Brr. Brr. It’s cold here. There must be snow forming in the atmosphere.
Winter has arrived. And Australian ski resorts know it. Perisher in particular received a massive 30cm snow dump at the end of May, prompting it to activate its lifts and open a week earlier on June 4.
But even if you’re itching to dust off your skis, your wallet may not be.
According to KAYAK, the average cost of resort accommodation in Australia has increased by 17% compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is based on prices for all NSW and Victorian snowfields from June 1 to September 30.
Falls Creek has the biggest increase with an average nightly rate of $706, up 46% from 2019, while Mount Hotham has the highest average nightly rate, at $823 (up 32% ).
As for Perisher Valley? Its price is not far off at $666 per night, up 23% from 2019.
Prices may be on the rise, but we’ve got some handy tips for keeping those dollars in your pocket.
Hit the slopes early
Start and shoulder season dates are often cheaper and have fewer crowds. Typically you’d expect the snow to be low and melting, but with this sudden Antarctic cold hitting the resorts, there’s a good chance you’ll be carving mountains of powder.
Looking on Hotels Finder, weekend opening dates start from $119 per night at the Stillwell Hotel in Charlotte Pass, just a 10-minute drive from Perisher Resort.
Avoid leaving early to mid-July
This is when NSW and Victorian school holidays and although July is arguably the month with the best snow, it is also the busiest and most expensive.
Stay in Thredbo instead of Perisher
Accommodation prices in Thredbo have not risen as dramatically as those in Perisher. KAYAK says nightly rates are $584 per night, just 10% higher than pre-pandemic prices.
Thredbo has more resort accommodation than Perisher which could be a contributing factor.
Visit Mount Buller instead of Falls Creek or Mount Hotham
Of the major Victorian snowfields, Mount Buller is the cheapest this year, averaging $492 per night.
A quick search on Hotels Finder, for a weekend stay June 18-19, turns up rooms at the Merrijig Motor Inn for $175 a night. It is a 30 minute drive from the ski resort.
If you want to stay right on the slopes, Terama Ski Lodge is $458 for the same weekend.
Make it a day trip
You can do away with accommodation costs altogether by heading to the slopes for a day trip.
You don’t even have to drive yourself either. There are shuttles available from major towns that allow you to stay overnight or early in the morning so you can spend the whole day on the slopes without feeling ‘tired’.
With gas prices soaring, it might even work better for your wallet.
Currently, Groupon offers these packages for sale:
Groupon also sells inexpensive snow gear. Right now he has ski goggles starting at $12 and snow pants starting at $25.
Pre-purchase your lift tickets or purchase an annual pass
Buying pre-season tickets can save you a lot. But if you haven’t picked up your passes yet, you can still save some change by buying them even a few days before your arrival. Here’s what’s happening online right now:
- Perisher: $15 off June passes, $16 off July and August passes
- Thredbo: Save up to 20% when you buy 14 days in advance
- Mount Hotham: Save up to $14 on pre-purchased day passes
- Mount Buller: Save up to $16 on pre-purchased day passes
Planning on snowboarding or skiing all season long? Why not stretch your dollars with an Epic or Ikon Pass? These allow you to ski and ride at a variety of resorts in Australia and around the world for a number of days.
Get travel insurance
Snow gear and clothing don’t come cheap and replacing them can be an unfortunate blow to your hip pocket.
Ski travel insurance can cover you for this as well as for unused lift passes and trip cancellations. It’s an additional cost, but it could save you hundreds.
Discover all the latest snow offers for the 2022 season.