Buller honours season passes is one of the best pieces of news so far this crazy COVID 2020 snow season downunder.
Our bet is that Vail Resorts will do the same for the signature Epic Australia Pass product for Hotham, Falls and Perisher.
We have included below the latest from Buller on operating procedures for the season in place so far.
Saturday 6 June would have been Day 1 of the season without COVID-19 wreaking havoc. Or not.
“The snowmaking is so good now we could probably have opened a week or more ago” Buller Mountain Manager Nick Reeves told Snow Action today, “Despite the bushfires we have worked flat out over summer to get the new installations done including coverage on Standard run and the lower section of Men’s Downhill.”
We asked him how much difference the two snow factories were making to the overall equation.
“They make an amazing base! It’s just so good for the tillers on the groomers, so dense. We can pretty much guarantee snow now” he enthuses. It’s effectively the consisteny of glacial ice – which doesn’t sound great when we are all dreaming of powder but it’s the dense mix that supplies a base than is topped up from the regular snowguns and whatever nature delivers (or doesn’t). It also survives the inevitable rain events a lot better than normal natural or man-made snow.
So Buller can bank on a long season now, which will give season pass holders the chance to get great value from their purchase. The season will kick off with restrictions, that will hopefully be eased as COVID-19 advice from the government allows.
Here is the latest detail from Buller on procedures as they stand:
UPDATED: 3.30PM 4 JUNE 2020
Mt Buller Mt Stirling Winter – COVID-19 and the 2020 snow season
Mt Buller Mt Stirling is working to opening the ski area from 22 June, conditions permitting.
The resort has been working with government and industry to prepare a COVID SAFE operating plan to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff, guests and the wider community as restrictions ease and we can enjoy snowsports again.
It is going to be different this winter as we all adapt to the constraints of coronavirus.
We will limit guest volumes in resort to maintain social distancing, there will be rigid cleaning and sanitisation protocols in place, our international staff will sadly not be travelling to work with us this year, and our local mountain staff numbers will be reduced. This means the full range of products and services will be reduced in 2020 to adapt to the necessary restrictions.
You will have a lot of questions, and this season is going to be different to ‘normal’ so we’ve compiled as many answers as we can here.
As plans are finalised details will be rolled out here so please bookmark this link and check back. We also encourage you to sign up to our news emails.
The Australian Government is asking us all to download the COVIDSafe app as they ease restrictions.
You can find more information and download it here.
We’re taking the following steps to protect our guests, staff and resort community.
Every winter the health and safety of everyone in resort is our top priority. This is even more critical this year as we adapt to the challenge of coronavirus (COVID-19). We’re continuing to operate within the Government’s regulations in response to the COVID-19 situation
Everyone in resort is required to follow all directions for physical distancing and hygiene, our collective safety counts on it. These include:
- Limiting guests in resort each day so that we can provide services while maintain appropriate social distancing. All guests must pre-purchase lift passes prior to arrival online and register their details.
- Limiting daily resort entry and parking passes to manage visitor numbers with pre-booking essential (permit holders excepted).
- Spacing the lift lines to keep to the 1.5m between each person. “Tip to tail” will help us keep a safe distance on the slopes.
- Loading a maximum of three passengers per six-seater, two per quad chair, one per triple chair and one per T-bar to maintain physical distance on the lifts. Family groups will be able to ride together.
- We’re commencing the season with just private lessons. Beginners are strongly recommended to book a lesson to get started safely.
- Most venues in resort will be cashless for contactless payment.
- We’re adding clear signage and markers around resort to help everyone maintain the 1.5m spacing and will limit occupancy in all venues in line with regulations.
- We’re installing physical barriers and markers at counters and queues to provide everyone space and protection.
- Public events and gatherings of large groups will not be happening this season for obvious safety reasons.
- We’ve closed indoor facilities that bring groups of people together including the Buller Air Zone and Buller Kids Crèche.
- There will be rigorous hygiene and sanitisation practices across the resort including the following:
- sanitisation stations throughout the resort.
- procedures to sanitise high use zones including chairlifts and rental equipment.
- promoting best practice hygiene protocols amongst staff and guests.
- stringent and increased cleaning procedures for resort facilities.
- We’re asking guests and employees to stay home if they’re unwell.
The Australian Department of Health’s Guidelines are here. Please take a moment to make sure you have read and understood them for your protection.
HOW DO I BOOK AND PLAN A VISIT THIS WINTER?
Book all lift passes and resort/parking passes online, prior to arrival
Lift passes must be pre-purchased online at mtbuller.com.au.
- Lift pass sales will be capped daily to manage appropriate numbers of skiers and snowboarders permitted on the ski area each day. You will need to plan ahead like never before.
