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skiing-in-thredbo

13 Tips For First Time Skiing In Thredbo NSW

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Thinking about going skiing in Thredbo Ski Resort but unsure what to expect? Our guest writer, Nina Moussu is an expert skier who grew up in Lyon, aka the gateway to the French Alps. With her Dad as a former ski instructor, she would head off to the Alps every winter to ski with her family from a young age.

So, how does skiing in an Australia ski resort, especially skiing at Thredbo village match up to skiing in Europe? Let’s find out as Nina just came back from her recent trip at the most popular Australia ski resort in Thredbo NSW!


Why is Thredbo known as the best ski resort in Australia?

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Thredbo Ski Resort is located within the Kosciuszko National Park in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

This year, the season had the best opening in 20 years! There had been a huge amount of snowfall which means they were able to open the resort 2 weeks earlier than normal, on the 11th June.

Thredbo Resort has five trails with a total of 53 runs plus four terrain parks which are the snow version of a skatepark for the advanced daredevils.

Cruiser – High Noon and Village Trail are 2 of Australia’s longest ski runs, both are 5km long which takes approximately 20min to get down on your skis if you are a comfortable skier.

Just like in Europe, the slopes are colour coded according to their complexity, from easiest to hardest, green, blue, red and black. Although, I think the Australian black slopes are not as hard as the black slopes in Europe.

And don’t forget the parties and fireworks on a Saturday night. You’ll almost feel like you could be partying on the slopes in Europe!


1. How to get to Thredbo

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The journey from Sydney to Thredbo by car is roughly six hours without stopping or heavy traffic. Realistically, you will need to stop at least once, if not twice.

We left Sydney at 8.30am on a Thursday and arrived in Jindabyne at 4pm, after making 1 stop for food in Canberra (for about 45min) and 1 stop in Cooma to buy ski clothes (for about 45min), so it took us a total of 7h30m.

You will need a Park Entry Pass to enter Kosciuszko National Park. You can buy a Multi-Day or Day pass online or at the vehicle entry station for $29/day per vehicle. You can also buy an All Parks pass (online only) for $190 which is valid for 1 year and gives you access to all NSW national parks including Kosciusko.

You also need to have a set of tyre chains in your boot if you don’t drive a 4×4. You won’t need to put them on unless the road is snowy. You can hire them from Jindabyne for approx $30/day. This is very important as 2wd cars risk a $330 fine if they don’t carry chains.

If you are staying in Thredbo, you can walk to Friday Flat to get your ski pass and jump on the lift. Otherwise, if you are driving there, there’s a huge car park which is free from 7am to 7pm, but it is first in best dress, so we recommend getting there as early as possible to secure a spot not too far from the entrance.


2. Getting to Thredbo by public transport

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If you don’t have a car or a license, you can get the Greyhound Bus from Sydney to Thredbo, which departs Sydney Central Station at 6.30am and will get you to Thredbo by 2pm, with a few stops along the way including Sydney domestic airport, Canberra, Cooma, Berridale and Jindabyne.

The return journey leaves Thredbo at 2.45pm and will get you back to Sydney Central Station by 9.55pm. Each way costs $95, or less depending on your stop. The Park Entry Pass cost $11.45 for adult passengers and $3.60 per child per day.


3. Getting around Thredbo Ski Resort

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If you are staying in or around Jindabyne, there’s a daily free shuttle bus running every 30 min from 7.30am to 6pm to Thredbo and back. There’s four different shuttle bus routes so you’ll need to download the map on the Thredbo website to work out which route stops the closest to your accommodation.

You can bring your skis/snowboard on the shuttle, and the bus stop in Thredbo is right outside the Friday Flat trails where you can get your ski pass and hop straight onto the lifts.

The other good thing to know is, there’s only two Ubers between Thredbo and Jindy so make sure you have your way home sorted if you decide to wander out late at night.


