What’s new for the Aussie snow season

There’s some big news and not so big news out of the Aussie resorts pre season. Though we suspect that Perisher has a few untold secrets yet to be revealed. Will the Superpipe announced last year be ready for riding in 2014? Will Shaun White cut the ribbon when it does?

But first up the $4million Perisher Freedom Chairlift that will increase Guthega’s lifting capacity by forty six percent with 107 quad chairs capable of lifting 2400 skiers and boarders per hour. Yes, it’s on track and will be ready to rumble come opening day and there’s even a new Guthega Kiosk to keep your energy sorted.

Not to be outdone, Thredbo had their own impressive announcement this year. The New South Wales resort is the only Australian resort in the Mountain Collective, a multi resort pass that includes Alta/Snowbird, Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Whistler Blackcomb. Thredbo season pass holders will receive fifty percent off lift passes at any of the Mountain Collective resorts for up to five days.

But that’s not all, Thredbo also welcomes a new home for their intermediate terrain park which will now be on the lower half of the Supertrail and be longer and more diverse. There is also a new snow play park at the base station for tobogganing, snow tubing and snow play and a new purpose built mogul course for those who still have knees left to pound.

Families will be pleased to know kids get older at Thredbo in 2014. Kids lift passes no longer stop at fourteen years of age and have now been extended to seventeen years and under. That’s right, teenagers are now officially the price of kids! But wait there’s more including new teen sessions at ski school for ages thirteen to seventeen.

Kids (yes those seventeen and under) also ski for free for each day a parent skis when packaged with participating Kids Stay Free accommodation in certain lodges and during June 8 to 21 and September 2 to October 7.

In Victoria Hotham will unleash a new Burton Riglet Park. Think of it as a snowboarding Mecca for kids as young as three. The flat terrain at the Big D has been specially designed with small bumps, ramps, rollers and toys that help teach the kids the fundamentals of balance and stance on a snowboard. They join their sister resort, Falls Creek, as the only Australian resorts to host a Burton Riglet Park.

Falls Creek is determined to be known as Australia’s most friendly mountain (they certainly have the happiest lifties) and are focusing on welcoming new people to the resort with a series of ‘introduce your friends and family’ style options yet to be released. The Mum Skis Free Program trialled in 2013 will be a permanent fixture in 2014 with mum getting a free lift pass, a late start with fresh coffee and a two hour women only lesson for every day the kids are in ski school.

The 1234Ever Pass gives Falls Creek skiers and boarders the opportunity to complete a four day learn to ski or snowboard program in June and then ski the rest of the season for free.

StyleWars is back at Falls Creek in 2014 and the course will be opened to the public after the competition for budding extreme riders.  Meanwhile the resort’s terrain parks will introduce more entry level features for 2014.

The 2012 set up for Stylewars Photo: Skifalls
The 2012 set up for Stylewars Photo: Falls Creek Chris Hocking

Melbourne weekenders will be pleased to know that Mt Buller has completed the automation of snowmaking on the northern side of Bourke Street with the purchase of six new fully automatic SMI Puma snowmaking guns that will produce eight times more snow than the ones they replaced.

There’s a new mid load station on the Tirol T Bar and the former Cow Camp Plaza day facility in the Village Square has been completely renovated. Expect a new mezzanine level and double the seating and dining capacity.

Winter art lovers will enjoy the new Sculpture Park Walk that launched last December. Download the Mt Buller Walks app for a guided audio tour.

Mt Buller has also added Genting Secret Garden resort in China as a sister ski destination to add to their relationships with Courchevel, St Anton, Vail and Beaver Creek.

Watch this space as we bring you more new announcements as the Australian and New Zealand resorts unveil their temptations for Aussie skiers and boarders for 2014.

In the meantime, check out what’s new in New Zealand for 2014.

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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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