- Currently lift pass sales are paused while the inventory and limits are established. We will announce when online sales resume – following the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
- We anticipate initially only multi-day passes will be offered. Based on sales/capacity 1 day passes may be then progressively be released online 48 hours ahead.
- Resort entry and parking passes will also be capped to daily limits (permit holders excepted) and must be pre-purchased online.
This comes into effect from midday on Friday 5 June for the Queen’s Birthday Weekend.
Can I book a visit over the June long weekend?
In accordance with the Victorian travel guidelines valid from 1 June 2020 overnight stays are permitted. Accommodation bookings will be essential and can be made at mtbuller.com.au. Please be aware limited accommodation venues are operating.
We strongly recommend anyone booking accommodation for the long weekend to immediately book resort entry/parking here.
Resort entry charges and parking procedures come into effect from midday on Friday 5 June. Daily limits for cars to Mt Buller and Mt Stirling will apply and pre-booking is essential. Book ahead here.
Season Parking Permit and Village Access Permit holders do not need to pre-book and have unrestricted access separate to the daily limits. Permits must be clearly displayed.
All cars entering the resorts (including permit holders) MUST stop at the Mirimbah Gate where passenger details will be collected for safety and tracing purposes. A solution is being developed so these details can be provided online for each and every visit.
Note that the ski area and tobogganing at Mt Buller and Mt Stirling will NOT be operating on the long weekend and there will be very limited food venues and retail spaces at Mt Buller open prior to the planned season commencement from 22 June. Mt Stirling will have public toilets open for the long weekend but no café or other services.
Check the What’s On for updates which will be posted ahead of the long weekend as detailed operations are confirmed.
Ride Share (formerly taxis) will provide transfers for guests and luggage from the overnight car parks to the village from Friday 5 June. Guests will need to load and unload their own luggage Book ahead.
Car Park shuttle buses (for guests without luggage) will commence from the car parks from Saturday 6 June and will operate with physical spacing and hygiene procedures in place. Please follow all directions and maintain a safe distance when using this service.
At this stage Intra-village shuttles are not expected to operate this season as to minimise the risk of virus transmission.
Limited Ski & Snowboard School lessons will be available this season
We’re commencing the season with private lessons only. Beginners are strongly recommended to book a lesson to get started safely.
Equipment rental will be available
Skis, snowboard, boot and helmet rental will be available. All rental equipment will be cleaned and sanitised after use.
All outlets will operate in compliance with Government’s physical distancing requirements.
Signage, floor markers and distance indicators will help everyone abide by the guidelines which are compulsory for everyone’s safety.
Is skiing or boarding okay without lesson for a beginner?
Mt Buller strongly recommends first timers and beginners start with a lesson for safety. Private lessons will be available for pre-purchase after the Queen’s Birthday weekend, and are recommended.
I have pre-booked accommodation. Will an allocation of lift passes be reserved for us?
Guests who have pre-purchased accommodation on mtbuller.com.au will be alerted ahead of the lift passes being made available. If you have made an accommodation booking via other channels please ask your provider for advice on securing lift passes.
Do I need to pre-book resort entry and parking or can I just come on the day?
All visitors MUST pre-book and pay for resort entry and parking online BEFORE they visit so the resort can manage the capacity limits required to meet the Government requirements.
Resort entry procedures will commence from the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Pre-book your entry here.
Season Parking Permit and Village Access Permit holders do not need to pre-book and can anticipate unrestricted access separate to the daily limits. Permits must be clearly displayed.
All cars entering resort (including permit holders) MUST stop at the Mirimbah Gate where passenger details will be collected for safety and tracing purposes. A solution is being developed so that permit holders can provide these details online for each and every visit.
How do I get a transfer up to the village from the car park?
Ride Share (formerly taxis) will provide transfers for guests and luggage from the overnight car parks to the village from Friday 5 June. Book ahead.
Car Park shuttle buses (for guests without luggage) will operate during the day from the car parks from Saturday 6 June and will operate with physical spacing and hygiene procedures in place. Please follow all directions and maintain a safe distance when using this service.
At this stage Intra-village shuttles are not expected to operate this season as to minimise the risk of virus transmission. Check all transport information here and book ahead for a smooth journey.
BTAG – pick up options
Your B-TAG (lift pass) or Season Membership will be available for collection from Village Ticket Office/Saleyards in resort from 22 June. Strict queuing procedures will be in place to ensure physical distancing and we appreciate your patience while our teams work to deliver a safe and efficient service under these new guidelines.
I have lift pass benefits via my pre-purchased Mountain Collective and /or Ikon Pass. How do I claim my pass benefits?
Mt Buller will honour Mountain Collective and Ikon Passes this winter 2020. We will provide updates for the booking process for these passes soon. Please note, due to daily capacity restraints in 2020, Mt Buller cannot guarantee your preferred day of skiing or snowboarding.
