LUXURY ON SNOW
Luxury On Snow - Luxury Travel Magazine
Luxury On Snow
|By: Hilary Doling, Issue 27 – Winter 2006|
|A FAMILY TRIP TO THE SLOPES DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO COMPROMISE ON COMFORT. THREDBO HAS PLENTY OF OPTIONS.|
|We set out from Sydney in a convoy of 4WDs, packed to bursting with skis, poles, provisions and squirming children. And OK, I confess it these are definitely Lower North Shore combat vehicles that have rarely been off-road and received all their dents in the office car park – so driving to the snow is definitely their best adventure yet.|
“I’m SO excited,” says the six year old, “because snow is
WHITE and COLD and wonderful”.
“I’ll just be happy if I get a decent bed”, says Grumpy the driver. We’d managed to persuade him to take the long drive to the snow complete-with-bickering-children-in-the-back with the promise of a luxurious stay once we got to Thredbo.
Not hard really. Gone are the days when the only luxury the Australian ski fields could manage was a room with a plug-in kettle. Now those who feel they need a spa bath and a feather doona after a hard day trying to keep up with the kids on the black runs are spoilt for choice.
Surprisingly the journey is fun, after a night in Canberra, a visit to the Science Museum and copious games of I-spy, we reach Thredbo. Our friend’s shiny Toyota is in the lead (so much cleaner than our own bashed up vehicle) as we turn into Cascades Close on the Crackenback Ridge Estate and park outside Pinnibar #3 – our new home for the next few days.
There is a slight argument about which car is going in the garage – since nobody wants the job of scrapping ice off windscreens in the morning. But NO arguments about rooms, since we love them all (two bedrooms and a loft), the children are especially thrilled by the loft apartment with its four beds and secret spaces.
The house is very well set up with a good kitchen, a spa bath (fabulous after a hard day on the slopes) and a drying room for all our boots and ski clothes. From our balcony we can see a stream and trees heavy with snow – a winter wonderland of white.
Immediately the children run outside to build a snowman, called, imaginatively, ‘Snowy’. Visiting Snowy and chucking snowballs made out of what looks suspiciously like his stomach, is where we find them most evenings after skiing is over.
Ski school enrolment the next morning goes smoothly. Mercifully Thredbo has an efficient system of enrolment and gear-collection which even three over-excited children under ten can’t play havoc with.
Two of the children haven’t skied before but within a day or so you wouldn’t know it. “Now stay behind me and go SLOWLY” says their dad, as he nervously negotiates a blue run, but its too late: they’ve shot past him in a spray of snow and are heading for the bottom – leaving him to trail in their wake.
The third child (mine) is a kamakazi by nature and loves a particularly vigorous set of bumps over which he gathers speed until (on each occasion) he ends with a splat, sprawled spread-eagled in the snow. Thank goodness the Thredbo instructors keep him happy with games and treasure hunts while he learns.
The weather is glorious, sunshine glistens off perfect snow, so the adults too have a blissful few days. One day we meet the ski guides at the top of the main chairlift and get shown the mountain, on another we splash out for private ski lessons. At $300 an hour it isn’t cheap but even those who think they know it all will find themselves skiing at the next level after one-on-one encouragement. From Pinnibar we can walk over the bridge and up the road and cut through to the Crackenback super trail. To do so we walk past what are probably the ritziest family options in Thredbo, the luxurious Ski In Ski Out Chalets. Set in tranquil gum trees, away from the noise of town with wonderful mountain and slope views these superbly furnished 1–3 bed chalets are definitely a five star option. More to the point you can ski directly out of your door and down the gentle super trail without ever once hearing your children complain about having to carry their skis and clonk around in ski boots –“MMmmuuuummm my feet hurt”. Houses on the Woodridge estate are also a good option for families since it is only a short walk to the Gunbarrel Express Chairlift, Thredboland and the Thredbo Leisure Centre. For example the brand new, architect-designed and very up-market Akuna Chalet, a luxury three-level, three-bedroom house which also has a loft apartment with additional study/rumpus room.
|- Pinnibar Chalets, 1300 020 589, www.thredbo.com.au|
|- Ski In Ski Out Chalets, (02) 6457 7030, www.skiinskiout.com.au|
|- Akuna Chalet, 1300 020 589, www.thredbo.com.au |
|Top Of The Class|
Other Child-Friendly Luxury Ski Resorts
FALLS CREEK, VIC
The newest luxury offering is the trendy Huski Lodge (above), just opened this season. This has to be the coolest apartment hotel in the Australian Alps, with snow-white interiors, state-of-the-art design and an Endota Day Spa. It’s kid-friendly too, with two- to four-bedroom apartments. The Summit Ridge Alpine Lodge is one of Australia’s premier boutique ski lodges. It offers ski-in ski-out, seclusion and spectacular views. In addition, its award-winning restaurant means that guests can stay in and eat. Alpine Woodsmoke luxury apartments have ski-in ski-out access, underground parking and offer three-bedroom, two-bathroom, or four-bedroom, three-bathroom apartments. Here, indulgence means a spa, king-size beds, great kitchen and stone fireplaces.
Details, 1800 453 525 or 1800 033 079, www.fallscreek.com.au
|CHARLOTTE PASS, NSW|
Few places inspire such affection as Kosciusko Chalet. Families who stay here talk about it as a home away from home, and the staff as members of the family. Charlotte Pass is the perfect place for children to ski, with gentle slopes and a great kids’ club. Rooms are cosy rather than elegant – think old-world charm. The luxury here is that you don’t have to think about food or entertainment – all meals are included and the chalet’s restaurant and lounges serve as the social hubs for guests. Details, 1800 026 369, www.charlottepass.com.au
|MOUNT HOTHAM, VIC|
Mount Hotham is marketing itself as Australia’s most upmarket resort, and it shows in the accommodation on offer. There’s a $500million master plan to build new luxury apartments and resort infrastructures that will transform the township. In the meantime, luxury-loving families should check-into Absollut (left). New in 2005, the complex is ultra-modern in design and advertises itself as appealing to those with a ‘love for the outrageously indulgent’. There are two lavish penthouses, plus two apartments with fireplaces and spa baths. The Schnapps and Sambuca apartments offer designer comfort and a great position. Hotham Heights Chalets get a platinum rating in the Hotham accommodation guide. These self-contained chalets sleep between seven and 13 people, so they’re great for two or more families wanting to share.
Details, 1800 354 555, www.hotham.com.au
Perisher Valley Hotel offers the best luxury accommodation, in the heart of Perisher. Ski-in ski-out, it’s close to cafés, bars, shopping and resort services, and features just 31 rooms and deluxe split-level suites with fabulous views, as well as the Snow Gums Restaurant. Perisher Manor is both luxurious and child-friendly. The Stables has excellent apartment-style accommodation – some with spas and fireplaces – and is situated only 250 metres from the lifts. There is no accommodation at Blue Cow, but the apartments of Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort, at the base of Skitube underground railway is highly recommended.
Details, 1300 655 811, www.perisherblue.com.au