R.A.N. (Navy) Ski Club, ‘Breathtaker Lodge’, Mount Buller
Mount Buller is one of Australia’s premier ski resorts. It has over 300 hectares of skiable terrain serviced by 22 lifts. The adjacent Mount Stirling is linked with Buller and provides trails for back-country adventure and cross country skiing.
Buller has all the standard facilities of a modern ski resort including sales and rentals of snow equipment & clothing and a comprehensive Ski & Snowboard School. Other facilities include a supermarket, cinema, church and day spas. Over 30 bars and restaurants provide a wide choice of dining experiences.
Go to the Mount Buller website for further resort information:
The Navy Ski Club lodge at Mount Buller stands on the foundations of the original lodge which was built in the mid 1950s. The ‘Breathtaker lodge’, so named as it is located on a piece of land known as Breathtaker Point, has been renovated and modernised over the years, and now accommodates up to 60 people.
The Lodge provides ski-in / ski-out access to intermediate runs or a short walk to the beginner areas. Free shuttle buses provide intra village transport and a bus stop is located directly outside the Lodge.
Getting to the Mt Buller
From Melbourne, the best routes are via Yarra Glen or Whittlesea to Yea, then onto Mansfield and Mirimbah; driving time approximately three hours. From Sydney or Canberra, take the Hume Highway and turn left to Mansfield from the Benalla by-pass.
On arrival at the entry point to Mt Buller, you pay an entry fee and any overnight parking fees. At the gate you will be advised as to whether snow chains need to be fitted at the chain fitting bays located up the mountain. Chains must be carried in all vehicles from the season opening on Queen’s Birthday weekend until the end of the season. You proceed up the mountain until you reach a point where you will be directed by mountain staff where to park. There is roadside parking as well as large car parks (take note of which car park you’re in).
Leave your car in gear. Never apply the handbrake! If required, don’t forget anti-freeze in the radiator before you leave home and lift windscreen wipers clear of the windscreen once parked. If you are driving a diesel vehicle it is advisable that your tank be topped up with alpine diesel in Mansfield or a diesel anti freeze additive added to your tank to prevent your diesel fuel from spoiling due to freezing.
Having parked and unloaded your car, unless directed otherwise, you wait by your car for a four wheel drive taxi transport to transfer you to the Lodge. The Lodge, known locally as Navy Ski Club, is situated at the end of The Avenue. The taxi service is very efficient and will be there almost as soon as you park.
Alternatively, you can catch the bus from either Melbourne or Mansfield which will drop you off in the village and qualify you for an immediate four wheel taxi to the Lodge. Four wheel drive taxis meet all the Mansfield Mt Buller Bus Line buses.
Arrival at the Lodge
On first arrival, you can ring the doorbell at the front entrance. From then on, the winter entrance is through the lower ground floor door to the right of the building and the door has a combination lock which is set for security reasons. It is up to you if you are arriving late to check with the Lodge Manager (03) 5777 6363 for the combination. Ski boots or outdoor boots must be left in the racks provided in the boot drying room before proceeding upstairs. The drying room also has a combination lock.
In the foyer near the front entrance you will find a notice board showing which cabin(s) have been allocated to you. The same board lists chores allocated to all members and guests staying in the Lodge. Cabins are generally available from 1pm on the first day of your booking.
If you are in doubt, ask any member for help. The Lodge is a friendly place! At an appropriate time, the Lodge Manager will also provide a Welcome Briefing which will outline much of the guidance contained in this article.
The Manager will allocate chores to ensure the smooth running of the Lodge. These are not onerous and should only take each group or individual a maximum of 5 – 10 minutes per day. Such chores include emptying rubbish bins, vacuuming communal areas or setting the fire. On the whole, it is expected that everyone cleans up after themselves and is respectful of others in terms of their behaviour.
It is a Navy tradition that headwear is not to be worn in the communal areas of the Lodge, i.e. in the lounges and dining room. Indoor footwear or socks are also to worn at all times in communal areas. No bare feet!
Lodge accommodation is made up of two, three and four berth cabins (rooms) with beds being a combination of single beds and bunks.
All beds have doonas and pillows so you need to bring only sheets and pillowcases. Extra blankets are provided in the cabins. Even if using a sleeping bag, a bottom sheet and pillowcase is a mandatory requirement for health and hygiene reasons. Also bring personal toiletries and towels. The Lodge Manager has a small supply of sheets and pillowcases for hire at a nominal fee (though this is only intended for emergencies such as when someone has forgotten their sheets).
Basement: Drying room for clothing and footwear, laundry, ski / snowboard racks and sauna.
Ground Floor: Main lounge with open fire place and bar, dining room, large well equipped galley (kitchen), bathrooms, toilets, cabins and the Manager’s flat.
First Floor: TV lounges and games rooms, cabins, bathrooms and toilets.
Food Storage: There is a large well equipped kitchen opening from the dining room in which you will find a cupboard marked with your cabin number. Store your non-perishable food here. There are refrigerators throughout the kitchen and dining room for your use to store perishables. Areas in the fridges are also allocated in accordance with cabin numbers. Drinks (alcoholic and soft) are to be stored in the large refrigerators in the lounge bar. (Your surname should be marked on all refrigerated items). Freezers are located in the basement for any requirement to store frozen foods.
Wi-fi: Available free of charge but please no large downloads, movies, etc.
What to Bring
Apart from bringing your own sheets, pillowcases and towels, you also bring your own food and refreshments. A range of condiments including tea and coffee are provided by the Club. There is a well stocked supermarket (Foodworks) on the mountain should you forget anything. Supplies from Mansfield IGA can also be ordered and delivered to the Lodge.
It is your responsibility to vacuum and clean your cabin and complete any assigned chores on the day of departure. Unused foodstuffs must be cleared from your allocated cupboard in the kitchen and the cupboard wiped out. Refrigerated items are to be either taken home, or put in the rubbish bins provided. You will need to book a taxi (you should already have return tickets). The phone number is on the noticeboard at the kitchen entrance.
Cabins need to be vacated by 12 noon on the day of departure. Some luggage storage is available in the foyer and basement areas if you wish to hit the slopes before departing later in the day.
Non-winter ‘Green Season’ Use of the Lodge
Mount Buller offers a range of non-winter activities including world class mountain bike trails. A Lodge Manager is not in residence outside of the main ski season, therefore, you have to ensure that arrangements are made to obtain keys, to familiarise yourself with opening and closing procedures and security requirements. The Lodge can be booked for out-of-season use individually (minimum charges apply), for a group or for conventions, seminars, etc. Catering arrangements are the responsibility of the booking party.