Five things I learned at Perisher
From passes, to good lifties and getting skis stolen (err mistakenly taken), this is what I learnt on my first trip to the snow this season.
You have to buy an Epic Pass
This is not a free kick, or it’s certainly not meant to be. It is simply the reality of the pricing structure instituted at Vail Resorts. A day pass has now moved to $138 making the decision to rock up on the day an expensive one. Yes there are all kinds of advance discount and multi-day savings if you are organised but nothing stacks up to the Epic Pass. For less than six individual days’ riding at Perisher you will get a season pass there and access to the other 13 Vail-owned resorts overseas including the like of Whistler, Park City and Heavenly. Say what you will about the day pain (I’ve chatted to Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and he has stoutly defended the pricing policy) but that is bloody good value. Just get one for next season and save yourself the trouble.
Nice work, lifties
It’s always going to be heavy going during the school holidays in terms of crowds but kudos to the lifties for doing a great job, particularly on Front Valley. Much was made of this silly rant from snowboarder Troy Sturrock (mostly negative thank goodness) but from what I saw these guys and girls did a fantastic job, treading that fine line between assertion to keep things moving and politeness quite well. Fifteen minutes was not an outrageous time to wait, particularly on the weekend. That said it wasn’t all beer and skittles. The Mount Perisher triple (and by extension I would have to assume the double) was painful. Painfully slow to move in line and painfully slow to move people up the hill. Which ensured that I …
Enjoyed riding at underrated Guthega
With only the Ski Tube linking Perisher and Blue Cow it did take a little more effort to access Guthega. But I must say it was hugely worth it. While others were reading War and Peace waiting for the triple over at Mount P I was enjoying boot-top freshies over the other side. It really is amazing what a small effort will get you. With a small amount of uphill work involved at the end of the Guthega access trail (literally about three minutes) it ensured the crowds were tiny. We found ourselves lapping runs like Schnaxl and The Screw for hours with fresh tracks and no one about. Yes the cover was thin and there a few hidden obstacles but the snow quality was surprisingly good.
Ski hire at BP Jindabyne
For a petrol station with ski hire add-on this place constantly surprises me. I was with a mixed group of riders including kids, some of whom that were hiring. Again the prices and service were first rate. Skis, boots, poles and a helmet for a 13 year-old for five days was $39 when booked online in advance (with a readily available discount code). That’s great value compared to on-mountain and I have heard plenty of positive feedback about how helpful they are there and often do things like throw in a quick tune for free if they aren’t flat out. It’s the opposite of the gouging that you here a bit about in this industry and it encourages return business.
And one quick other pricing rap. Lil’ Orbits at The Ski Tube. Sure, it’s not Oliver Browns but six mini donuts for $3 and a $3.50 coffee again shows that sensible on snow pricing is possible.
That day my son’s skis were taken
How a pair of 181cm Atomic Access skis got confused with very different Volkl all mountains I will never know. But somehow a person picked up my son’s completely different planks while waiting at Blue Cow. I do see how on occasion the same or similar skis get mixed up but Christ on a bike these looked nothing alike. Because they’s finished skiing at lunchtime it essentially took us the best part of another day to sort out and get them back. Check your skis people, and while I have been guilty of some dumb things at the snow, you don’t have to be like me. A special thanks to everyone at Perisher who were very helpful in the circumstances.
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