After the disappointment of yesterday – with no snow at all at Jindabyne and virtually none at Thredbo – we were feeling more anxious than excited as we got up early this morning to head to Perisher. A 25-minute drive from Jindabyne, and on the other side of the mountain range from Thredbo, we were thrilled to discover that the 19-degree temperatures in Perisher Valley hadn’t been enough to melt the snow away – there was plenty!
The 31km winding drive up through Pipers Gap – 1720m high – and into Perisher Valley was beautiful, initially passing grassy hills showing signs of recent snow to splotches of white high up on the hills and finally to the snow-covered mountains overseen by Mount Kosciusko in the background.
Perisher itself contains not only the ski resort, but a village complete with church, police and fire stations, post office, shops, ski and clothing hire, restaurants and more. There are plenty of accommodation options, but be prepared to pay for them! The ski resort has options for young and old, beginner to expert, and if you need some extra help finding your feet on the slopes, there is even an Alpine Church looking over the ski runs and halfpipe.
With our ‘beginner’ level expertise, we were happy to find a smaller family-friendly area containing only green ‘Easy’ runs to the right of the resort. At this time of year, being the end of the season, this area was fairly quiet and would be a great place for newbies to learn the ropes.
Feeling significantly happier after being right in the middle of the action and surrounded by gleaming white mountains, we hit the road again to check out Mt Blue Cow (1994m) and Guthega Peak (1924m). In some places here snow still lightly covered the road, but down in the valley and in tracks down the slopes the melting snow created beautiful rivers waterfalls. A 10-minute walk at the end of the road led us to the Guthega Alpine Village. Here, the accommodation options were less in number but larger in size and you could probably squeeze a few families into each. Better yet, these were literally ski-in and ski-out. Your car has to stay in the overnight carpark, but what’s a short walk when you wake up to views like that and can send the kids down the hill from your front door? Just beware the falling snow clumps from the rooftops – yup, there’s signs warning of this.
We had well and truly worked up an appetite by now, and wishing we were in shorts and singlets in the surprising warmth under clear blue skies, we stopped at Guthega Alpine Inn for lunch. The view was beautiful, but again be prepared, as they had only a 1-page menu with high prices. $17 for tomato and basil soup, for example. Clearly they have a monopoly on the market, but that’s always disappointing when you have to pay so much more for it. The drinks selection was also surprising – alcohol aplenty (and countless skiers appeared to be enjoying this!) but not even a Lemon, Lime & Bitters available. It had a nice atmosphere with a fireplace that would be lovely on cold days, and we were glad we stopped by for the experience.
The return drive was just as lovely, with windows down and plenty of photograph opportunities. Had we thought to pack our boardshorts and bikini (how silly of us to not think of them), we could have shown the Queenslander spirit and worked on our tan in the snow, the weather was just that beautiful!