CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING IN THE AUSTRALIAN ALPS


The Snowy Mountains of NSW, situated in Kosciuszko National Park, provide an excellent venue for cross-country skiing in Australia. There is skiable snow from June until October/November in most years. The terrain is a mixture of treeless plains, rolling hills, deep valleys, snowgum and eucalypt forest, and the glacial lakes and steeper slopes of the Main Range near Mt Kosciuszko. There are many old mountain huts scattered throughout the mountains which provide interesting destinations to ski to, and there is a large network of groomed cross-country ski trails at a few locations, including Perisher Valley and Cabramurra. In a typical snow season I like to ski in many areas of Kosciuszko National Park, visiting huts, leading some club ski tours, going in a few citizen ski races and doing the occasional snow camp. My favourite times are when skiing through snow covered forests immediately after a blizzard, and up on the Main Range in spring when there are long, warm days, excellent spring snow and fantastic slopes and views. I have put together a list of suggestions for single day ski tours for the Snowy Mountains area.

The Victorian Alps also provide a great venue for cross-country skiing, and offer a different skiing experience to the Snowy Mountains. The main cross-country skiing areas include Falls Creek, the Bogong High Plains, Mt Hotham, Dinner Plain, Mt Buffalo, Mt Stirling, Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw. There is a large network of groomed cross-country ski trails available at some of the resorts, many old cattlemen's and skiing huts to visit, and a variety of terrain and vegetation in which to ski.

Below are a selection of my photographs taken on various ski tours in NSW, VIC & the ACT over the last 24 years, mainly with people from the Canberra Cross Country Ski Club. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:

Alan Levy




Broken Dam Hut
Broken Dam Hut - Aug 95. This hut is located about 12 km southeast of Mt Selwyn ski resort in the northern part of Kosciuszko National Park. The hut was situated close to Tabletop Mountain, but sadly, it was burnt down in Nov 98. A replacement hut was subsequently rebuilt nearby in 2007.


Broken Dam Hut A comparison of the original and rebuilt Broken Dam Huts.


Kosciuszko South Ridge
Skiing on the south ridge of Mt Kosciuszko in Nov 01. Immediately below to the left is Lake Cootapatamba. Beyond is Victoria. This ridge always holds snow till the very end of the season.


Mt Feathertop
Skiing along Machinery Spur near Mt Loch, with Mt Feathertop in the distance - Aug 07. This area close to Mt Hotham has some of the most spectacular views in the Alps.


Tate West Ridge
Looking south from Tate West Ridge towards Watsons Crags and the Geehi Valley - Sept 10.


Club ski tour near The Porcupine
Club ski tour near The Porcupine on the trail to Charlotte Pass - Jun 94.


Waterfall on the Snowy River
Waterfall on the Snowy River below Mt Clarke - Oct 00. During the spring snowmelt the streams are full of icy water which makes for painful river crossings.


Rocky Valley Dam
Skiing across Rocky Valley Dam wall at Falls Creek - Aug 99. Falls Creek has a large network of cross country ski trails around the nearby Bogong High Plains and is the venue for the Kangaroo Hoppet ski race held on the last weekend in August every year.


On the Brindle Bull
Skiing on the Brindle Bull plateau - Aug 01. This area is close to Dead Horse Gap and contains many old snowgums and good views of the Main Range and into Victoria.


Wilkinsons Valley
Snow camp in Wilkinson's Valley late in the season - Oct 94. This valley is situated between Mt Kosciuszko and Mt Townsend. From this campsite it is only a short ski to Mt Townsend, Abbot Range or Mueller's Peak, and there is a great ski run down Wilkinson's Valley into a small gorge.


The Leviathan
Skiing beneath The Leviathan - Aug 10. This huge balancing rock is located at Mt Buffalo close to Cresta Valley.


Above Strezlecki Creek
Red coloured snow from dust storms on the slopes above Strezlecki Creek - Oct 09. The western faces of the Main Range provide excellent slopes and views of the Geehi Valley and into Victoria.


The Giants Playground
Skier next to the Tables and Loaves, a large rock formation in the Giants Playground at Mt Buffalo. Mt Buffalo has a small network of cross country ski trails and offers fantastic skiing along small open valleys amongst huge granite boulders, and provides great views of the surrounding Victorian Alps.


Skiing at Bulls Head
Skiing at Bull's Head in the Brindabella Range in the ACT, not far from Canberra - Jul 94. This area provides good skiing when there is enough snow, mostly along the roads and on some of the peaks, such as Mt Franklin, Mt Gingera and Mt Ginini.


Main Range view Main Range near Guthega - Jun 95. Looking across the Snowy River valley from The Paralyser towards Mt Anderson.


Skiers at Cootapatamba Hut Skiers at Cootapatamba Hut, enroute to a snowcamp near Leatherbarrel Creek - Oct 02.


Wombat on skis Friendly baby wombat on White's River fire trail - Jul 95. This wombat wandered over to the group and sat momentarily on someone's skis, while it's mother watched nearby.


