Snow season is upon us! Here's everything you need to know about hitting the slopes in Victoria

For Victorians in winter, it doesn't get much better than a trip to the snow

Liv Condous
Written by
Liv Condous
Lifestyle Writer
Ski lifts at Mount Hotham
Robert Blackburn

While Victoria isn't necessarily well-known for snow and alpine sports, our state is, in fact, home to some world-class skiing spots. Whether you just want to see snow IRL or you're ready to learn how to take to the slopes like a pro, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the snow in Victoria this winter. We've compiled a comprehensive guide on what you should know if you're keen to plan a trip, including how to choose which mountain to visit and how to prepare. Tear up the slopes, go for a toboggan and, of course, enjoy aprés fun afterward. 

When is the snow season in Victoria?

If you’re a local, you’ll know that Victoria’s weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Although winter is from June to August, unfortunately, there’s no definite timeline for when our state's mountains have snow. In 2024, Victoria’s snow season is projected to kick off around June 8 (just in time for the King's Birthday long weekend). Typically, ski resorts open gradually throughout June each year, providing updates on exact dates via their respective websites. Ski resort Mt Buller has just confirmed it'll begin welcoming visitors this weekend, with the first chairlift taking flight on the morning of Saturday, June 8. Victoria's resorts even have live ‘snow cam’ feeds online, so you can check the conditions for yourself. 

Where can you see snow in Victoria?

On our frostiest winter mornings, it can actually snow (small amounts) right across the state. But if you want guaranteed snowy sights, there are several ski resorts in Victoria you can visit. If you’re not too fussed about trying out winter sports, you can make a quick trip to Mt Donna Buang in Warburton, which is around a two-hour drive from Melbourne CBD, making it the closest spot to the city.

Where are the best places for skiing and snowboarding in Victoria?

Victoria has a number of top-notch ski resorts across the state that are super popular during the snow season. Mt Buller is arguably the favourite, located less than three hours northeast of Melbourne. Other spots include Mt Hotham, Falls Creek, Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain. For more, read our in-depth guide to the best ski resorts in Victoria

Snow in Mt Buller in Victoria.
Photograph: Shutterstock

How do you get to the snow in Victoria?

Driving to the snow is often the easiest option, but it does present challenges. If you drive, you’ll need to have your car prepared for icy conditions – a 4WD with chains for the tyres in case of slippery roads is ideal. Car passes for resorts can also be costly. To avoid driving up the mountain, you can drive to a nearby town and park there, then use a shuttle bus to get to the slopes. But if you’d rather not drive or you don’t have a car, there are public transport services that run during the snow season. You can catch a V-Line bus from Melbourne or Geelong to some resorts, or there are private bus companies that offer transfers from metro areas to popular destinations. 

How much does it cost to go to the snow?

Unfortunately, visiting one of Victoria’s ski resorts can be expensive. On top of the entry and lift pass fees, there are accommodation prices to consider, as well as the cost of hiring equipment and booking lessons if you're a beginner. At a premier ski resort like Mt Buller, a single full-day lift pass can cost up to $200 in peak times. Mt Baw Baw offers cheaper lift passes for around $79 for one day. 

If you’re not too fussed about skiing and you're on a tight budget, your best bet is to head to Mt Donna Buang, Dinner Plain or Mt Buffalo, which have no entry fees. Ski resorts also sell sightseeing lift passes for much cheaper, so you can take in the majestic snowy mountains, sans skis. Or if you prefer cross-country skiing (which means you don’t have to fork out on lift passes), consider resorts like Mt Stirling or Lake Mountain. 

But if you’re keen on downhill skiing or snowboarding, you can reduce costs with some budget-friendly hacks. One of the best money saving tricks for visiting the snow is to visit mid-week, rather than on a weekend. For any bookings (lift passes, accommodation, parking), it’s best to try and book online, as far in advance as possible to nab cheaper prices. And instead of staying at the resort, you could check out accommodation in nearby alpine towns like Bright and Harrietville. These towns also have ski shops where you can hire gear, which may be cheaper than hiring from a resort. Also, if you want to avoid an expensive resort entry fee, taking the bus instead of driving a car could be a more affordable option. Check out our full guide to doing the snow on the cheap

What do you pack for a trip to the snow?

Out on the slopes, it's pretty wet and cold – and if you don't have appropriate clothing, you could be in for a soggy experience. Go for lightweight, warm, stretchy clothing to wear underneath your ski suit, like thermals, leggings, long-sleeve tops and t-shirts. You don't want anything bulky or sweaty – it's better to have layers that you can peel off easily if you get hot. It's also important to have proper shoes for when you're not wearing ski boots – ones that will keep your feet warm and dry, as well as thick socks. Gloves are also a great idea, if you don't want your fingers to go numb when the temperatures are extra icy. And don't forget a pair of sunglasses (perhaps a cheap pair that you don't mind getting damaged when you inevitably slip over) and sunscreen, as the glare from the sun on the snow can be super strong (and snow burn is a real thing). 

When in doubt, head to your chosen ski resort's website to find more helpful information. For example, Mt Buller has a comprehensive online first timers' guide available for download. See you on the slopes!

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