar down to Friday Flats)
Snowbound Charlotte Pass, Australia’s highest resort, is fab for families who are just starting to ski together.
It has five lifts, two free ride terrain parks, fantastic on snow accommodation, some of NSW’s best snow cover, and loads of exciting on and off-snow fun.
Perfect for beginners and intermediates, the gorgeous resort is accessible only by over-snow transport from Perisher, making it more intimate than some of its neighbours, with virtually no queues.
Snowshoe tours, onesie Wednesdays, a fun kids flare run, the incredible all-day kids ski program for littlies, as well as childcare for kids over three, complete the family-friendly picture.
Base elevation: 1760m
Skiable area: 50 Ha.
Runs: 10% beginner, 80% intermediate, 10% advanced
Longest run: 500m
A great introductory snow option for families, Selwyn has 11 lifts and plenty of space for building snowmen, tubing and tobogganing.
This snowfield really is for beginners. It only has a few runs – which is great because you can’t lose the children. The ski hire shop is at the entrance to the resort. Kids can try chairlifts, pomas, t bars and even a rope tow.
If you plan to ski here, you can find accommodation in Adaminaby or Talbingo. You will find it is significantly cheaper than the other ski resort towns.
Selwyn has an excellent Snow Sports School, offering group lessons for kids aged from three-years.
Base elevation: 1614m
Skiable area: 45 Ha.
Runs: 88% beginners and intermediates (although we’d say that’s probably more like 100%, the “black runs” here are not hard)
Longest run: 800m
Michelle is a publishing consultant who has worked as a journalist, foreign correspondent and travel writer for the past two decades.