Perisher Ski Resort Guide
Perhaps the most well-known resort in Australia is Perisher in NSW, it’s also the largest.
The ski area is an amalgamation of several smaller resorts connected by the biggest lift network in the southern hemisphere. There’s also a giant 8-person chair lift.
The connected resorts of Blue Cow, Guthega, Smiggin Holes and Perisher Valley make the Perisher ski area a giant experience.
Recently, the resort was bought by the Vali Resorts company so the area, already impressive, will no doubt undergo some serious investment in the coming years.
While Perisher claims to have the most snow in Australia, this isn’t saying a lot. The snow is certainly the most reliable as Perisher is fairly high.
However, in terms of quantity, as with all Australian resorts, there aren’t the huge powder dumps you get elsewhere in the world.
Generally, the resort gets less than 3 meters of snow per season and the snow-making facilities are not great.
Although with upcoming developments and investment, this may change and make Perisher the most snow-sure resort in Australia.
Situated in the South-east of New South Wales, Perisher is a 6-hour drive from Sidney and a 7-hour drive from Canberra. But this doesn’t stop the crowds flocking to the resort for some time on the mountains.
Most people drive to the resort so it’s surprising that Perisher itself has so few over-night car parking spaces with most parking in the nearby, connected resorts.
If you fly into the Snowy Mountain Airport its just a short 30-minute drive to Perisher. There is also a ski tube and buses connecting the resorts to each other so no matter where you park, you can get around.
Of the resorts themselves, Perisher is by far the largest with the most accommodation, restaurants, shops and facilities.
If you are looking for childcare during the day then staying in Perisher is definitely the best option. At the other end of things, it’s also the best for nightlife with a variety of bars which stay open late.
For accommodation, there is very little ski-in/ski-out accommodation in any of the resorts and most places require a short walk to get the lifts.
There is a wide variety of accommodation available from high-end, luxurious chalets to cheaper motels and B&Bs to self-catered lodges.
If you want a quieter time then head to one of the smaller resorts such as Guthega or Smiggin Holes.
The resorts are quieter, especially at night and the morning queues for the lifts are considerably smaller.
On the slopes
Perisher ski resort is massive by anyone’s standard. There are over 3,000 acres of terrain to enjoy covered by 47 lifts.
The slopes are spread out sideways so the vertical drop isn’t huge but there are so many runs, you’ll still have plenty of runs to explore.
Most Australian resorts are expensive in terms of what you get in return but thanks to the large number of runs and that Perisher is part of the Epic Pass ticket system, it’s by far the best bang-for-buck in Australia.
The Epic Pass lets you visit resorts around the world for a seasonal price so if you have the pass, Perisher is a great addition.
The slopes themselves tend to be suited to beginner and intermediate skier looking for good, clean, fun runs rather than hugely challenging slopes. There are lots of good runs for cruising and gaining confidence with speed.
Due to its easy pistes and huge ski area, the slopes can be busy and during school holidays the lift queues are undeniably long.
The slopes are also very family-friendly with dedicated slow zones and beginner zones. Kids will have a great time learning on the Kids Snowsports School Learning Zone.
That’s not to say there are no runs for advanced and expert skiers. There are several black and double black runs which are short but exciting.
Several have some very intense moguls and will test even the most experienced skier. However, most of the runs considered black or double black. Are in fact, relatively easy compared to other runs of the same category in other resorts.
When it comes to back-country skiing Perisher has a decent share of off-piste routes between the trees. It’s not very challenging but it is a beautiful and fun way to get off-piste.
There are some access points to some true back-country skiing but they are few and far between.
One of the biggest draws to Perisher is the great snow parks for freestyling. There are 5 parks across the ski area for all abilities. There is also a superpipe for those more experienced skiers.
If you’re looking for other activities then there are some cross-country skiing trails and a snow-tubing zone as well as a snow play zone for kids and families.