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Snow Ski

Snow Ski is a popular activity in Australia although many people don’t know, Australia has excellent snow ski fields and resorts operating between June and early October, and depending on the winter season, it can be extended.. All fields are located in a unique region of Mount Kosciusko (2229m) and the Kosciusko National Park, in New South Wales border with Victory. The fields have tracks for all levels. The highest field is Charlotte Pass, and is up to1760 m of height, and it is also the place with the recorded lowest temperature in Australia, registering a freezing - 23 degrees C.

The fields are little far from the great cities, the nearest city would be Canberra. By car, the trip will take 5 hours from Melbourne, and 6 hours from Sydney. Alternatively, it is possible to go by train, omnibus or airplane. The cities of Cooma and Albury are the biggest in the ski region and are used as a base for daily excursions to the fields because they are only one hour away. These cities are not the only ones, but with better infrastructure, with BBQ areas, hotels, restaurants and bars creating a great atmosphere and entertainment for night time after the ski sessions. Many rock shows and bands play over there with different styles of music, guaranteeing fun for all ages. Nightclubs are also quite popular with people from all parts of Australia and the world. There are plenty of shops to rent snow equipment in these cities and you could only find more options at the Ski fields itself. The other small cities, kind of villas surrounding the area, are a little less attractive, but in compensation they are closer to the ski fields. Several of those Ski fields offer packages, but the price rises with the altitude. Actually in all the cities around Kosciusko National Park everything is more expensive during the snow season, because it is the only period of the year with tourist flow, and of course the local population depends on that period to support them for the rest of the year. The different fields are showed in the diagram above and each one has a different particularity and different prices. In the summer this area is a paradise for long walks in the mountain and to swim in the lakes.

Characteristics and Prices of each Field (2005) Note: This prices are only related for the use of the facilities in the field and the lifts and does not include rental of equipment to ski, lodging and other transports within the ski field. For whom are not familiar the terms of Ski, lifts are those small chairs, cords, bars in T that are used to take the person to the top of the mountain. The prices shown here are referring to the cost of the lift for only one day. Package with more days, you will get better deals. Another thing, practically all the Ski fields have at least one restaurant, bar, shop to rent equipment and most have tracks for Skiers as well as for Snowboarders. Some have nightclubs, childcare facilities and until cinema. Anyway we suggested contacting directly the referred fields for information and updates about the snow condition, access, programs, schedules, prices, etc.

Mt.Baw Baw - One of the smallest ski resorts and a very good filed for beginers, located to only 2 hours by car from Melbourne. The mountain has spectacular views and 7 lifts. Price per A$ day
Mt.Buller - In Victory , 3 hours by car from Melbourne, quite big with a villa close by. It has 52 lifts and excellent tracks for all levels of experience. Price per A$ day
Mt.Buffalo –  Beautiful landscape including pretty lookouts. There is a villa in the top. Ideal for beginners but it has also tracks for pros. It is located inside the valley so it is sheltered for strong winds. 5 lifts. Price per A$57 day .
Charlotte the Pass – the oldest, highest, and the most popular. The car cannot go until the lifts and for that reason you must leave it in the Skitube Terminal Flat. From that point, a bus will take you until snow fields costing A$48 roundtrip until the lifts. There are tracks for all levels.5 lifts. Price of lifts A$
Falls Creek - One of most regular fields with guaranteed snow and cheap restaurants. It has 96 tracks and 2 super pipes, being the long one with 3 km. For all levels of experience. 19 lifts. Price per A$85. day.
Thredbo - The most vertical slope in Australia with almost 700 meters, and alpine villa in European style within easy locomotion around. It offers excellent walking tracks in mountains with fantastic views of Mt Kosciusko 14 lifts. Price per day A$ 
Perisher Blue - one of the biggest with 53 lifts, and as Charlotte Pass cannot access thelifts and must leave them in Bulloks Terminal Flat and pay to get to the lifts. Many different tracks for all levels. Price per A$ day
Selwyn - In New South Wales. The car access is only 30 minutes of the field, and is one of best for beginners and families, with soft and easy slopes. For those wanting more action, it is possible to gone until the top of the mountain through a snow car. Price per A$ day.

Note: If you want to have fun and don’t want to spend lot of money renting equipment and chairs, take something rigid such as a plastic board to slide in the snow.

Basic Price to Rent equipment for one day. Prices can vary according to the field. (average)

Skis + Pole + Boots - A$ 54
Snowboard + Boots + Wrist Guards A$ 62
Adult Jacket + Pants A$ 40
Helmet A$ 18

Tips about  Snow Ski :

1-  Book in advance the lodging because the season is relatively short and the cheapest accommodation are the first to be sold out.
2- Take extra socks, impermeable wool cap and gloves to the field. There is nothing worse than to get wet when skiing, Use impermeable jackets and trousers, and   the one that  cover the boots with an elastic to avoid the snow entry. Wear light clothes underneath, because sometimes it is warm, due to the physical activity and the sun.
3 - Dark sunglasses are very useful to stop the snow brightness. The prolonged periods without sunglasses can occur the called snow blindness, it is temporary but for a while the person is not able to focus the darkest objects. Solar protector is a must especially for the face. Remember that with high altitudes and less atmosphere, the sun burns harder
4 -  Have absolute certainty that your boots (ski or snowboard) are comfortable in your foot. They may be uncomfortable by its naturally rigid, and they will be worse if the boot tightens here and there, and could ruin your day. When renting the equipment outside the ski zone (in the city), remembers that you will have to return, all the way back with the pain in you feet (already happens with me).
5 -   If you never skied before, it is worthwhile to have classes with the instructors. They are cheap and sometimes they even free.  You just need to mention that you are a beginner. You will learn faster and better and not wasting time trying to dominate the technique.
6 -   Surf, Skate and Snowboard are completely different sports and use different movements. Snowboard could be difficult even for an experience Surfer to perform well, without classes and previous training. If you are not sure, start with ski and later snowboard, as ski is easy to learn.

Man, it is good to have the cold snow to refresh my bottom after all these falls.

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