Perisher

Perisher

Perisher Valley Lodge

The Perisher Valley Lodge is on the south eastern slope of Perisher Valley, about one kilometre from the Perisher Valley Skitube Terminal, day car park and the Perisher Ski Centre.

Perisher Ski Resort comprises the once separate resorts of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega Village and Blue Cow. In terms of ski lift capacity and lift accessible terrain it is Australia’s largest ski resort. The area possess an extensive network of Nordic ski trails, the more popular of which are regularly groomed, and ready access to back country.

Residents at Perisher Lodge can also access the resorts of Thredbo (by

Skitube and shuttle bus) and Charlotte Pass (by over snow transport).

Getting to Perisher Valley

If coming by car, make sure it is in good condition, with a sound battery, antifreeze,

and plenty of tread on the tyres. It is compulsory to carry properly fitting snow chains in 2 wheel drive vehicles if proceeding beyond the park entry at the Thredbo River, which is about 20 km before you get to Perisher. It is also recommended that, although not mandated by law, 4WD vehicles carry chains unless fitted with designated snow tyres (“mud and snow” tyres don’t qualify, apparently).

Access to the Perisher Valley Lodge is via Jindabyne on the Kosciusko Road, through the National Park gates where you will have to pay a daily entrance fee unless you hold an annual NPWS pass. Park entry fees are:

  • Winter season (from the beginning of the June long weekend the end of the October long weekend), $27 per vehicle per day.
  • Outside the winter season, $16 per vehicle per day.
  • An annual NSW All Parks Pass (covers Kosciuszko National Park) costs $190.

If you want more information about Park Entry Fees go to Introduction of winter entry visitor surcharge to NSW ski fields

The large car park in Perisher Valley is open from 0700 until midnight for day visitors only. Overnight parking is NOT permitted above the snow line in winter. However, overnight parking within the Kosciuszko National Park is available at Sawpit Creek [to the left of the Park entrance gates]. For connections to Perisher contact Sawpit Mick’s Valet Parking Service ((02)6456 2321 & 0412 045 894). Sawpit Mick advises that he is still operating but the fixed service usually just takes messages and that it is best that people call his mobile number if they want to speak to him directly.

Alternative access is via Jindabyne and the Alpine Way (towards Thredbo) and then via the Skitube at Bullocks Flat. Free overnight parking is available here. Skitube operates from Bullocks Flat, on the Alpine Way (the road to Thredbo). During the winter trains operate to Perisher Terminal, providing a 20 – 30 minute service between 0600 and 1800 then hourly until 0100 (all night at weekends) and at 0500 (timetables and fares from 1300 655 822 or www.perisher.com.au). Free short and long term car parking are available at Bullocks Flat.  A park entry permit is NOT required to access the Ski Tube terminal at Bullocks Flat.

Trolleys are available for your baggage and there is a service elevator at Perisher Centre to help you to and from the platform level. Skitube also connects Perisher with Blue Cow (free to those holding a lift pass) for those wishing to ski the Blue Cow Guthega area. Luggage restrictions apply on Skitube on certain days at certain times. See the Perisher Resort Skitube Timetable website for details.

For those not coming by car, Greyhound Pioneer’s central reservations number is 1300 473 946, but there is no longer a direct service to Perisher Valley; the Thredbo service drops off and picks up at Bullocks Flat (Skitube) for passengers to/from Perisher.

Brindabella Airlines are now operating the services between Sydney and Cooma; for bookings call 1300 668 824, general inquiries 02 6215 2970, Mon-Fri 0900-1700A Snowy Mountains Airport Shuttle service to the snowfields meets most flights – call 02-6452 4455.

From the Perisher Terminal to the Lodge it’s “shank’s pony” or Hans Oversnow. For the latter, book at the desk in the Terminal on arrival or call (02) 6457 5334: but be warned, there is a hefty ‘call out’ fee between 0030 and 0630.  Prices for Hans Oversnow are $16 per person each way.  The call out fee is $44. Perisher visitors might want to enquire about “skier special” fares; last year, for $5 per head, people without luggage or, in theory, shopping, could get a ride home between about 1600 and 1800 and parties could book a ride down in the morning for the same price.

Lodge Facilities

The lodge is equipped with blankets, doonas and pillows, so you need only bring sheets, pillow cases and towels, food, drink and personal belongings. There is adequate day-to-day storage for foodstuffs and drinks, with a numbered cupboard in the kitchen for each cabin, communal refrigerators and a freezer. The kitchen is well equipped for gourmet chefs or camp cooks.