Wallaces Hut
Wallaces Hut - Aug 98. This historic cattleman's hut built in 1889 is an easy ski tour from Falls Creek. There are many other old huts on the Bogong High Plains which offer good skiing destinations.


Snowcamp at Three Mile Dam
Camping at Three Mile Dam - Sept 01. This area is close to Mt Selwyn resort and provides easy skiing on mostly flat terrain. It is a good place to snowcamp next to the cars.


Skiing on Mt Franklin
Skiing on the old downhill ski slopes at Mt Franklin in the Brindabellas - Jul 95. In the distance is Mt Ginini and Mt Gingera. Mt Jagungal is just visible on the right hand side of the photograph.


Skiing on Mt Franklin Chalet
Skiing at Mt Franklin Chalet - Jul 95. This historic building in the Brindabellas on the outskirts of Canberra was burnt down in the bushfires of January 2003.


Glider over Carruthers Peak
A glider flying over Carruthers Peak - Nov 91. Gliders are sometimes seen soaring near the western faces of the Main Range during spring.


Skiing at Leatherbarrel Creek
Skiing on the slopes at Leatherbarrel Creek - Oct 92. Beyond is Victoria. This area has excellent slopes, some very steep.


Fire aftermath at Perisher
The aftermath of the 2003 bushfires near the Perisher nordic ski trails - Feb 03. Many snowgums were burnt in the Perisher area in January 2003, and the regrowth since then has been slow.


Ash covere snow
Skiing over black coloured snow near Guthega Trig - Oct 03. Wind blown ash from the bushfires covered the snow during the spring of 2003, making for some interesting sights.


Skiing near Mt Loch
Skiing near Mt Loch - Aug 99. The ski trail from Mt Hotham to Mt Loch goes along a narrow ridge and provides great views of Mt Feathertop and The Razorback. This is one of the most spectacular ski tours I have done.


Gavels Hut
Gavels Hut - Jul 04. This hut is located close to Nungar Plain just north of Adaminaby, and is only accessible on skis following good snowfalls.


Blue Lake
Skiers on the ice covered Blue Lake - Sept 12. This is the largest of the glacial lakes on the Main Range. The surrounding cliffs are used by ice climbers during winter.


Tree on Tabletop Mountain
Tree on top of Tabletop Mountain in northern Kosciuszko National Park - Aug 95. Lake Eucembene is in the distance. This peak offers great views of the park, especially towards Mt Jagungal.


Tree on Tabletop Mountain Another photo of this tree on Tabletop Mountain - Aug 96.


Watsons Crags Dust covered snow on Watsons Crags - Oct 09.


Skiing on Disappointment Spur
Skiing on the Disappointment Spur fire trail after a heavy snowfall - Jul 96. This trail provides a more interesting and sheltered route from Munyang towards Schlink Pass than the road which goes up the middle of the valley.


Mt Buffalo Chalet
Mt Buffalo Chalet under snow - Aug 12. This historic building is now over a century old and is currently closed.


Skiing at Cabramurra
Skiing along a road near Cabramurra - Aug 91. Just above this road is a small plateau containing the Cabramurra cross-country ski trails, which provide easy skiing amongst snowgums and contain good views towards the Jagungal area.


Mawsons Hut
Skiers at Mawsons Hut - Sept 02. This hut is situated at the northern end of The Kerries and provides a good base from which to explore the Mt Jagungal area to the north.


Racers at Falls Creek
Racers in the Kangaroo Hoppet ski race at Falls Creek - Aug 09. The Kangaroo Hoppet is a 42km World Loppet ski race held every year on the Bogong High Plains around Falls Creek.


Dinner Plain Hotel
Dinner Plain Hotel. An 11km ski trail between Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain goes through beautiful snow gum forest and open plains and provides a lot of variety. This hotel at the end of the trail makes an interesting ski destination for lunch.


Group on The Paralyser
Group on top of The Paralyser enjoying the view towards Guthega - Jul 00. This trig point provides great views of the Main Range and the Perisher Range and is a good alternative to the trails in the valleys below.


At Three Mile Dam
Enjoying the moon rise at Three Mile Dam after dinner - Jul 04.


Kiandra Courthouse
The old Courthouse at Kiandra - Jul 11. This building has previously been used as a ski chalet and roads depot building, and is currently being refurbished by the NPWS.


Near Trapyard Creek
Snowgum near the escarpment close to Trapyard Creek - May 02.


View from Alice Rawson Peak
View from Alice Rawson Peak - Oct 94. This peak is located close to Mt Townsend and has some of the best views in the mountains as it overlooks Lady Northcote Canyon and the deep Geehi Valley.


Elaine Mine
Old steam engine in the snow at Elaine Mine - Sept 04. The area around Kiandra has many remnants from the gold mining era from the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Sunset over Mt Lee
Spectacular sunset over Mt Lee - Oct 09. The last rays of the sun lit the clouds from underneath, creating amazing lighting effects while our snowcamping group had dinner.


