Every snow region has a heritage resort. The kind that’s filled with local history and lined with legends, that put the region on the snow map and became the pinnacle for skiers and snowboarders.
Welcome to Thredbo, where you never forget your first time.
Mine was back in the annual Snow Ball days when Kerry Anne Kennerley and Sydney’s hoi polloi descended upon this alpine town every long weekend to toast the beginning of the ski season, sip on Westcoast Coolers and dance in the Keller till dawn. When a school friend’s boyfriend took me and my never-seen-snow legs to the top of Merritt’s, pointed to the slope and said “get down.”
Clearly not a student of the school of compassion. But get down I did, because there was no other way.
The hoi polloi has given way now to a vibrant blend of old and new school, some rocking music producers and a ton of Australia’s best Olympic and FIS World Cup athlete ambassadors (helloooo Valentino Guseli, Josie Baff, Tess Coady). Westcoast coolers have been knocked out in favour of Mumm Champagne and the Keller’s still there heaving with the glimmer of newfound romance, if only for a night.
Thredbo is having a renaissance, though the devout would say it never lost its crown.
The only resort in Australia to have a gondola (launched in 2020) and to actively be limiting daily passes to ensure fewer lift lines, Thredbo has been investing big in more than just the lift structure and it’s officially come of age.
$2 million has been pumped into refurbing the Thredbo Alpine Hotel with nods to the resort’s Austrian founders Tony Sponar and Charles Anton, with chalet style soft furnishings you’d find in Tyrolean villages, dotted with Aussie artwork from the likes of Zoe Young and Brad Spalding.
The lift company has snapped up all but one of the 10 ski-in ski-out restaurants on the 550 hectare mountain and created a plethora of global inspired experiences you’re more likely to find in the European Alps or North American Rockies than snow gum lined Aussie mountains.
Think Merritts Mountain Haus Bavarian feasts after dark at the top of the gondola, snow cat rides to Kareela Hutte for four course dining or the Kareela Hutte Supper Club for Mumm champagne, fireworks and flare run. All you need is some Moonboots, stretch pants and schnapps and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were living the Euro après life.
Let’s not stop there, either. Thredbo are owning some super cool mountain adventure experiences in the country right now, with good reason. Fancy a sunrise snow experience? Hit up the Sunrise Sessions by Defender for early morning breakfast and first tracks on Australia’s longest ski run, the Supertrail.
Many have heard of Dead Horse Gap but not everyone knows where this classic Thredbo side country run is, or how to get to it. Join the resort’s official and new Dead Horse Gap Tour and be guided through the snow guns until you pop out down the road from the resort where a Defender will be waiting to drive you back.
“For me, it is the fresh, early morning, uncrowded groomers under cruiser chairlift, and the speedy T-bar lap servicing one of the world’s funnest mini parks over by Merritts.” Tess Coady, Winter Olympic Bronze Medallist, Snowboard Slopestyle
Speaking of backcountry, the crew at Thredbo take it seriously and offer introduction to backcountry half day experiences alongside full day guided backcountry tours for the more experienced. With the increase in earning your turns, the resort has also released a Backcountry Access Pass for one return trip on the Kosciuszko Chairlift.
But wait, there’s more. Thredbo’s favourite annual events are all still on the calendar – uni week, Masters week, Rossignol women’s days, lawyers weekend and the like. But now you can add the Thredbo Triple Crown with a $60k prize pool across three different freestyle events (big air, slopestyle, rails) alongside Battle on the Bluff for a freeride style event and Bush Doof with Tess Coady and a handful of the world’s best snowboarders taking over the resort for two days.
It’s no wonder Thredbo has won Australia’s Best Ski Resort in the World Ski Awards for six years running. They’ve also strategically aligned with the world’s best in terrain, events and après, Aspen Snowmass and they’ve joined the IKON Pass alongside the likes of Jackson Hole and Revelstoke.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve driven up the Alpine Way into the arms of Thredbo, how many après tales created that can never be told, how many legends I’ve met on the chair and in the lounge and how many times my thighs have burned from first chair to last.
Let’s just add another season to the list in 2023.