 Chores

This club and its lodges functions on the basis that members and guests do communal “chores” within the lodges. This helps to defray costs. To ensure the burden of chores is shared, a Task Board is to be found in the kitchen. This will let members and guests know what tasks are expected of them.

The Manager will fill out the Task Board. If you are in doubt about anything just ask the Manager or a more experienced member; it’s a friendly place.

Your assistance and co-operation is sought in helping new members settle in, doing your share of the communal chores and cleaning. A full lodge is usually a happy one so you will be encouraged to join in and contribute.

On Leaving

You are requested to vacuum and clean your room. Unused foodstuffs must be cleared from the kitchen cupboards, refrigerator and freezer, and either taken home, put in the rubbish bins, or if appropriate, left for ‘community’ use.

Shopping in the Valley

A supermarket/liquor store in the Perisher Skitube terminal is open in winter only. Orders can be placed by phone and delivered to the Lodge for a small fee. Telephone (02) 6457 5555. In summer, bring all your food and drink with you or shop in Jindabyne, 33km down the hill. Also in winter only, there are a Medical Centre, newsagent cum video hire, pharmacy and shops selling skiing equipment, clothing, souvenirs and jewellery.

Entertainment

In winter, in addition to the many daytime fast food outlets catering for skiers and day trippers there are several good restaurants open in the evening and live action is often to be found in the pubs and bars. In summer it is very quiet!

Updated June 2013

Recent Posts

Vasaloppet China 2019 – an Experience

by Martin Linsley

What follows is written to entertain, report, advise and hopefully stimulate your interest in the Vasaloppet China – one of the 20 international loppet long-distance ski races (that include Australia’s own Kangaroo Hoppet race) organised around the world.

Dave Michael, my long-time skiing buddy, and I are both ex-Navy, and are ever grateful that we were introduced to cross-country skiing and racing by the Service. After retirement we pursued the goal of becoming World Loppet Masters, a goal that requires completing 12 loppet races in 12 different countries. After achieving this we haven’t stopped. The Vasaloppet China was our sixteenth loppet event.

A major motivation for our entering loppet races is the need to develop and/or maintain enough fitness, fitness that is also good for health and quality of life. On this occasion, being sufficiently fit was a challenge, for summer’s heat discouraged outdoor activity. Had we done enough for the Chinese loppet? Had we overindulged over Christmas and New Year?

After a day or two of nervous anticipation and adrenalin accumulation Dave and I met at Sydney airport on 2 January, and we flew for 14.5 hrs first to Guangzhou (near Hong Kong) and then Changchun (the capital of China’s north eastern Jilin province, due north of Korea, with a 7 million + population). Wearing only a shirt was OK for Sydney’s 20-30° C, but alighting from the plane at Changchun at near midnight the temperature was about -18° C. Thankfully, we didn’t have to spend long outside.

Dave and I had paid for a package that covered the race and some sightseeing. It was offered by Nordic Ways, a small and specialised Norwegian company that operates through the Vasaloppet China organisation. Benefits of the package soon became apparent. We were met at the airport by a ‘race volunteer’ who drove us in his Honda Odyssey to the five-star Sheraton hotel where most of the international skiers (about 150) were staying.  At the hotel, the owner/manager of Nordic Ways met us and we were soon settling-in to our room.

Next morning we enjoyed a splendid buffet breakfast, with a large choice of mostly Chinese food spread over four buffets. By 1100 we were in our ski gear and boarding a coach that would take the Nordic Ways skiers to the nearby race location. The weather was normal for the area: clear, windless and cold (about -16C). There was practically no natural snow and, as anticipated, we found the race start/finish area and course (a 25 km loop) relied on man-made snow. Being consistently too cold to melt, the snow was good for skiing: dry, fast and firm. Tracks were being set, because the race was restricted to classical technique skiing.

The Chinese organisers work wonders to make their loppet event world class. A splendid feature is the massive ice sculptures adjacent to the start/finish area. This isn’t only for the race: the venue is a nature/recreation park centred on a lake, so in winter it’s a playground for the locals. Small motor vehicles can be hired for sliding on the frozen lake, short horse-sleigh or a dog sled rides are an option, as is hiring inflated truck tyre tubes for the frozen slopes.