4. When to visit Thredbo

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The best time of the year for skiing is definitely from mid to end of June until October, August being the peak of the season. This is right in the middle of winter so the snow conditions are the best, there’s already been 308cm of snowfall since the beginning of the season.

If you are interested you should definitely follow @thredboresort on Instagram. Every day they share a mountain report with temperature, snowfall levels, how many lifts are open on that day and how strong the wind is. You can also check their app to watch the snow cams for the day which gives you live conditions, what the snow looks like and even how busy it is. If you are flexible with your dates…

…the best time to go is usually 3 to 4 days after a snow storm.

Thredbo is amazing in the winter but it’s actually great in the summer too. If you like camping, mountain biking and hiking, Thredbo is the best place to go in NSW.

The lifts let you bring your bikes up and it’s much cheaper than the ski passes. If you’re not into mountain biking or hiking, there’s plenty of other fun things to do like abseiling, disc golfing, fly fishing, etc. There’s also a spa and a schnapps distillery if you are looking to simply relax and unwind.


5. Things to know before you arrive at Thredbo ski resort

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Please bear in mind the costs mentioned below are from the time of writing and could change.

a. Plan ahead

To avoid disappointment, I would recommend planning your trip ahead as they don’t have unlimited ski passes and they do sell out. We booked ours five weeks ahead and had no issues getting ski passes for our dates. Make sure you don’t book last minute if you know you’ll be going during school holidays.

Also Thredbo accommodation tends to get fully booked quite far ahead, we booked ours in January and by March they were fully booked out for the season. If you are brave, you can even camp near Thredbo village. The campsite is free and always busy but make sure you bring plenty of douvets with you!

b. How to get Thredbo ski passes

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The process of getting the ski passes is super easy. You can order them online and if you buy a 3 to 7 day lift pass 14 days in advance you can save 20%. Once you have bought them, you’ll need to fill in your details online and upload a selfie.

Make sure you pay the $5 to get the ski pass card, so that when you get to Friday Flat, you can skip the queue, go to the self-serve kiosk, scan the QR code from your email on your phone and the card will pop out within seconds. That’s it, you’re ready to go! Don’t worry if you haven’t paid the $5, it just means you’ll have to get in the queue to get the card.

The price of the ski passes differ depending on which day you are looking to go, and also how many days you want to go for. For example, a ski pass between Tuesday and Thursday is $179 for 1 day, but $189 from Friday to Monday. The more days you book, the cheaper it works out to be per day. And if you buy 3 or more days you also save 20% if you’ve booked 2 weeks in advance. Prices increase from one week to the other depending on how many passes they have left available, so I would highly recommend booking as early as you can to keep the cost down.

To give you an idea, booking a Saturday & Sunday day ski pass today for the following week would cost you $355 whereas booking a Friday to Sunday pass, 5 weeks in advance, would cost you $391. So you end up paying $130/day for 3 days instead of $177.5/day for 2 days.

Keep in mind that these don’t take in account the equipment that you’ll need to hire if you don’t have your own.

c. Hire your ski equipment in Thredbo!

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Getting your equipment is also super easy. There’s a few options you can choose from. I personally recommend adding the ski / snowboard rental to your lift pass at the time of booking because you get a 20% discount on the gear hire. If you don’t want to do that, there’s plenty of shops in Jindabyne and Thredbo where you can hire or buy separately.

Adding one day hire of ski or snowboard gear to your ski pass (includes boots, poles and helmet) would cost you an extra $87.5, for 2 days $175, for 3 days $220, for 7 days $332, etc. The price of the hire is fixed regardless which days you are booking.

Once you have picked up your ski pass from the kiosk, you can head to one of their rental shops which is meters away. It’s all loaded onto your ski card so when the staff scans your card, they’ll know what you have paid for and will give you your equipment accordingly. They are super well organised, we arrived at peak hour at 9am and didn’t have to queue at all to get our gear. We were in and out within 5 minutes.

