A Melbournian’s Insider Guide for a ski holiday at Mt Buller

Mt Buller. Pic Mt Buller Media.

Ski Club of Victoria member, Dr Peter Stiebel, is a long time Mt Buller regular.

He’s skied at Buller since his teens and is actively involved with both ski club and its Mt Buller base, the Ivor Whittaker Memorial Lodge, affectionately known as ‘The Whitt‘.

This is his guide.

Favourite run

Women’s Downhill (the top half) and Sun Valley.

Where do you head on a powder day?

Not telling, but it might be in the vicinity of the trees of Wombat Bowl off Family run.

Could also be in the trees in Burnt Hut area. There is excellent pow in Chalet Creek and in the trees of the old Village Run.

Favourite après

Mt Buller has a thriving night life. There are many choices of venues. My favourite apres spot is the Ivor Whittaker Lodge (The Whitt) – it’s obvious, it’s the Ski Club of Victoria and that’s my winter weekends home, and it’s great.

For the younger in age it’s got to be Kooroora (aka Hooha), and also at The Alpine Retreat.

The Chalet Bar is a great apres spot for those that want to sit and chill in a more relaxed environment.

Favourite on mountain dining 

My favourite dining on mountain, apart from the Whitt, is hands down, Kaptain’s restaurant at Pension Grimus.

Kaptain’s at Pension Grimus

Excellent food is also available at  Snow Pony, The Chalet Hotel (two restaurants), Chamois Restaurant at Enzian Hotel, Breathtaker Hotel (two restaurants) , Dolomiti Italiano at the Alpine Retreat, and Drakes at the Duck Inn

More relaxed dining is available at The Abom, The Arlberg Hotel (two restaurants), Cattleman’s Cafe, Pats Italian, the Fish & Chippery, Burger Haus,  Hooha (Kooroora Hotel), and the Powder Bar at Buller Central.

On snow lunch at Tirol is a treat, but get there before 12 as it gets hectic. Great après ski bar too on the deck on a sunny day with fantastic views of the piste and Mt Buller village.

The lunch time apricot moguls at Koflers are a must too, along with their pasta dishes. On a sunny day eating out on the deck or on a table in the snow with a view of the summit is about as on-mountain lunch as you can get.

Worthy of mention of course is my Ski Club of Victoria at the Whitt for lunch too….and of course our Coffee Garage lunch time snacks.

Favourite nearby dining 

Best food in the sub alpine town of Mansfield is The Produce Store….great food and country eclectic charm, and at The Mansfield Hotel, great bistro food.

Favourite non skiing activity

My favourite non skiing activity at Mt Buller is hanging out, dinner and socialising with my ski buddies. That is a great part of Mt Buller, it is a very social Melbourne mountain and great to catch up with friends (we are all weekend warriors).

Best hot chocolate

The best hot chocolate is at Whitt Coffee Garage, and at Koflers Hutte.

Where do you take visitors to impress them?

Mt Buller!  It’s impressive in it’s own right. Arguably the best steeps in Australia too.

Check out the Mt Buller chutes off to the west off the Summit and home to the Buller X Games. Too steep? Then check out the view of the Chutes from the apex turn on the blue rated Family Run.

Mt Buller has great views from everywhere; that’s where Buller wins again and has earned it’s tag line “on top of the world at Mt Buller.”

Mt Buller Photo by Andrew Railton

Where would you take a date?

Perhaps the fine dining options at The Chalet’s Black Cockatoo restaurant, Breathtaker’s Signature Restaurant, Pension Grimus’ Kaptain’s Restaurant, or Snow Pony.

Activities for families

Mt Buller has a cinema at Alpine Central showing mainstream and specialty movies. The Alpine Museum at Alpine Central has a fantastic array of ski memorabilia, showcasing all things skiing in our past, and is certainly worth a visit.

Also housed inside Alpine Central is the new Buller Air Zone featuring trampolines, a giant air bag, inflatable bouldering wall and more. There is also a rock climbing wall in the building.

Indoor acrobatic 'air zone' launches at Mt Buller

Mt Buller offers Twilight session, skiing under lights on Saturday and Sunday nights. Kids will love this. Toboggan activities are available but please, only in the dedicated, designated toboggan areas. There are scenic walks and even just a stroll through the snowy village at dusk is a must do.

For the kids there is the Gnome Roam. Also, don’t forget to stop at the Gnome house, in the tree base, on the Mt Buller Road to show the kids; it’s just after the Gnome crossing road sign.

Any other tips 

On Mt Buller you can ski all of it’s four sides, so there is always somewhere to ski no matter what the weather.

The best way to enjoy Mt Buller on a sunny day is to follow the sun. Start the day on the northern runs and follow around to the south later. Might seem obvious, but the northern runs will get quite soft later in the morning and that’s about the time the shaded hard pack of the south starts to soften nicely.

In bad weather, the lower runs in the treed areas are way better than the higher foggy runs.

Sometimes a rain coat comes in handy.

Editors note: Check the SnowsBest snow forecast for your Mt Buller week ahead.

Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.


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