Which was Australia’s best ski resort 2020?
In COVID and bushfire crisis times the selection was even more limited than usual – shout out to Selwyn which got smashed by the fires so badly they won’t be back in action till 2021.
But when the PR release from Thredbo lobbed in this morning that they had won Best Australian Ski Resort 2020 at the World Ski Awards we thought it was time to revisit the question.
The ‘World Ski Awards’ are run by the World Travel Awards™, who since starting those in 1993 have added similar themed World’s Best Awards for Ski, Golf, Spas and MICE. They have grown these into a worldwide promotional network with hosted awards events all over the place.
Participants in a category pay a nomination fee. For those who win, there are ‘Winners Resources’ —
World Ski Awards winners can use their achievement to spearhead their vital marketing and PR campaigns for the 12 months ahead. To help, we have developed a range of exclusive WSA promotional options.
Which is helpful for bragging rights, as Thredbo are today.
Actual category numbers can be tiny – for example, Australia’s Best Ski Hotel features just 4 nominees. Pension Grimus at Buller rocked that one again, which is excellent for the Grimus family as they continue the great work of the late and legendary Hans Grimus there.
Australia’s Best Ski Resort featured the Big 5 as nominees. With Falls and Hotham essentially shut for the season thanks to Victoria’s COVID-19 situation/lockdowns, that leaves Perisher and Buller as contenders along with Thredbo.
See our10c worth below, let’s hear yours – vote your preference now
Results are in and it’s pretty decisive – 63% of you voted for Perisher
Snow Action team Australia’s Best Ski Resort 2020
Perisher had hands down the best overall operation this 2020 season.
- They respected the loyalty of their Epic Australia Pass holders, and gave them priority access
- Other tickets only went on sale as safe operating numbers permitted
- For the dates with limitations earlier in the season they staggered booking dates to avoid overloading the booking systems
- On the mountain everything ran as close to normal as possible.
- They finished with a 104 day season, not bad at all considering the enforced late start.
All things considered, they are our clear winner.
It was a tough time for Thredbo. They did their best, but also made avoidable mistakes.
Thredbo did well to operate, the gondola is awesome, but they had too many avoidable customer relation fails.
- They chose not to honour season passes, choosing to maximise revenue instead with their day pass only system.
- This was compounded by the decision to have an open slather all-season pre book system, originally slated to go live at midnight. They did switch it to a morning start, but totally predictable online overload inevitably ensued.
- The snowmaking failed big time in peak season. The attempted fix also failed. Back up portable snowguns were bought in as a stop-gap measure, but they had nowhere near the capacity of the normal system, so conditions were at the mercy of natural snow on key areas
- The resort chose not to officially announce the snowmaking situation, beyond answering queries on social media
- Conditions got rapidly worse in September. Eventually, they finally dropped day pass rates, then not long after simply shut. People who had made bookings months prior were left in limbo.
How that fits with the World Ski Awards “global initiative to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence in ski tourism” eludes us. Being upfront about the snowmaking situation and allowing people to change plans as a result would have been true excellence in customer service to celebrate.
On the bright side, Thredbo did open Australia’s first dedicated ski gondola, a huge investment that greatly improves access to the Merrits side of the mountain.
Buller get the gong for customer service
For a total contrast in customer service and attitudes, Buller’s example is outstanding. Their “you choose” refund policy for Season Membership holders is the best bit of customer loyalty we can remember. Only the short season they were forced to have stops them topping our team poll as Australia’s Best Ski Resort 2020.
- Honoured Season Memberships
- Did best to open despite the Victorian restrictions – after Melbourne went into lockdown again Buller stayed open for local/regional visitors for as long as they possibly could
- They re-opened at the end of the season with a ‘bonus reward day’ for Season Pass holders who could make it
- Their refund policy let the customer choose how much value they got from their 2020 pass, not try and allocate usage percentages and the like as mostly has happened around the ski World
- They kept making snow while open despite the full knowledge it would likely not be for long
For the full list of World Ski Awards categories and winners check their site here