Once you have your gear and exit the shop, you’ll be right on the slope in Friday Flat, ready to hop into your first lift. In my opinion this is the best way to do it as you don’t have to carry all your gear around. They are more than happy to let you pick up your gear the afternoon beforehand if you wanted to, they stay open until 7pm.

The return process is as easy and even quicker. There is a dedicated area where you return everything at once. We dropped our gear around 4pm so it was quite busy in the shop but we didn’t have to wait at all as there were so many staff around taking care of everyone.

They also have plenty of lockers available for rent on the day where you can store your shoes or other items. It’s $20 for 1 day, $39 for 2 days, $55 for 3 days, etc.

d. Skiing lessons for beginners

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If you have never skied before, fear not, they have a two hour “First Timer Lesson” available 3 times daily. Depending on your preference you can choose the 9:30am, 11:30am or 2pm slot. The lessons take place in Friday Flat and cost $89pp (Lift Pass is not included). You should really book the lessons online prior to avoid disappointment on the day.

If you prefer, you can also opt for private lessons of 3, 6 or 7 hours. One instructor can be booked for up to 4 people of the same discipline (ski OR snowboard) and with similar levels.

The costs will range from $505 (for the 1pm slot) to $545 (for the 9am slot) for a 3h lesson regardless if there is 1 or 4 of you. For a 6h lesson you will pay $929 and for 7h lesson you will pay $1039.

Kids can also get lessons and the price varies depending on their age.

– The 3 to 4 years old cost $209

– The 5 to 6 years old cost $139

– The 7 to 14 years old cost $99

They can also get private lessons and the cost is the same as the adults, bear in mind that those costs don’t include the ski pass.


6. Clothes to bring with you

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The winter season can vary in temperature and it really depends on what the weather conditions are like on that day at this Australian ski resort. It can get pretty cold some days and usually the coldest a day would be is around 0 and -2 while the milder days hover around 4-6 degrees.

The temperature down in Thredbo village is warmer than up on the ski resort mountains.

It’s a bit more sheltered in the village and more exposed up on the slopes so don’t be fooled thinking you can get away with wearing less layers or thinner clothing before you go out to ski.

Other factors to consider with being on the slopes is the wind. Once you’re up on the mountain you’ll be more exposed to the weather elements. Usually it is colder up the top and it is also a lot more windy. Make sure that you take a snood or scarf with you to ski or in some cases there are a large variety of funky Balaclavas that are available to purchase at most ski shops at Thredbo ski resort.

You can’t rent any gloves/ scarves/ snoods or balaclavas due to hygiene reasons so make sure they are a must item to pack in your bags before your trip or purchase one prior to hitting the slopes.

I have found that buying a skin underlay long sleeve t-shirt and a thermal ski jacket works out well. There really isn’t any need to put several layers on because once you start working up a sweat skiing, then it can become too much and you’ll have nowhere to store your layers if you don’t bring a rucksack with you.


7. What skiing is like at Thredbo Ski Resort

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Skiing in Thredbo Ski Resort is fantastic for a weekend getaway from Sydney! The resort feels quite compact and has sections for everyone. It’s easy to navigate around, you can get your ski runs in thick and fast and you’ll feel like you’ve covered the mountains by lunchtime at one of the best Australian ski resorts!

The runs vary in length and consist of various difficulty levels. The easy runs are lowest on the resort like Friday Flats, this is usually a good one to start the day with to warm up the body or regain that muscle memory. If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll be hanging around there for a few hours to find your feet while skiing at Thredbo resort.

The more you head up the mountains, the more difficult the runs become. The resort is mainly made up of blue runs which are moderate to intermediate and will give you great views of the Thredbo valley.

If you’re comfortable on your skis, you can also find your own path alongside the main runs and go a little off piste.. be careful and mindful that these come with more risks but they usually offer fresh untouched snow which most skiers crave for.

The snow along the popular runs will be groomed each evening when the resort is closed. If you’re keen enough to hit the smooth pristine powder, then getting there first thing in the morning is recommended.

