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Ski lifts at Mount Hotham
Robert Blackburn

The best ski resorts to visit during Victoria's snow season

Ready to hit the slopes? Here’s where to find snow around Victoria

Written by
Maddison Capuano

As a famously sunburnt country, snow is not exactly what we’re known for in Australia. But luckily for those of us who call Victoria home, we actually have a handful of ski resorts within driving distance. With a wide variety of terrain and a wealth of quality apres options, there’s something for skiers, snowboarders and toboganners alike.

The trick is to book early, as accommodation options are not infinite and competition can be fierce for on-mountain lodgings, especially on weekends. Alternatively, there is something to be said for pulling a sickie for a quick dash up the mountain in the event of a bluebird day. We've also rounded up all the handy tips for how to do the snow on the cheap. Just don’t neglect the sunscreen: even in the winter, that famous Australian sun has no chill.

Ready to embrace the chill? Check out our ultimate guide to winter in Melbourne. Plus, here's where you can go ice skating in Melbourne.

Victoria's top five ski resorts

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Hands down the most popular ski resort in Victoria, Mt Buller is a winner with both day trippers and weekend warriors. Located less than three hours from Melbourne, this mountain offers plenty of downhill terrain for skiers and boarders, with ample room for beginners to work on their snow legs. Those with a little more experience should hightail it to the Southern Slopes, where you’ll find some of Victoria’s more gruelling black runs. Whichever side of the mountain you pick though, be warned: you will always find a crowd here. It’s the unavoidable tradeoff for being so close to Melbourne.

Not into snow sports? Not a problem. Mt Buller also offers a lot off the slopes, with a day spa, sled dog tours, snowshoeing trails and a very fun aprés scene. Spread across the mountain, you’ll find some 30 bars and restaurants, offering something for all tastes - but daytrippers or those in a rush to hit the slopes will certainly want to factor a village jaffle into their morning.

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  • Hotham Heights

The first thing you’ll notice about Mt Hotham when you arrive is its upside-down layout. Unlike most resorts, where accommodation is found at the base of the mountain, and chairlifts are the first order of every day, Mt Hotham’s village is actually at the top of the mountain. What this means is that this resort has some of the best ski-in/ski-out lodgings to be found anywhere. Another jewel in this mountain's crown is its challenging terrain, offering powderhounds ample tree runs, steep slopes, gullies and off-piste trails. Beginners fear not though, as there are still plenty of options for you.

As Mt Hotham is nearly a five-hour drive from Melbourne and located on a particularly harrowing section of the Great Alpine Road that calls for a confident driver behind the wheel during the winter season, this resort absolutely requires an overnight stay, or better yet, a very long weekend. For your dedication, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of restaurants and bars to explore, along with snow tubing, tobogganing and terrain park areas when you need a break from the downhill action. Alternatively, if the on-mountain accommodation just doesn’t do it for you, Dinner Plain is a very charming alpine town just 15 minutes away, with shuttle buses operating during the ski season.

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  • Falls Creek

If you’re choosing a ski resort based on looks alone, then Falls Creek is the one for you. However, beyond its rather pretty European-style village, Falls Creek has so much more to offer. It’s a haven for intermediate skiers and boarders, owing to its wide ski runs, of which there are about 90. Such a hefty supply means that the slopes are rarely overcrowded, making this a more relaxing mountain than others.

There are also four terrain parks to play on, or if you’re on the more adventurous side, Falls Creek is known for its spectacular backcountry. Never gone backcountry touring before? Book a tour, and enjoy getting well and truly off the beaten track.

As you would expect from a resort with such a good-looking village, there are plenty of aprés options at Falls Creek. Restaurants, bars and cafés abound for all of your breakfast, lunch and dinner needs, all of which are in easy reach of the resort's wide array of on-mountain accommodation options.

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Got kids? Mt Baw Baw’s got you covered. This child-friendly mountain offers plenty of snow play areas, tobogganing hills and gentle ski slopes, all of which work together to create the ultimate first-time-at-the-snow experience. There are also plenty of snowshoeing opportunities, and the chance to meet some dingoes at Mt Baw Baw’s Dingo Resource Centre.

Of course, more experienced skiers won’t be disappointed either, as the mountain has 35 hectares of snow, seven ski lifts and unlimited tree run terrain for those wanting to disappear into the snow gums. 

Located about two-and-a-half hours from Melbourne, Mt Baw Baw has a village atmosphere, with a handful of great cafés and bistros for those hot chocolate pick-me-ups or a relaxed lunch to refuel. You’ll find a few accommodation options on the mountain should you wish to stay the night, or if you want to day trip without having to drive, you can also make use of a number of bus companies that connect Melbourne and Mt Baw Baw during the winter season.

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If downhill skiing leaves you a little cold (emotionally, not physically…), then maybe cross-country skiing is more your speed. And in Victoria, there’s nowhere better for some cross-country carving than Lake Mountain. In fact, according to Visit Victoria, this region is the third most-visited cross-country alpine resort in the world, offering 39 kilometres of beginner and advanced trails. 

If you’ve never tried cross-country skiing before, consider booking in a lesson with the Snow Sports Centre. Even if you’re a seasoned downhill skier, cross-country trails can take a little getting used to, not least of all because there are no lifts. Don’t worry though: the trails aren’t that steep, so no superhuman leg strength is required. Best of all, Lake Mountain is easily accessible from Melbourne. The resort can be found just two hours from the city via the village of Marysville, which is where you’ll want to book your accommodation if you’re making a weekend out of it, as there’s no on-mountain accommodation available.

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