Located in the picturesque Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, Perisher has four areas: Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Mount Blue Cow and Guthega. That makes it the Southern Hemisphere’s largest alpine resort. They have the highest terrain, the greatest number of lifts and the most reliable snow in Australia. Perisher’s varied terrain is suitable for snowboarders of all ability levels, from first timer’s right up to experts.
- Access: Perisher and Thredbo are both about a six hour drive from Sydney and Melbourne, and a two and a half hour drive from Canberra. Grab snow chains from Cooma or Jindabyne on the way, as they are compulsory to enter the National Park. If you don’t want to enter the National Park, you can grab the Ski Tube from Bullocks flat up to Perisher Valley and Blue Cow. You can also fly Regional Express into Cooma and get a shuttle from the airport.
- Season: From the NSW June Queen’s Birthday long weekend to the NSW October Labour Day long weekend.
- Number of lifts: 47 with 14 chairlifts, including one eight seat high speed chairlift.
- Park facilities: 5 terrain parks, including one under lights (that’s more than any other Australian alpine resort), 1 halfpipe (18ft), 1 mini halfpipe (12ft) at Yabby Flats and 2 Rider X courses (boardercross).
- Top features: Southern Hemisphere’s largest alpine resort; The best 18ft halfpipe in Australia; The PlayStation Slopestyle Park attracts some of the world’s best snowboarders including Mark McMorris, Seb Toots, Jamie Anderson and Torstein Horgmo.
- Events: The Peak Music Festival with over 30 Australian and International artists set to play across 10 live stages; Night Riding for $32 every Tuesday and Saturday nights from late June to September (6-9pm); Playstation Rail Jam to be held on opening weekend from 11am.
Perisher offers over 3,000 acres of rideable terrain all interlinked across four valleys. Spend a full season there and you will still be finding new pockets to ride as the snow starts to melt. Where you are staying will usually dictate where to start riding. However, we recommend that you hone your skills in Perisher Valley first. A few burners down Mt Perisher will dust off the cobwebs.
Once you’ve stretched out your legs, you should head straight over to Blue Cow where you’ll find some of the best terrain in the resort. Blue Cow is usually not as busy as the front valley and is more sheltered from wind. It has a great variety of tree runs, rollers, steeps and natural features for you to hit. Snow covered boulders and tree stumps can be found lining the burns and they offer plenty of bonk and air opportunities.
Make sure you head over to Guthega
If you’re in Perisher for more then a few days, make sure you head over to Guthega. It is quieter than Blue Cow and a bit of a mission to get to, but once you’re over there, you might find yourself enjoying it all day. Almost completely serviced by T-bars and rope tows, you will forget about the leg pain when you are cruising down through some of the resorts best off piste terrain. Guthega has nice rolling slopes and plenty of tree runs. You could even find a pocket or two of fresh snow days after the last dump.
There is not much snowboarding to be done over in Smiggins Hole, unless you are ridding with children. But it’s a great place to stop for lunch and a drink (or three). Smiggs Pub has a great vibe, good food, good music and a great sun drenched deck that reaches out over the snow. They also have live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the locals on the dance floor. It can get pretty rowdy!
You should finish your days back over on front valley. You can ride right down to the Pub to finish, and if you’re not hitting the PlayStation Slopestyle park yourself, then you can watch some of Australia’s and the world’s best practice their 900’s over a frothy beverage with your mates.
Perisher has five award winning freestyle parks
Perisher has five award winning freestyle parks in total, catering for all abilities. If you’re new to freestyle boarding, then start on the Piper Park. It’s perfect for beginners and first time terrain park users. It has rollers, small tabletops and entry level boxes and rails, so you can ease your way into your park career with ride-on style features.
The Yabbi Flats park is also a great terrain park for beginners, due to its entry-level rider cross course and easy tabletop and box jumps. It will give you the perfect introduction to park life. It’s also home to the very popular ‘kicker cam’, capturing your mid-air style and allowing you to share the pic straight to your social media accounts. There is also a “mini” super fun 12ft halfpipe.
The PlayStation Leichhardt Terrain Park has been upgraded this year, thanks to the Winter Olympics in February, and features jumps ranging from 15ft to 30ft, as well as an array of challenging boxes and rails. It’s for intermediate to advanced riders.
A well kept secret is the PlayStation Blue Cow Park. It’s a little harder to find and not as busy. The next step in your freestyle progression… This park has plenty to keep you occupied with jumps ranging between 15 and 35ft, as well as difficult hips, spines, boxes and rails. This is our pick of the parks as it’s a great park to work on your tricks away from the crowds.
This is where you can test your skills alongside some of the worlds best snowboarders
This brings us to the PlayStation Slopestyle Park on Front Valley, a world class and award winning park with technical rails and huge kickers. This is where you can test your skills alongside some of the world’s best snowboarders. So get ready to go big, but remember, you’ll be straight under the V8 express chair. If you bail, you’ll have an audience…
Perisher also has a 18ft halfpipe, the best in Oz kept pristine by their dedicated park team, as well as two Rider X courses. One in Mid Valley and a more challenging one in Sun Valley.
Plenty of bistros to keep you sustained
There are plenty of bistros on the mountain to keep sustained. The best of them are the Burning Log Restaurant, located at the base of the Calf T-Bar in Guthega (closes at 3pm), and the Avalunch Cafe at the base of the Pretty Valley Chair.
Not a lot of late night apres options are available in Perisher Valley, the best being The Pub and the Smiggings Hotel as mentioned. Both have live music through out the week and Smiggs import great rock and roll cover bands from all over Australia to play gigs. The White Spider is the most famous fine dinning restaurant in the area and the place to go if you want to impress your date. Also try the Sun Deck above the halfpipe for a great place to eat and drink in the afternoon. It gets crazy there on a Tuesday night with all the locals coming for specials on cocktails and shots.
All your basic services can be found in the Perisher village center at the Skitube station. A chemist, doctor, supermarket and a post office. If you have kids, or if you are a big kid yourself, you have to check out Tube Town. It sits just off to the right of the car park as you come into Perisher Valley. It’s pretty exciting, low cost and guaranteed to get you laughing.
If you’re thinking of heading down to the snow this season for some serious shredding (even not so serious), then you may want to go to the biggest and best resort in Oz. In that case, give Perisher a go.