No lift pass? Try the cross country ski alternative at Perisher

The cross country ski alternative is a great option if you didn’t lock in an Epic Australia Pass or get the limited other passes on sale for Perisher.

XC, skinny or cross-country skiing is available with gear, lessons and guiding right from the carpark at Perisher – from Wilderness Sports shop and XC ski school inside the National Parks building. Steve Leeder reports it’s great for families too.

Cross Country skiing at Perisher
Skinny skiing is fun for the kids too © Steve Leeder

So you booked your lodge at the end of your holiday last year ’cause it was the best time ever and you wanted to do it all over again. Then all of a sudden the ‘Rona happens and we have hand sanitiser all over the place and we can’t stand more than 1.5 metres next to anyone.  What does that mean for your epic ski holiday?

With social distancing restricting just how many people are even allowed to go up the ski hill there are a lot of people that have accommodation booked at the snow but can’t get lift tickets. So what do you do? Cancel your reservations and loose your mega deposit? Na, that doesn’t sound like a good idea at all.

This year is the year to try new things so enter the cross country ski.

Why you say? WHY NOT!

This past week My girl friend and our rag tag crew of little monsters came to the snow to visit me and we couldn’t get passes to go up the hill, but I was determined to show them a good time. Oh and it was my littlest one’s first time ever being in the snow (I know, mega sin right there, but that’s a whole other story!)

My plan is too hit the flat trails on the “other” side of the parking lot up at Perisher. We are going cross country skiing.

Cross country is something that heaps of people think is pretty boring but once you give it a go you find out its totally the opposite.

We had all ages and opposite ends of the exercise beam, but cross country kinda brought us all onto a level playing field. 

Family go for a cross country ski at Perisher
More fun and better for you than that games console kids © Steve Leeder

We popped into the Wilderness Sports shop up at Perisher and hired out all the gear we needed to get us out onto the trails. I probably should have taken them up on their offer to send an instructor out with us, but we just wanted to give it a go on our own.

For the first while we spent our time right near the Nordic Shelter, just getting the hang of it which was fun on its own. The “sprint loop” was a great little practice area for us and got their hearts beating with excitement on the downhill section. It was so awesome to see our little man Finnlay just keep trying. He, like a whole bunch of other kids, spends a bit more time in front of the game system than outdoors, but he was out there really having a go, and what I was so stoked about was that he kept trying and he got there. He made it down the hill and back up, so that was a big effort and achievement.

Next we put a bunch of snacks into our pockets and headed out on a little bit longer loop. About half way along we found a great big boulder to relax on and eat up all our snacks.

Now relax is a bit of a stretch, we had some jumping off the boulder and a few snowball fights and even a few snow angels, before heading back down the long down hill back to base camp.

Cross country family ski race at Perisher
Let’s race dad .. © Leeder family

At the end of the day, while sitting in the lodge with hot chocolates and other yummy things, the kids couldn’t stop talking about how much fun their day was and if they could do it again next year on our next trip to the snow together. Sounds to me like a win for everyone.  

If you want to try cross country skiing out with your family why not give Emma and Jacob a call at the Wilderness Sports shop in the National Parks Building in Perisher to book in a day or two, and maybe take them up on the idea to book a lesson – with some correct technique tips from the start you will minimise your effort and maximise your fun.

For those looking for more downhill style action without a lift pass telemark and AT (Alpine Touring) intro lessons and gear are also available (tele and AT rental from Wilderness sports Nuggets Crossing main shop) – there is amazing terrain for that also on Mt Wheatley opposite Mt Perisher.

More info/rentals/XC lessons contact Wilderness Sports

cross country ski along the road past Perisher Village
Selfie time © Steve Leeder