WHAT CHANGES CAN I EXPECT THIS WINTER?
Ski lifts to operate (a little later than usual) from 22 June 2020
We’re stoked to be planning to get open for skiing and snowboarding from 22 June 2020, conditions permitting.
To join us you must pre-purchase lift passes prior to arrival. 2020 Season Members passes are valid as usual from opening of the lifts.
Currently pass sales are paused while the inventory and limits are established. We will announce when online sales resume – following the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Due to reduced staffing and guests this season the lift operations will be adapted to provide efficient lifting with a scaled operation. It is anticipated up to 11 lifts will operate this season as conditions permit.
Please note tobogganing is not currently permitted in resort and will only be available once the Snow Play Parks are open and staffed for obvious safety reasons.
Will I be able to use cash in resort?
Most operators in resort will be providing cashless/contactless payment to ensure a safer experience for guests and staff.
Activities and services that will be closed
We are finalising the precise details of operating this modified snow season but can confirm the following activities will NOT be on offer when we open. We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt if this changes.
- Group lessons, Bunyips and Buller Kids Crèche
- Buller Air Zone
- Terrain parks
- Twilight Sessions on Bourke Street and entertainment in the Village Square
- School holidays activities
- Events that bring together large groups of people such as opening weekend fireworks, Pond Skim and 80’s Day
What accommodation limitations will there be? Can lodges and hostels open?
- Full service hotels and self-contained accommodation are able to open. Guests can book through Buller Holidays, online via mtbuller.com.au or direct.
- All other lodging such as lodges and hostels are developing their plans in accordance with Government COVID-19 restrictions. Contact lodges directly for updates.
Will restaurants be open for dining in and takeaway?
- Yes, most Mt Buller food and beverage outlets are planning to open from 22 June subject to official Government advice and physical distancing limits. Please contact restaurants directly to make a reservation.
- The café at Mt Stirling is proposed to open after 22 June, conditions permitting. Check mtstirling.com.au for details and hours.
- We will update the What’s On at mtbuller.com.au and share updates in resort as operations and hours are confirmed. Some venues are adapting to offer more take away and provide flexible options around their new spacing limits.
- Queen’s Birthday long weekend – very few food outlets are open, so plan to self-cater. The Buller Grocer is open. No café operations at Mt Stirling until the official season commencement.
Will Mt Buller be hosting on-mountain or après events this year?
- To comply with physical distancing requirements we are not planning any events to bring large groups of people together.
- This will be revised as the season progresses.
SEASON MEMBER INFORMATION
Will I be able to use my 2020 Season Membership and Season Parking Permit?
Mt Buller is honouring 2020 Season Memberships for lift access which will be valid from lift opening and can anticipate unlimited skiing and boarding as operations allow.
Season Parking Permit holders can also anticipate normal use of their access passes, although will be required to stop at the Mirimbah Gate on arrival to provide their passenger information and have their pass clearly displayed.
NB: For the best guide to Mt Stirling check our feature from Mr Backcountry Festival Cam Walker here.
Will operations change at Mt Stirling this winter?
Following the recent Victorian government announcements camping and visits at Mt Stirling are permissible from 1 June. More information is available here.
From midday Friday 5 June resort entry charges and strict caps on visitor numbers will apply.
Please be aware the winter seasonal road closures for 4WD access come into effect > more info
From 22 June Mt Stirling will open for visitors with physical distancing guidelines in place.
Details on operations of the Café, Alpine Camp, rental and ski school lesson offering will be confirmed prior to the proposed season opening at mtstirling.com.au
REFUNDS AND CANCELLATION POLICY
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Buller Holidays will provide a cancellation, change of dates, credit forward or full refund on all prepaid resort entry, accommodation, lift, lesson, rental products and other pre-paid services and activities if;
- You or a family member (or travelling companion) contract COVID 19 and are unable to travel on your intended dates; OR
- The Mt Buller resort is closed due to COVID 19; OR
- Government policies due to COVID 19 prevent you from travelling on your intended dates;
- Your transport is cancelled or disrupted due to COVID 19 preventing you from arriving in resort for your travel dates.
- If your circumstance meets any of the criteria listed above, please contact the Mt Buller reservations team to request a reservation change, or cancellation.
Access the policy here
Please contact Buller Holidays on 1800 810 200 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you booked via mtbuller.com.au or the contact information on your booking if you made it directly. Look after yourself and one another and we will continue to share updates on this page.
COVID-19 CANCELLATION POLICY
MORE USEFUL INFORMATION
The Victorian Dept of Health & Human Services has developed detailed FAQs being regularly updated as guidance changes: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19
If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days – 1800 675 398