Snowcamp near Club Creek
Snowcamping near Club Creek below Carruthers Peak - Oct 09. This is a great place to camp in spring, with the surrounding peaks and slopes of the Main Range providing great skiing.


Summit of Mt Kosciuszko The summit of Mt Kosciuszko - Nov 91. The long snowdrifts that remain after winter usually allow skiing into December.


Wonder Women in Kosciusko Tour Competitors in the Kosciusko Tour - Sept 00. The Kosciusko Tour is an 18 km cross country ski race organised by the Canberra Cross Country Ski Club that goes from the top of Thredbo to Perisher, via Charlotte Pass. This is a fun race which also has a fancy dress category.


Skiing near Mt Selwyn Skiing on the cross country trails near Mt Selwyn - Aug 96. The snowgums and views are very good in this area. Close by are a few old mountain huts worth visiting.


KAC Martini start Skiers at Perisher at the start of the KAC Martini Cross Country Ski Race - Aug 02. This 9km race goes from Perisher to Charlotte Pass and attracts hundreds of skiers.


The Chalet The Chalet at Charlotte Pass after the finish of the KAC Martini Cross Country Ski Race - Aug 97.


Skiing on Bobs Ridge Skiing on the top of Bob's Ridge - Jun 00. Bob's Ridge is located near Dead Horse Gap and offers good views south to The Pilot and into Victoria. From here there is a good descent through trees towards Cascade Hut.


Derrick Hut Ski flower decoration above the entrance of Derrick Hut - Aug 11. This hut is located on Swindlers Spur near Mt Loch.


Skiing on the Rolling Grounds Skiing on the Rolling Grounds - Sept 08. This area above Guthega extends north to Dicky Cooper Bogong and provides an extensive area to explore on skis.


Snowgum A snowgum on the trail between Perisher and Blue Cow - Jul 96.


Overlooking Leatherbarrel Creek Skiers overlooking Leatherbarrel Creek - Oct 92. Leatherbarrel Creek is south of Mt Kosciuszko and provides very steep terrain for the experts (not me).


At Three Mile Dam
Snowcamp at Three Mile Dam near Mt Selwyn - Jul 03.


Watsons Crags Skiers on Watson's Crags - Oct 96. This ridge provides excellent views into the Geehi Valley and towards Victoria.


Skiing of Broken Dam Hut Skiing off the roof of Broken Dam Hut after heavy snowfalls - Aug 95. This ski slope is very short!


Pryors Hut Skiers having lunch at Pryors Hut - Jul 00. This hut is situated below Mt Gingera in the Brindabellas and is a good ski destination through beautiful snowgum forest.


Skiing on Three Mile Dam Skiing on thin ice at Three Mile Dam - Jul 05.


Near Dainers Gap Looking towards Lake Jindabyne - Sept 92. From Dainers Gap there is a short easy ski along the Thompson's Plain trail and out to the edge of the plateau at Pretty Point that provides a great view of the Crackenback Valley and Lake Jindabyne.


View from The Horn summit On the summit of The Horn, the highest point on Mt Buffalo - Aug 04. An easy ski up the Horn Road and a short climb to the summit provides great views of the Buffalo Plateau and the Victorian Alps.


Camp on Swampy Plains River Snow camping next to the Swampy Plains River - Oct 02. This area south of Mt Kosciuszko and close to Leatherbarrel Creek has great slopes and is a good base to explore the southern end of the Main Range.


Skiers crossing Snowy River Skiers crossing a snowbridge over the Snowy River below Charlotte Pass - Nov 92. Once the snow bridges disappear the only alternative is an icy river crossing to reach the slopes leading up onto the Main Range.


Toilet at Broken Dam Hut Toilet at Broken Dam Hut after a week of snowfalls - Aug 95. Most of it is buried under about 2 metres of snow.


Flying Fox at Farm Creek Crossing Farm Creek by flying fox - Oct 96. Skiers who go up the Snowy River valley from Guthega used to have to undergo this ordeal to avoid a cold river crossing, but a bridge has now been built next to the flying fox.


Mt Kosciuszko in winter The summit of Mt Kosciuszko in mid winter - Jun 93. The summit obelisk is covered in about 8 feet of rime. The rime occurs when supercooled cloud droplets driven by the wind hit a solid object.


Mt Townsend Summit View Looking north from the summit of Mt Townsend, Australia's second highest peak, towards Alice Rawson Peak and Mt Jagungal - Nov 97. This same view was painted by Eugene Von Guerard in the 1860's and a copy of this painting is also shown for comparison purposes.


Other Useful Skiing Links:

[Canberra Cross Country Ski Club] [Main Range Weather Forecast]

[Ski.com.au] [NSW Nordic Ski Club] [Richard's Thredbo Report]

Contact "alanlevy at pcug dot org dot au" for more information.

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Page last modified on Monday 6 January 2014