The quality of the snow really depends on what the weather has been like the day before. If it snowed overnight, then happy days, you’re in for a cracker. However, if it’s been raining it can become very slushy or icy.

Make sure to check their Thredbo app/website for accurate weather and ski conditions before you head out on the slopes.

The vibe is great at Thredbo. You get the feeling that most people are there for the weekend, making the most of it and having fun. The level of skiing is varied.

I would say the majority of the skiers/ snowboarders there are intermediate level.

The beginners usually hang out down the lower end of the resort. The more advanced and comfortable skiers/ boarders will be at the top. You’ll come across couples, groups of mates, families with kids and the locals. You can usually spot the locals as they whizz past you at 100kmph and seem to take the slopes in their stride. If you’re lucky enough, you may even spot the daredevils doing flips over the jumps.


8. Where to eat in Thredbo

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We hit up the selection of Thredbo restaurants and bars dotting around the mountains at Thredbo Ski Resort on both days. The food generally is expensive for what it is on the slopes but not more than the average in Sydney. Alternatively you could bring some snacks in your rucksacks to keep you going until later on. There’s a Woolworths in Jindy and a Foodworks supermarket in Thredbo ski village if you want to grab food supplies.

If you do want to eat out, there’s seven bars and restaurants to choose from on the mountain and 20 more in Thredbo village.

We had lunch at Merritt’s Mountain House the first day and Black Sallees the following day. We thought the food was much better in Black Sallees by far! You do need to go a little high up on the mountain to get to it but it’s really worth it! It was really packed when we went, it’s perched on the mountain and has amazing views. We had loaded fries with bacon and a shredded beef hot dog, the portions were very generous and it was actually pretty tasty.

The advantage of Merritt’s Mountain is that it’s accessible for foot passengers as it’s right outside the exit of the Gondola. The vibe is also really cool, it’s got more of a party vibe, there’s a huge outdoor area with a DJ booth where you can sit and eat/drink. It’s also a good spot to people watch, especially skiers falling over down the mountain. Highly recommend their hot chocolate baileys!

The River Inn is a must go once you are done skiing. They usually have live music and it can get pretty lively when the weather is good. It’s located in Friday Flat so you can access it as a foot passenger too.

The Alpine Bar is one of our favourites, it’s a must go if you are up for a dance and want to socialise later in the evening. When we went, they had a Daft Punk tribute on and it was crazy.

It was like being at a festival, the stage was outside and everyone was dancing and singing.

It was mega busy and definitely the place to be. The Alpine is located in the heart of Thredbo, it’s definitely the perfect place for Après.


9. Not up for skiing? No problem

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Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool in Summer

If you’re staying here at one of the best Australian ski resorts for a few days and decide to have a rest day or fancy a change from skiing, then here are a few other options to do on your stay.

I recommend heading over the beautiful Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool for a dip which is about a 2h30m drive away from Thredbo Ski Resort. Spend the day here to unwind and relax those sore joints and muscles to reboot the body.

Merritts Gondola is a good way to see the valley and snow if you’re doing a bit of sight seeing or if not that in to skiing itself but want to check out the snow filled views. They have 400 tickets available per day for $59 so make sure to get yours ahead of time because they usually sell out on the day.

If you’re looking for a bit of retail therapy then there is a handful of shops in the Thredbo village ranging from art shops and a good selection of skiing shops including Burton and Rip Curl amongst others.

There is an outdoor skatepark in Thredbo town for the kids to show off their tricks if your not on the shredding slopes, but keep in mind it’s outdoors and only really usable if it’s dry.

If you’re in to keeping the body active still then there is a leisure centre in town too with various activities available and at a single day use price as well. Ranging from a lap pool, squash court to bouldering, work out gym and recreational pool with slides and inflatables to keep the kids and family entertained.

