With what’s been described as the best start to a season in 20 years, it seems as if an Aussie snow holiday has become the hottest trend this winter.
Couple this with two years of in and out lockdowns, unused accommodation credits and we’ve found ourselves the ultimate recipe for a heavily booked out snow season.
But what to do if you are late to the booking party?
Before you start wallowing in your unprepared snow holiday crisis, we’ve rounded up the experts to share their top tips on finding last-minute snow holiday stays. Even when everyone is telling you there isn’t any left.
Stay in off the beaten track ski towns
When all your searches for on-mountain accommodation end up at a dead-end, it’s time to broaden your search. The good news is, towns surrounding the Resorts not only offer more accommodation variety, but they can also be a totally unique option to make your snow trip an extra memorable one.
Christie Hampton from Tourism Snowy Mountains recommends, “consider staying in towns like Berridale, Adaminaby or Dalgetty. You can still access the resorts from these areas while staying somewhere a little different from the norm like an eco cabin, farmstay or country pub”.
Hayley May from Snowy River Cabins adds “our farmstay option is great for keeping the kids and adults entertained. Meet farm animals, see echidnas and kangaroos in the wild and at around 70 minutes from the resorts, as long as you are away by 7am you can still make first lifts on most days”.
For Victorian resorts, towns like Mansfield, Harrietville, Omeo, Mount Beauty and Bright offer great alternative accommodation options for their respective resorts.
Change your accommodation perspective
Another trick to snapping up last-minute accommodation is to widen your scope on the type of room you’re willing to stay in. Anita Coia from Mt Hotham Resort Management Board suggests “be open to different options, for instance lodges rather than apartments or hotel rooms.”
There are plenty of benefits to staying in lodge accommodation which many avid snow goers may not be aware of.
Lodges are often home to knowledgable hosts who love nothing more than passing on insider tips to maximise your snow stay. They can also come with full or half board meals to make for an effortless trip. What’s more, the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of a lodge makes for a great setting to meet like-minded travellers and families. Who knows, you may even leave your holiday having made some life-long friends.
Flexibility is key, change your timings
If you’re late to the party booking a place to stay for your snow holiday, you may need to shift your thinking from weekend escapes to weekday stays.
“Weekends are busy but there is still accommodation available on snow mid-week during the season” says Hampton.
“Also consider visiting during shoulder periods. Spring is a fantastic time to visit the resorts. There’s more chance of sunshine and still plenty of fun to be had on the slopes”.
Being flexible with your dates can also prove to reap satisfying savings across the entirety of your holiday. Resorts often hand-out midweek and shoulder season lift passes, rental and lesson deals that can all add up to plenty of savings that you can pocket for your next holiday.
Local booking services are your friend
When trying your luck to squeeze in a last-minute snow trip, it can be fortuitous to pick up the phone and call the Resort’s local accommodation booking providers. Even when it looks like there’s nothing left online. Coia explains “they (local accommodation providers) will be right across what’s on offer”.
By jumping on the phone, providers may see an opening across their accommodation portfolio near your desired holiday dates. With a little flexibility, they can try to squeeze you in somewhere.
If you stubbornly stick to only searching for availability online, you may just miss the hidden opportunities that could arise from picking up the phone.
Ski specialists are your friends
Snow specialist travel agencies, such as Skimax Holidays, especially for Mt Buller, they often have access to properties you’ve been unable to secure and are on top of cancellations so they know when something becomes available. They can also package up your holiday in a deal with lift passes and transfers and more.
Join in the conversation (FB Community Groups)
When all else fails, it’s time to get active on socials. Join up to friendly snow-orientated Facebook community groups (just like ours).
Alternatively, join the conversation in groups to do with your preferred resort or feeder town. Also follow your favourite accommodation accounts.
Here you can strike gold with people having to quickly pass on pre-booked accommodation because of illness, injury or other life problems that have gotten in the way of their getaway.
If you’re open to it, you may also find opportunities to crash on a couch or room share with someone looking to split their accommodation costs.
For these groups, have an open-mind and be quick. The accommodation opportunities that do arise get snapped up in the blink of an eye. So be ready to pull the trigger when the right opportunity comes your way.
Be an early bird
It may seem obvious but now is a good time to start thinking about your next winter escape. That way, you don’t end up in the position you are in now.
Hampton’s parting words of wisdom, “the earlier you book, the more choices you’ll have for dates and you could have an early bird rate”.
It may be hard to contemplate the idea of a winter ‘23 snow season (I swear it was only 2018 yesterday), but get in now to avoid the current headache you’re dealing with today.
From off the beaten track escapes to flexibility in booking dates, add some of these top tips into your booking search arsenal and with a bit of perseverance, a sprinkle of luck and a good dollop of time you may just strike gold.
If all else fails, explore our AdventuresBest content and start booking an adventure holiday.