1st time visitors to the snow

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 13:26
ThreadID: 117492 Views:1631 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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Hi all, we're actually looking for some advice...... we're travelling from Brisbane in the July school holidays, hoping to find some snow as well as visit Canberra.

Where are we most likely to find snow this early in the season? We're meeting a family from Adelaide, and will have a variety of primary school age kids - the older ones would love to have a go at skiing or toboganning if it's an option.


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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 14:54

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 14:54
The ski season officially starts on the June long weekend when there may or may not be snow cover over the skifields. You will need to go to the BOM site and watch the weather forecasts for places like Cooma and Jindabyne. Here is a link to a snow report site and a quick google will soon find others. It seldom snows in Canberra - a few flurries once or twice a year - and seldom stays on the ground for more than a couple of hours. If snow does fall though, a run out into the Brindabella Ranges west of the city will be a hit with the kids.


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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 17:42

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 17:42
I am not sure where you will be staying when you visit the area. This of course makes a big difference with respect to advice, nevertheless here are a few ideas.
When you are in Canberra and should you be very lucky Corin Forest might have snow. It is a private area west of Canberra and has a variety of activities. I am sure you will find it on the web. This has the advantage of being on a bitumen road. The Brindabellas, again to the west of Canberra, get snow but the roads are dirt and if the snow is heavy they close the roads as they become quite dangerous.
Jindabyne is the staging point for the snow fields at Thredbo and Perisher. Usually it is below the snow line.Bullocks Flat is where you can catch a train to Perisher. Expensive but it has its advantages in comparison to driving to Perisher. If you drive to Perisher you generally have to carry tyre chains. I think 4wd vehicles might be exempt. Nevertheless chains are a pain if you actually have to use them.
Thredbo is more marginal with respect to snow than Perisher. Nevertheless it has greatly improved in recent years with respect to snow play activities and learn to ski areas.
Smiggins Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow are other areas close to Perisher. Blue Cow is accessible by train from Perisher.
Probably the best advice is make sure you increase the limit on your credit card before you travel.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.
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AnswerID: 552494

Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:42

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:42
If you drive from Canberra down to Cooma then along the Snowy Mtns highway through Adaminaby and Kiandra, you would be very unlucky not to find snow in the Mt Selwyn area at that time of year. In fact, you might need chains unless you are in a 4wd. Not far from there to Cabramurra and there is nearly always snow there in July. Yarrangobilly Caves are interesting too. You could then rejoin the Hume Hwy just south of Gundagai and travel the Sturt Hwy to Adelaide.
AnswerID: 552499

Reply By: 671 - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:47

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:47
I would suggest you ring some of the tourist information centres when you are about a day away from areas where you would expect to find snow. A short last minute detour could give you just want you want.

Finding good snow can be a bit frustrating early in the season. I lived in the Snowy Mts. for five years. I have driven in falling snow between Christmas and New Year. I have also been well up above the permanent snow line in areas where it should be a metre deep but there was nothing there.

Whatever you do be careful on icy roads. In the area where I lived was a two kilometre section of good sealed road winding its way down a hill through a pine forest. Every winter without fail, city based drivers would crash off the road because of black ice. The locals never had any problems. They knew where it would be or where to expect it when outside their area.

If you go right up into the ski resort areas then I would advise taking chains even if you find they are not compulsory for 4wds. I can assure four driving wheels can slide off the road just as well as two.
AnswerID: 552500

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:49

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:49
Here is my tip.

Take Jetstar flights to Tokyo, then to Hokkaido ( $399 each way) then ski there for a week and you will have 10 of powder snow and save $2000 for a 1 week stay compared to driving to an Australian ski resort and staying for a week.

OR go to NZ and do the same thing.

If you decide go to an Australian ski resort, call a MICA ambulance on standby before you get any bills.

AnswerID: 552501

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:49

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 19:49
10m of powder snow
FollowupID: 838090

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 20:14

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 20:14
Not in July, in Hokkaido, you won't!