Alternatively if you’d wish to let your hair down and have a few beveraginos then you could go and try out the local gin/ schnapps distillery


10. How much is a weekend in Thredbo going to cost?

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Going to the snow is an expensive sport so expect to be spending a fair amount of money if you are planning a trip. It’s hard to say how much a weekend in Thredbo is going to cost you because it depends where you are coming from, how far ahead you have booked your ski lifts, if you own your equipment, and what kind of accommodation you are staying in.

To give you an idea, we drove from Sydney, we didn’t need to pay to get lessons, we booked our ski lifts 5 weeks in advance and spent 3 nights in a relatively nice airbnb, here is the breakdown of what we spent:

Fuel from Sydney & back in a 4×4: $200/car

Ski lift + equipment hire for 2 days: $525/pp

Ski clothes (pants, jackets, hat, goggles, gloves, snood): $450/pp

Accomodation for 3 nights: $530/pp

2 Lunches on the Mountains + a couple of drinks: approx $100/pp

3 x Home cook dinners + alcohol: approx $100pp

You can get away with spending less of course if you stay in a cheaper accommodation, book your ski lifts ahead and borrow/rent or buy 2nd hand ski clothes. On average the price of the food and drinks is similar to Sydney.


11. Difference between Thredbo, Jindabyne and Perisher Ski Resorts

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Mountain Top Bell

Thredbo and Perisher are located near Mt Kosciusko which is the highest mountain in Australia. Both are the snowiest ski resorts in the country.

Thredbo actually won Australia’s best ski resort at the World Ski Awards for the fifth year in a row.

There’s plenty to do for everyone, whether you are skiing/snowboarding or not. Foot passengers can use the Gondola for a scenic journey to the Mountain Merritt’s house where they can have some drinks and lunch as well as enjoying the Saturday live entertainments from the Dj on the outdoor decks.

Thredbo is better for going out as the village is bigger and there’s more bars and pubs, but has only 53 ski runs or so, whereas Perisher has 119 ski runs so a favourite for those who want to experience as much as possible on the slopes.

Jindabyne is the nearest village before Thredbo and Perisher, there’s a Woolies and lots of shops where you can buy or rent ski equipment and ski clothes, but you can’t ski there so not really comparable to Thredbo or Perisher.

We haven’t experienced Perisher so can’t really say which is our favourite between the two, but we love what Thredbo has to offer because of all the different bars, restaurants and pubs around. Thredbo village is also very nice. It’s a great place outside ski hours.

Australia isn’t famous for its ski facilities and there’s a reason why, although it’s great fun to go. Obviously having grown up on the doorstep to the French Alps, it doesn’t compare but it’s a great weekend getaway and nice to do something different. I would just advise not to come here expecting it to be like European ski resorts, because obviously it’s not.

Fun fact: There is a Mountain Top Bell you can ring once you get to the highest lifted point in Australia in Karel’s T-bar at 2037m above the sea. It’s a great selfie opportunity if you can make it there. We made it and it was a great feeling ringing that bell. Although for some reason we were expecting it to be much bigger.


12. Thredbo accommodation

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  1. Luxury – Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa – Beautiful resort on a gorgeous lake and just a 15 minute drive from the heart of the action.
  2. Mid range – Bernti’s Mountain Inn has an on site restaurant, with ski lifts, shops and bars just a short walk away.
  3. Budget – The River Inn is one of the most affordable places to stay in Thredbo and has the best location being at the bottom of Friday flat. A king room for 2 people for 3 nights will cost you approx AUD 237pp with breakfast included.

13. Prefer a ski in and ski out Thredbo accommodation option?

  1. Luxury – The closest but most expensive ski-in ski-out is only 50m away from the lift, and is called Three Bears 3.
  2. Mid range – Thredbo Alpine Hotel is only 100m away from the nearest ski lift and is very affordable!
  3. Budget – The River Inn is probably the most affordable ski-in ski-out place

Ultimate guide for skiing in Thredbo

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A big thanks to Nina for sharing her guide to Thredbo Ski Resort. If you would like to share your favourite places in Australia, simply fill out our Write For Us form!

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