A Ski Season in Australia

I bet you read the title of this blog post and think ‘huh?’

Snow and Australia are not usually two words you associate with each other, however when I started my working holiday visa in Australia last year, I found out there is a lot more to this country than just barbeques and kangaroos.

If you delve into the aptly named Snowy Mountains, roughly two hours south-west of Canberra, you will find the Kosciuszko National Park, full of mountains, rivers and ski slopes to satisfy everyone.

So in June last year, after an epic, cash consuming, boozy adventure up the East Coast, my boyfriend and I arrived in Cairns. After a few days exploring, we realised our funds were scarily low, and decided to find a job.

After trailing endless job posts online, I came across this advert on Gumtree.

“Staff Lodge Manager required for a ski resort”

I was intrigued so emailed them with our CV’s. My boyfriend was offered the staff lodge manager position and I was offered a role in the reservations department.

The season was starting straight away, so we only had a couple of days to make our way over 2,500 KM down to the ski resort. We took a flight from Cairns to Sydney, bought a car, drove through Canberra to Adaminaby where we would be based.

This small town normally had a population of only two hundred people, doubling in winter due to staff and visitors to the ski resort. Apparently its quite a popular little town in summer too due to its hoards of trout to be found in the rivers and lakes in the area. The trout is so famous you can even find a 10 metre model in the centre of town!

We were quite lucky in that we both worked in the small town, as the ski resort was a 35 minute journey one way in good weather. On our days off we would make sure to head up to the slopes to put our skills into practice. I had previously spent a couple of weeks working at a ski resort in France, but I was pretty much a complete beginner in regards to snowboarding.

Luckily the resort that we worked for was catered towards school groups, families and beginners!

This didn’t stop me having an extremely embarassing moment the first time I got on the triple chair lift. I had assumed the safety bar would lift automatically when I reached the top. The chair lift edged closer and closer to the top and nothing moved. It was only as the chair lift swung around and started to head down the mountain, that I panicked, pushed the bar up and fell out of the chair. They had to stop the whole lift for several minutes to get me out of the way!  To make it even worse, I knew the lift attendants as we lived in the staff lodge together.

Luckily there were other ski resorts in the area where I could practice. By driving just an hour or two, you could reach all the ski resorts in the national park.

If you ever head that way here is a quick outline of the three main ones.

Perisher is the grand daddy of them all. It is the biggest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thredbo has the steepest and longest runs in Australia.

Charlotte’s Pass which was also owned by the same company as Selwyn where I worked. This was a hidden gem reachable only via over snow trucks.

One thing I have taken away from doing a ski season is not to go snowboarding when hungover. People may tell you the fresh air cures you but it is a lie. Trying to force myself to board off the top of a steep slope with a pounding head and dehydration was a horrible way to spend my day off!

Overall, we spent three months working at Selwyn Snow Resort and it was a fantastic opportunity to experience a ski season as well as meeting a lot of great people. The staff were from all over the world – Hong Kong, Argentina, UK, Canada and Australia itself.

So if you ever make it to Australia in their winter, head South to the Snowy Mountains and you might just find yourself on an unique adventure you will never forget.

Author: Siân De Lara, Navigation the Globe

About: 26 year old welsh girl who loves nothing more than another passport stamp. Recently returned from a year travelling the world, I am now hibernating in Scotland saving for my next adventure!


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