Scoring first chair on Perisher’s new Freedom Chairlift

Perisher’s Freedom Chairlift at Guthega opened today and SnowsBest got the first chair.

Yesterday was the day of the season so far with up to two metres of snow fallen in a week in most of Australia’s ski resorts. That is until more snow fell last night and the sky opened up to a blue canopy this morning. Then yesterday was old news.

I didn’t think the day could get any better after scoring some of the first tracks down The Bluff in Thredbo this morning on snow as light and dry and deep as any good NZ heli ski season I have had the fortune to relish in.

Then the phone rang and my day was about to get even brighter. The $4 million Freedom Chair at Perisher was opening for the first time today.

So I jumped in the car and headed to the Ski Tube to make it over to Guthega, popping out from the traverse from Blue Cow mid way underneath the new chair where more fresh dry powder was waiting for my ski tracks. That’s twice in one day.

I made it to the chairlift in time to plant my skis to score the first chair. And I waited.

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Meanwhile Perisher’s Olympic, ESPN X Games and Dew Tour master, Russ Henshaw, had found his way out of the terrain park and was hitting the powder on the fun hero terrain that Guthega offers.

The day was by now peaking.

russ henshaw perisher

Long time Guthega skier and Bega resident, Bruce Hartican, who also scored first chair regaled me with tales of Guthega back in the day and I wondered where all the people now were. It’s school holidays and yet most of Guthega was yet to be tracked out.

Clearly they all thought Front Valley was where it’s at.

Then the chair took off, with me on it and the rest of the next hour was a powder blur of laps, made all that more accessible by the quad that can carry almost two and a half thousand people per hour.

When the legs burned out I did what any powder pig with thigh fatigue would do. I headed to the pub, or rather the inn, the Guthega Inn for some schnitzel and my body weight in water served up by our Sochi Olympic Skier X athlete, Sami Kennedy Sim’s folks, Nick and Jenny.

My day was complete.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash was a guest of Perisher

Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of 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.


  1. Dropping your skis in place to save a spot then walking off? That’s a big no-no in some places. Perhaps an article on lift line etiquette is in order?

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