Richard Ross aka online retailer Aussieskier.com has been skiing at Mt Buller since a little tacker before becoming a ski instructor on the mountain that inspired his life long love of all things snow. Here he gives Snows Best an Insiders Guide to Mt Buller.
Why Mt Buller?
My Dad started skiing there in the 1950s, and in the early 1960s he built our lodge by hand with a group of mates. I spent my childhood skiing there on weekends and school holidays, and worked on the mountain for 10 years as an instructor from 1998-2007.
Where do you recommend to stay?
Breathtaker. Fantastic location, excellent spa facilities, modern rooms, fabulous restaurant and cool pizza bar up in the Loft.
Kooroora Kitchen – Big Breakfast. However it has changed hands over summer so we wait in nervous anticipation to see if this perennial favourite retains its combination of excellent food and great prices that we all love so much. Rumour is that the rent has skyrocketed so we’re a bit nervous.
Koflers – double shot mug latte, right in the heart of Buller’s best terrain, double points if Erin makes it for you.
Ski in for time out
Koflers – 10:30am – all the locals congregate after their morning turns to have a coffee, meet up and plan the rest of the ski day. Everybody has their favourite, but carbo-loading with a Lasagna or Spaghetti Bolognaise will power you through the afternoon and ski through the lunchtime lull. Their famous hot chocolate and Apricot Mogul has warmed generations of chilly skiers.
Favourite place for dinner
Pension Grimus – Traditional Austrian fare and hospitality, hosted by the patriarch of Mt Buller (and father of Olympic Skier Anton) – Hans Grimus. Beware the Schnapps, Snuff and ‘Australian Kiss’ after Dinner. No visit to Mt Buller is complete without a Schnitzel that leans off the edge of your plate and the incredible Salzburger Nockerl for dessert while Hans serenades you with his accordion.
The Whitt on a Saturday afternoon is always pumping, but you can’t beat the deck at Tirol on a sunny spring afternoon. We want to see more of DJ Dave Clark spinning up the tunes there whenever the weather is fair.
Your favourite event of the season
The ABOM Mogul Challenge is always a fantastic event, it attracts a top-class field of local and international competitors and the after party is legendary.
I also love the Friday night of Queen’s Birthday weekend, it’s before the hordes of party animals arrive and it’s a great chance to catch up with all the people you haven’t seen since October, hearing their stories from Winter (or Summer) exploits, and sharing the excitement of the season ahead over a beer or three.
Where do you take newcomers to Mt Buller to show off the terrain?
A tour of the Southside – start in Chamois, work your way around to Bull Run, Southside, Federation and Wombat bowls, and top it off with a trip up the Summit to McLaughlin’s Shoulder & Fanny’s Finish (or beyond). But the one thing that blows most people’s minds is skiing through the Woollybutts through the old Village area down to the Tirol T-Bar.
Favourite run on a powder day?
What can you get at Mt Buller you can’t get anywhere else?
A variety of terrain for advanced skiers that remains unmolested by grooming machines. Buller’s strength is the sheer amount of challenging, off piste slopes. In a good snow year it is mogul heaven, with steeps, cliffs, rocks and all the natural features you need to keep a strong skier challenged and amused.
Favourite non snow activity available at Mt Buller?
How can you tell a Mt Buller local?
Hate to perpetuate the stereotype, but a Range Rover with a Melbourne Football Club sticker is a decent giveaway.
Where would you find the Mt Buller locals if you were new to the mountain?
Lapping the deserted Southside chair, even on the busiest of weekends.
Heading to the snow in Australia or New Zealand? Read our Insiders Guides to satellite towns and resorts before you go from locals in the snow.