All Time At Thredbo: Great Snow No People!

OK, 14 million and counting Aussies don’t want to hear this, but it is all time at Thredbo – great snow and no people!

For those who can go, this has to be among the best peak season skiing ever at Thredbo. We just smashed it non-stop Monday skiing straight on the lifts and ripping fast lap after fast lap.

Despite our best efforts there were so few people out that the snowmaking and grooming stayed good till late morning.

I have skied Thredbo since 1983. To be out mid-season in late July with no lift lines is just crazy. I’ve never seen it this quiet in 38 years.

Skiing empty run at Thredbo
Empty runs, no lift lines all day, how good is Thredbo now? © Owain Price / snowaction.com.au

While the Greater Sydney lockdown stays in place and interstate travel is off the agenda from the rest of the country, anyone living close who can still go – especially Canberra based skiers – should just drop everything and go ski Thredbo

Hopefully the NSW government’s switch to a stricter lockdown, after getting nowhere with lockdown lite, will work and normality can return there. You wouldn’t bet on that happening till well into August at the earliest though.

Meantime, as long as the Snowy Mountains remain open, it is an incredible opportunity to max you ski time.

Thredbo has by a fair margin Australia’s longest ski runs, and when you can hit them with no waiting you can rack up a massive amount of vertical in a couple of hours.

I certainly haven’t skied anything like as much in a day there since I organised the ‘Max Vert Challenge’ and we skied non-stop all day back in 1995. That was with lift priority.

We could have done similar this week without it. We did 6 laps, 3360m vert in no time at all. Normally that would involve lift line time, and you would likely move on to wherever you could to stay ahead of crowds.

After testing our hardware – Kastle MX88 skis and Kessler boards (stay tuned for the reviews), both just built for high speed charging – we went looking for fun lines and windblown all over the place.

There were no lift queues anywhere. It was always straight on the lift at the Basin, Antons, Gunbarrel, Merrits Gondy, Karels, everywhere the same empty story.

After missing last season at Thredbo completely due to COVID number restrictions, it was great to finally try out the Gondola. There is something special about a gondy! So great Australia finally has one. Happy to mask up to ride it.

Even better, it has opened up the mountain with more options. We had fun bombing Dream Run for example, which now with snowmaking is a great sheltered option when it socks in/blows too hard higher up.

We found nice wind-blown lines off an empty Antons t-bar, in the Basin, and out wide from Karels.

Dave ‘Cappo’ Tweedie off Karels © snowaction.com.au

By 2:30PM, after ringing the frozen bell at the top, we got over to Funnelweb via Balls-to-the-Wall and my quads simply seized up. Bad choice of last run. Too much skiing!

I can’t remember when I have reached that point in a non-backcountry day at Thredbo since the long ago Max Vert Challenge day.

Have a look for yourselves on the live cams how crowded it is, or rather isn’t:

“We flew down here Saturday, it was bottomless” Pete chimed in helpfully, as he watched my grunting progress down the firmly rutted Funnelweb bumps. The advantage of living there and being first. He’s out again sending me clips as I write this.

He rated Saturday one of his best weekend pow days ever, maybe the best ever crowd wise with almost no waiting.

“Normally if you got there early enough to be on the first chairs then it would be a 40 minute wait for your second lap, but we were straight on again” he says.

Mr Dahu downunder, Dave ‘Cappo’ Tweedie, was also out with us for the day on Monday. He spent several seasons as a ski bum at Thredbo back in the 1990s, returning with his wife and three kids to manage a lodge there this winter. He can’t remember so few people out in peak season either.

Riding Antons T-Bar Thredbo
Straight on at Antons © snowaction.com.au

It seems like most Jindabyne area locals opted for Epic Australia Passes, so the Perisher road has been busy on weekends despite the pandemic lockdowns, Thredbo far less so. Of course it’s not too shabby on the mountain there either, and way quieter without the Sydney crowd.

Lockdowns are a huge hit for local businesses big and small. Ripcurl Thredbo and Jindabyne owner Reggae Ellis told us they are 40% down on a normal season, so far.

Accommodation providers are facing 60% or greater losses. So far.

There are plenty of good deals, though you really want to check the fine print and only book somewhere giving a COVID refund if you do get caught out by changing restrictions.

Canberra and south east NSW are within reasonable day trip distance, and plenty of tickets are available on the Thredbo website. They also have some specials for the Thredbo Alpine Hotel and apartments.

It’s snowing on and off for the next few days too, peaking over the weekend, so plenty of pow times ahead.

Of course conditions vary from hour to hour, never mind day to day, but there is plenty of snow top to bottom and the room to spread around and take advantage according to your ability level of whatever you get. The actual snow will vary, “all time” or not, but the lack of people is a given – they can’t get there!

Lapping the Kosciuszko Express straight on works for us for starters. That is all time – well, all of the last 38 years this time of year in my experience.

For lunch, aprés and anywhere indoors you need to mask up – including for the Gondy.

It is a unique opportunity if you can go. Enjoy. Sorry if you can’t!

Thredbo are doing their best to deliver the best product to as many as they are allowed to, as Stuart Diver, General Manager, Thredbo Resort, points out.

“Like most businesses across NSW, the 2021 snow season has been impacted by the recent Government mandated lockdowns.  Thredbo Resort continues to welcome guests for skiing and snowboarding from areas that are not under current stay at home orders. 

“The health and safety of Thredbo’s guests and teams is our highest priority.  Thredbo is operating under its comprehensive COVID-19 Operating Plan that has been developed under the guidance of NSW Health to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests, our people and our community.  

“To help keep our guests, employees and the wider community safe this season, Thredbo asks all guests planning to visit the resort to review and adhere to the latest NSW Health orders and to stay home if they are unwell or located in a suburb under the current lockdown order.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 mandated government restrictions have impacted visitation this season.  We continue to adapt our model but we are in the hands of Government decision-making as to who we can or cannot welcome to the resort.  We are actively seeking support to ensure the viability of the NSW snow season given the economic contribution it makes to the region and to the state.”

 

Worth masking up for that hard-earned thirst © Edu Vallarroel / snowaction.com.au