All Lifts At Hotham 1st Time Since 2019!

Great news for Hotham fans and Epic Australia Pass holders as the resort fired up all lifts yesterday for the first time since 2019 – COVID being the culprit more than snow conditions.

With a great early season cover the opening of all lifts is a boon for School Holiday visitors for the 2nd week of the Victorian & Queensland holidays and first week of NSW holidays.

All lifts were back in action for the first time since COVID hit © Hotham

In a milestone moment not just for this season, but as a pivotal moment since pandemic closures, Gotcha, Keogh’s and Orchard Chairlifts opened yesterday, bringing skiers and boarders access to some of Australia’s best intermediate and advanced terrain.

It was also a great first day in the GM job for Tina Burford. 

“Our guests will love The Orchard for intermediate terrain and for thrill seekers, advanced terrain in the Extreme Zone will test their limits,” she said as she officially takes over on her return to Hotham in a career spent mostly at Perisher.

Mount Hotham Skiing Company’s VP + GM Tina Burford was born into a skiing-mad family in Australia who gave her a first pair of skis aged two.

“I learnt to ski in our backyard – without lifts,” remembers Tina. “We’d hike to the top of a farmer’s block and ski down; building jumps, cutting little twigs off bushes to setting courses – my family’s opinion was always that if there was snow, it must be skied!”

After completing business school in Austria, she took a job as a ski instructor as a way to contemplate her future career. It only solidified her opinion that her future career would have to include being part of the ski industry.

Wanting to improve her conversational English, she spent a summer working at a hotel in London, before heading back to Austria to ski instruct over winter. It was then she met a group of Australian ski instructors who talked up their home mountain: Hotham.

“I had always loved travel and the idea of seeing Australia had always intrigued me as it’s so vastly different to the lifestyle where I grew up,” said Tina. “Having an opposite season also held the promise of what I most desired: winter forever and skiing as much as possible.”

She remembers her first taxi ride from the airport after an early morning flight arrival in 1986 and noticing a young man in boardshorts with blonde hair racing down the hill with a surfboard tucked under his arm. It was exactly the life she’d envisioned.

“I didn’t carve out a life on the beach but did end up staying in Australia for good nonetheless,” said Tina, who spent five seasons at Hotham instructing, before being poached by Blue Cow and making a change of state to New South Wales.

2023 marks her 37th season in the ski industry, with 32 spent at Perisher where she has been a ski instructor, instructor trainer, Snowsports & Race Department Manager, Snowsports School Director and Resort Services Director.

A great first day at the office for new Hotham GM Tina Burford © Hotham

Her impact has influenced our resorts and business, including her leadership and oversight of the Snowsports School, Guest Services, Retail & Rentals, Ticketing & Passes, and more. She was also instrumental in leading the implementation of the RTP software at Perisher, which was fundamental to the resort’s online advanced sales strategy.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have worked in a lot of different business areas and have never been afraid to put my hand up for different opportunities and to learn so much from various challenges,” said Tina. “I’m proud to have spent my whole career in this industry.”

As well as Austria and Australia, she has also spent time working at Big White in Canada, which was affiliated with Hotham at the time she worked there, five seasons at Vail, and in Winter Park in Colorado.

Other achievements include representing Australia twice on a national demonstration team at Interski conventions and she credits her most pride in the success of the people she has trained over the years.

Her leadership style is inclusive and she listens closely to all parties before formalising a vision. She thrives on change and on supporting others on that journey.

“Change in our industry is constant and necessary,” said Tina. “It’s how we will survive and I’m excited to champion my teams and watch them shine.”

She started in her role as VP + GM at Hotham in July 2023, which is a special homecoming since she started her Australian ski industry career here in 1986.

Fans of husband Andy, who runs a legendary specialist ski boot fitting business, will have to head south to seek him out this winter.

“It’s exciting to be back at Hotham after so many years away and I have all my mentors and experiences to thank for leading me here,” said Tina. “I see so many opportunities for Hotham’s future, and for my own.”