Thredbo, Australia - Resort Review
Thredbo has a great range of terrain boasting the largest vertical descents in Australian resorts and the longer runs are a selling point in themselves. Whether beginner, intermediate or advanced there is something at Thredbo for anyone.
Let’s just say it is possible to change a first impression. The photo below shows the condition of the snow when I arrived at Thredbo. I had travelled across the world from the UK for a on snow interview and lets just say I was left thinking whether I had made the correct choice. After being successful and spending the next 4 months living and working at Thredbo I was really happy that I had chosen Thredbo as a summer snowboard destination, let’s find out why.
When assessing Thredbo from a European snowboarders perspective its easy to look at the mountain stats and just dismiss it. With a vertical drop of 672m its would be a little brother to the resorts of the French or Swiss Alps, but in Australia Mount Kosciuszko stands alone. This is why runs like Supertrail (3.5kms) are not possible at other Australian resorts. On the flip side with the base being 300m lower that at major rival Perisher the quality of snow can suffer from under high noon run and back to the base. This means often beginners lessons on Friday flat can often be wet and challenging. Thredbo combat this with the most substantial snow making operation in the southern hemisphere. This is an important factor in why i'd recommend visiting Thredbo. Australian resorts are not renowned for receiving large dumps of snow throughout a season so the snowmaking operations becomes even more important.
Although local rival Perisher can boast to having more terrain Thredbo offers a better mix of terrain for the whole group. Like most Australian resorts experts skiers and snowboarders will probably find a lack of challenging terrain outside of the terrain parks, however intermediates are well served with runs like High Noon offering a chance to find your flow on a steep blue back to the resorts base. It is at the base where Friday Flat is situated. This operates as the beginners area and base for the ski school for the majority of the season. Be prepared to bring a rain jacket as a beginner. At the beginning and end of season snow on Friday flat can be limited but the trail crew does a great job of keeping it open. Friday Flat is well served by a quad chair that allows beginners to ensure they are making the most of their time on the slopes and gives a good introduction to the use of lifts, of which there are 14 in total at Thredbo. Be prepared to use button lifts or T-Bars to access the upper mountain which are essential as due to high winds chairs would regularly be subject to closures.
What we Love about Thredbo…
They make it work. Despite the challenges of running a ski resort in Australia they manage to have a season that lasts a few months with some great terrain despite the odds. Thredbo has access to some good backcountry snowboarding available a short hike from the top lifts. The highest vertical drop in Australia means the runs and longer which means less time spent on lifts.
What We Dislike About Thredbo…
The cost. If you are going to run a substantial snow making operation you are going to have to throw some $$$ at it. With that being said a day pass will cost 130 AUD upwards depending on the time of season with a 7 day pass costing 699AUD. A year round pass is available for 1299AUD which covers both summer and winter activities. Essentially go twice and make your money back.
Travel to resort
Getting to Thredbo is fairly simple by road and the majority of guests would take the 5 hour drive from Sydney. When visiting I caught a coach from Canberra to Jindabyne which sits at the bottom of the valley. Be aware if driving you would need to carry snow chains (although rarely needed) and the drive is nice and scenic. I particularly enjoyed returning to Jindabyne at the end of a day on the slops where you can get some great views of Lake Jindabyne. Staying in Thredbo is an option and there is a mix hotels, lodges or in my case the YHA hostel. Staying in the village gives you a short walk and direct access to the slopes via the free shuttle service but you pay a premium to stay there. Alternatively as previously mention Jindabyne sits at the base of the valley and provides affordable accommodation options. This is where I lived for the majority of the season. Jindabyne also has a larger selection of shops, restaurants and bars which may add to your stay.
We would recommend this place for…
Thredbo is great for those who still want some challenging terrain outside of the terrain park and those who do not want to spend most of the day on a lift. Beginners have a great area to learn but this can become busy during peak periods.