Maybe in UnZud this year! There's good falls over there already!
FollowupID: 838093

Reply By: Erad - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 08:45

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 08:45
Where you go depends entirely on what you want to do. If you want to be a Snow Bunny and pose, maybe even ski, then go to the established restorts - Thredbo or Perisher/Blue Cow/Smiggins. If you just want simple fun in the snow with fewer frills (fancy pubs, discos etc), then Mt Selwyn near Kiandra is far cheaper. Excellent beginner facilities, basic socialising, but you can park your car right next to the snow. Nothing worse than some b...stard cooking up some sausages and onions on a fine sunny day at the back of his car. Selwyn is regarded by the 'Elite' as downmarket, but their ski school is as good as the rest of them. It is just that Selwyn doesn't have any black grade runs. Incidentally, I have no affiliations with any of the ski resorts.

If you only want to play in the snow, go to Cabramurra (near Selwyn). There is a Snowy town there, and you can get an excellent (basic) meal there quite cheaply. And if you tell the rangers at the park entrance that you are going to Cabra, you don't have to pay to go into the park ($28 per day).

The chances of getting good snow these days in July seem to be fading more and more. Hopefully for your sake (and eveyone else's) there will be heaps. Not sure of what you will be driving, but 2WD vehicles must carry snow chains. They can be hired from Cooma or surrounding towns (Jindabyne, Adaminaby, Berridale) and if you are driving through to the Western side (the Alpine Way via Thredbo), you can hire in Jindi and drop them off in Khancoban - not sure of the costs. 4WD vehicles are currenylt not required to carry chains, but you must remember that a 4WD with its wheels locked up on an icy road is as good as a 2WD with locked wheels. Neither of them have any hope of avoiding an incident. If you have to fit chains, get well off the road to do so. Too many clowns go until they run out of traction and then stop in the middle of the road to fit the chains. Massive hazard to themselves as much as their vehicles, because someone who has no chains is bound to run into them.

If you just want to play snowballs, Kiandra is great if there is any snow there. There are no facilities there.

Victorian snowfields are much the same. Mt Buffalo is very scenic. Mt Hotham has awesome scenery and snow. Dinner Plain is good. Mt Buller and Falls Creek are very yuppy (they all are)! Not sure about costs at those places.

Coming from Qld, make sure that you have anti-freeze in the cooling system, and avoid putting too much anti-freeze into your own because the breathalisers will be well and truly in force then (they are already here). Last year, we had our grandchildren come to Kiandra and Cabramurra. Superb snow at the time, glorious weather. We borrowed some sleds and they played just beside the road between Kiandra and Cabra. Oh and make sure you have plenty of sunscreen. Hopefully it will be sunny. Good tripping..
AnswerID: 552573

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 09:45

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 09:45
Some great advice there. Selwyn is very good for beginners. Two things I would add, use alpine diesel if needed and an inner tube makes a decent sled that folds up to nothing when you are finished. Cheers.
FollowupID: 838158

Reply By: mrdontargue - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 15:17

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 15:17
Definitely depends on if you want to have a play or learn to ski. When I lived in nsw we went almost every year and not being a local I can only offer the following:

Before I actually drove on the roads inside the national park for the first time I went as a passenger - much safer to learn.

Travelling in school holidays and if a beginner / inexperienced on the roads you may be better off catching the ski tube from bullocks flat to Perisher then get the short bus ride to smiggin holes (best for beginners).

If you drive a Porsche or Land Rover 4WD and want to drink coffee then head to Thredbo.

Blue cow and guthega are my favourites but would not reccomend for beginners and the road to guthega last I went was pretty ordinary (but I loved it)!

Purchase what you can from Jindabyne, Cooma or berridale to support smaller business and not the now U.S. owned Perisher.

I went for a school excursion when I was about 15 and was instantly hooked, there is beautiful scenery, crisp air and you will find muscles you didn't know you had!

Have fun....and as previously mentioned...don't forget to increase your credit card limit!!! As a mate of mine says "a $50 note is 1 ski dollar :-)
AnswerID: 552587

Follow Up By: mrdontargue - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 15:19

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 15:19
Forgot to mention...call into the snowy mountains hydro electricity information centre just on the outskirts of Cooma, it has heaps of cool hands on activities for the kids and a fantastic place to learn more about the area. (I went a few years ago, not sure if it has changed or not)
FollowupID: 838178

Reply By: Member - G.T. - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 17:44

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 17:44
Don`t eat yellow snow!! Regards G.T.
AnswerID: 552599

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