Being concerned with saving energy, and somewhat uncertain about the grip wax on our skis, Dave and I spent just over an hour on our skis before returning to the hotel. This was enough, because the race course was being prepared and only a small section of it was accessible to skiers. We noted that at the start the course was wide enough for just four cut tracks. Three to four hundred metres along the course the snow-covered area narrowed to about three metres wide, allowing for two just classic tracks with just enough room for a third skier between them. (More on this later.) We learnt that the course meanders around the park following (sealed?) roadways and tracks. There’s a good mix of slightly undulating gradient (with no Aussie-standard steep grades) and flat areas, including a couple passing over frozen lakes.

Thursday afternoon Dave and I took our skis to a couple of young semi-professional Swedish guys who were waxing/preparing skis for the race in the hotel’s basement carpark. We needed them, as we don’t have the waxes for very cold temperatures and hadn’t brought waxing equipment. The Swedes were preparing 45 pairs of skis that afternoon and charged $80. We were later satisfied for the expensive aid, our skis gripped well for ‘the kick’ and glided well when needed.

By then we’d learned that four other Aussies were in Changchun for the race: a family of three from Sydney (Phil Cole, wife and daughter Alexandra) that presently reside in Hong Kong, and a younger guy from Melbourne.

Friday 4 Jan was race day. Nervous energy was at a high level. The ‘internationals’ from the Sheraton arrived at the course early, the hotel being just a 15-minute drive away. There were ‘rough and ready’ changing facilities in tents for ‘ordinary’ folk, but as we found ourselves closer to a small, heated building designated for elite international teams, we assumed an air of ‘belonging’ and walked past the security staff before establishing ourselves in a corner.

Further evidence of the efforts taken to make the China loppet world class was the pre-race entertainment – the best we’ve experienced anywhere. There would have been over 100 drummers, dancers and musicians performing for twenty minutes in front of the ice sculptures. It was a welcome distraction from the efforts ahead.

Conditions were good for skiing. Clear, windless and the air temperature for the 1000 start about -15C;  relatively warm for Changchun.

From her experience with the race in 2017 Marg Hayes had warned us about the start, and arrangements for it hadn’t changed. About 90 elite skiers lined-up at the front of the field (50:50 Chinese and other nations). Behind them were the remaining skiers in the 50 km race (around 100), and behind us were the near 300 folk entered for the 25 km distance. With there being just four tracks cut for all racers, and with many skiers squeezed between those tracks, the mass of competitors extended over 100 metres. This would have been less of a problem if the start of each group had been separated by a few minutes, but no … the gun fired and everyone started together. Consequently, our group of skiers was overrun by the 25 km ‘speedsters’ and the impetuous youths (anyone under 50?) who weren’t interested in pacing themselves and who felt the need to sprint to the front. Unsurprisingly, there were several falls, people pile-ups and a couple of broken poles. Dave and I, skiing separately, ‘went slow with the flow’, trying to avoid trouble.

The greatest issue became evident about 1.4 km into the race where, at the top of a long gentle rise, the course’s steepest descent on the narrow  track occurred. Many of the ‘speedsters’ and ‘youths’ hadn’t learned how to control cross country skis downhill, and these individuals fell, totally blocking the narrow track. Seeing the human debris, the skiers behind stopped at the top of the hill where an official tried to martial an orderly queue and progression by shouting and blowing a whistle. Dave and I ignored him, squeezed through the waiting, hesitant folk and easily negotiated the slope to continue the race.

As normal for a loppet, refreshment stations were located every 7-8 km, providing a choice of liquids and something to eat (bananas, bread, or a Cocopop-type bar). Being concerned about running-out of energy, I refuelled at all of them.

I progressed satisfactorily until completing 20.5 km. It was then that the leading bunch of 5-6 elite skiers caught me (they had completed 45.5 km). Being so close to their finish these athletes were close to sprinting at more than double my speed. The restricted course wasn’t conducive to a bunch of skiers overtaking an ‘old fella’ who was pottering along in one of the two tracks. A ski appeared between me and my planted pole, causing the elite skier to trip, fall, and bring down two others. I then fell over the three of them.

