Dead Horse Gap Delivers Free Snow at Thredbo

Free snow at Thredbo sounds too good to be true, but it is if you drive 5km past Thredbo to Dead Horse Gap – our Snowboard Editor and long time winter village local Peter Wunder has the downlow on getting the best of it. Which he has been doing in spades this awesome 2022 season.

Lone snowboarder hiking high above Dead Horse Gap
No crowds, no need to pay for a pass © Peter Wunder & Friends

There are two main options from Dead Horse Gap. 

Option one at Dead Horse Gap starts from the bottom car park called Cascades, and the trail starts across the road from the car park.

Cross the bridge over the creek and start walking up the ridge. There are usually tracks to follow so you can’t go wrong. 

Follow the ridge up a gentle slope for around 3km, it’s a fairly easy walk, and you’ll go past one of the old Ramshead lift chairs which has been placed as a seat for summer. In winter you may only see the top of the seat sticking out. The ridge will take you into the top of the Golf Course ski area on the side of Thredbo Resort. From there you can head diagonally left to North Ramshead peak which provides a great few turns down the side.

Pick the side you ski down depending on where the wind has blown the snow. There’s usually always one bad side and one great side for you to enjoy. 

This also provides easy access over the back to Leather Barrel and Twin Humps for more adventures. Check out Cootapatamba Hut on the way.

Pete takes the “Santa” entry option at Cootapatamba Hut © Peter Wunder & Friends

Continue skiing down for a 500m run to the base of Hanging Rock, which is a suspended boulder 15m wide, 10m deep, 3m thick and hanging 2 to 4m in the air depending on the height of the snow base. A short steep 200m hike will get you up to the rock for a great photo opportunity either under it or on top if you can clamber up there.

Hanging Rock is a must see at Dead Horse Gap
Gotta get the shot at Hanging Rock © Peter Wunder & Friends

Once your photo shoot is done go under the rock and ski down the other side for a 3km run through open terrain weaving through gums trees. If it’s snowed more than 5cm recently, or the wind has been blowing snow in, this will be one of the best runs you’ll ever experience in Thredbo because hardly anyone gets out there so the snow just sits waiting for you.

A lot of people call this area Ultra World. 

You’ll end up at Bogong Creek, which you’ll need to cross. Or you can ski across if there’s been enough snow for it to be filled in. There are rocks to help you across and we’ve never been unable to cross, including our one friend who managed to have a quick dip on the way over. The creek does get higher and faster towards the end of September when there’s more snow melt which can make it a little more difficult so take your time and take care. 

It’s a steep 300m haul up from the creek back to the ridge you walked up earlier. Once you’re up it’s a cruisy 1km ski back down to the car park.

Fresh Powder day in 'Ultraworld' above Deadh Horse Gap
Deep in Ultraworld 18/08/2022 © Peter Wunder

Even if I am skiing in the resort for the day, if there’s powder around I’ll try to add this into our day for some long fresh turns away from the crowds. If you’re walking up from the car park on a ski free mission the whole trip will take 2 to 3 hours return to your car.

If you access from Thredbo Resort it’s approximately a 40 minute walk from the top of Karels T-Bar. Quite often we’ll ski in the resort on a powder day and finish with this run to top off an epic day in the mountains.

Crossing Bogong Creek, Dead Horse Gap ski touring
Take care crossing Bogong Creek © Peter Wunder

Option 2 starts from the top car park, called Dead Horse Gap car park, which is 200m up the road from Cascades car park.

The walk starts opposite the car park and heads up a similar ridge that is well used so will likely have tracks for you to follow. The walk goes straight up in a line from the car park 3 or 4km at an easier pace than Option 1, and will take you straight to the top of South Ramshead. On the top of this peak there’s a triangulation station which is a fixed point for surveying.

This is a perfect option for a windy day because it’s well protected on the way up and at the top there’s usually a spot to hide out of the wind, enjoy the view and have lunch.  

The walk has some of the widest gum trees in the area, with peeling bark showing striped colours, some of the most beautiful authentic Australian terrain you’ll ever see. 

Take your run down exactly the way you walked up. The first quarter is fun with some steeper sections, the middle section plateaus and the bottom section back to the car can be fun if you’re early and the walking tracks haven’t ruined all the good snow. This round trip takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Enjoy!

Sunrise at Dead Horse Gap car park
Get there early if you can © Peter Wunder

For more great shots & clips out here from this season check the Snow Action socials.