This crash probably affected the race podium positions, as less than 15 seconds separated the first ten race finishers. It certainly affected my result as, when I was able to return to a vertical position, one of my poles was broken in half. I therefore continued, greatly handicapped by the use of only one pole, but with some compensation in the form of a jazzy pair of sunglasses that one of my fellow fallers had abandoned in the snow. Four and a half kilometres further I completed my first lap at the start/finish area and was able to borrow a pole (albeit 5 cm shorter than my remaining one).

Completing half the 50 km had taken me not far short of three hours to complete. This was concerning, as the course was to be closed after six hours. I was careful not to overextend though, my energy reserves were clearly limited. Steady sustained effort was necessary. Steadily the course-side distance markers counted down and my confidence in finishing increased. So too did my natural competitiveness, probably too much so, because I overtook several skiers in that second lap (including Phil Cole) and invested more energy than was wise. By the time I crossed the line in 5 hrs 33 minutes, placed 161, I was near ‘totally bushed’. Dave provided a great welcome and support for me there. (He had joined a few other folk in withdrawing from the race at the 25 km mark when they agreed that they wouldn’t meet the time limit). The race commentator also announced my achievement over the public address system, noting that I was the second Australian to finish, my year of birth, and that I was one of the oldest people skiing that day.

As Dave and I gathered our gear dusk was settling-in and the race infrastructure being dismantled. We caught the last coach back to the hotel, where I had my Worldloppet Passport stamped: a goal achieved.

For reference: a Chinese skier won the race in 2 hrs 23 mins and 27 secs, followed by another native lad and then skiers from France, Norway, Norway, Czech, and the USA. The leading female, from Sweden, finished in 2 hrs 32 min and 50 secs.

That evening Dave and I attended the China Vasaloppet prize-giving and banquet that was held at our hotel. It was a magnificent highlight of the event, incomparably better than experienced at other loppet events. The massive hall held tables that seated 440 folk including a few for VIPs such as the city’s deputy mayor. At the front was a stage with decorations that served as a background for a sequence of light and video shows that would have done Hollywood proud. Professional comperes mc’d the evening and introduced speakers, musicians, dancers (adult and children), acrobats and a short video of the day’s race. Meanwhile the guests indulged in a 15-dish meal with unlimited wine or beer. At our table Dave and I enjoyed the company of a Russian, a couple of Americans, and a small group of Estonians.

We slept well that night.

The Nordic Ways Travel Package offers three inclusive packages for the event, one with only travel to/from Beijing and entry to the race, and the others with short or long sight-seeing extensions. Dave and I opted for the short package that included a fast train ride to Beijing and two days of tours. We then followed our own plan with a train to Shanghai and two days sightseeing before our return to Australia on 12 January.

What overseas skiing adventures next for Dave and me? None are planned, but there are only four loppet races that we have yet to attend.

Advice for Australians attending the Vasaloppet China

 Unless you’re a recognized elite skier who’ll be at the front of the field for the start of the race, don’t be too competitive. Whilst event organization is of the highest standard, race management has had flaws (notably the mass start and limited width race course). Using the event as an excuse to visit and see something of China (and gain a stamp in your Worldloppet passport, of course).

Choose between paying for the Travel Package offered by the Vasaloppet Organisation or saving money by managing independently. For us the package worked well, making it easy for travel within China, accommodation, sightseeing and visa requirements. It also enabled us to socialise with fellow international skiers. Other Australians have managed the language and bureaucratic challenges associated with making their own arrangements. They saved money, but probably experienced greater stress and marginally less shared experience.

Prepare for the cold. Over Christmas the average temperature range in Changchun was -24 C to -18 C. This does mean that snow (mostly man-made) is near 100% guaranteed, and the weather is usually clear and calm. Either have appropriate waxes and equipment or use the professional service available pre-race.

Ideally skiers organise some on-snow practise before arriving at Changchun. The options for this aren’t good are likely to involve spending New Year and possibly Christmas in Japan (the best option?). Regardless, the same endurance fitness is required as for any other loppet race, so be prepared.

The trains and subways of the major cities are easy to use (well signposted) and efficient.

Engage with locals, who are as friendly and helpful as elsewhere. Many are keen to practise their English. Others like to use the Mandarin-English voice recognition and translation aps on their mobile phones to answer your questions.

Take your own energy/snack food from Australia. Finding equivalents in China can be difficult.

Pharmacies aren’t clearly and commonly available in China. Pack whatever could possibly be needed for the trip.

If you have any questions about Vasaloppet China that Dave and I might answer, contact me using email: linsleys@iinet.net.au.

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