Thanks to these ski resort activities, a trip to the snow can be a blast even if your idea of a good time doesn’t involve ski boots.
There’s more to a winter holiday than skiing and you don’t need to strap into a pair of boots and speed down a slope to enjoy the snow. From powder-dusted forests that beg to be explored to woodland critters yearning for attention and charming bartenders who craft perfect cocktails — here are six things worth a trip to the snow.
1. Enjoy good food and drinks with après skiing
It is said that to have a successful ski vacation, all you need is a hotel, chairlift and a bar, and we tend to agree. Literally translating to ‘after skiing’, this time-tested tradition of enjoying good food and drink after a day on the slopes is as much a part of skiing culture as actual skiing itself. Join in the tradition and celebrate any evening, afternoon or midday on the mountains with a drink or two in hand. This elevated affair has found a home in every high-altitude corner of the globe. And unlike the runs, a good time is not dependent on the unpredictable weather. You have worked hard, now play hard.
Recommended mountains: Most pistes lead to a collection of après-ski watering holes, but you can’t go wrong with the bustling bars found at Thredbo in New South Wales.
2. Venture off the beaten path with dogsledding
Go on an adventure like no other as you mush your own dogsledding team through awe-evoking winter vistas. Travelling by the power of several Siberian huskies, you will traverse the fresh dusting of snow and slice through towering mountains under a warm blanket —accompanied by the soft thuds of furry four-legged paws.
Recommended mountain: Led by an experienced guide, you can venture off the beaten path and discover the special bond between human and husky on an unforgettable experience in Victoria's Mt Buller.
3. Fun for all ages with tobogganing
Prepare to give yourself over to the mercy of gravity as you hurtle brakeless down a dedicated hill atop a toboggan. Originally used as transportation, tobogganing and tubing have since been adapted into an adrenalin-inducing winter activity.
Recommended mountain: Good fun for all ages, this rite of passage is best enjoyed at the safe and sheltered location of Possum Flat, Mount Hotham in Victoria, on a fresh dusting of powder. At the bottom, you’ll also find plenty of space to build snowmen and snow castles and engage in snowball fights.
4. Get your pulse racing on a snowmobile
If you are looking for the ultimate adventure through snow-covered pastures, dramatic valleys, and frozen peaks, join a qualified guide on an exhilarating snowmobile tour. Throw on a helmet, take to the thick blanket of snow and prepare to blast through more powder in a day than in a lifetime of skiing.
Recommended mountain: With hundreds of kilometres of trails and fresh powdery terrain to explore, opt to tackle the vast back-country playground of Falls Creek — from Mt McKay and the Summit to the Ruined Castle and Road. Are you ready to rev your engines and get your pulse racing?
5. Explore the unique winter wilderness with wildlife spotting
Whether you are an avid photographer or an animal lover, winter is a fantastic season to spot wildlife. With the leaves fallen and a thick white blanket of snow covering the landscape, now is the time to brave the cold and witness magnificent creatures in their natural habitats. Better still, you won’t need a superzoom lens to appreciate the beauty.
Recommended mountain: Home to one of Tasmania’s two premier ski fields, Ben Lomond National Park is a stark, treeless landscape dominated by an alpine plateau over 1,500 metres high. On a wildlife-spotting hike, you may stumble across Bennett’s wallabies, wombats, pademelons, and Forester kangaroos, as well as potoroos, echidnas, and platypus.
6. Treat yourself at a resort spa
Looking for a welcome break from the cold? Swap on-slope action for rest and rejuvenation at one of the many spa retreats across Australia’s ski resorts. Deep-tissue massages are geared to treat sore muscles, while facials target skin dehydrated by the high altitude. Take pampering to the next level with private spa suites, beautifying rituals, anti-aging skincare and hot-stone treatments. Add personalised packages that make the most of local mineral salts and scrubs, and you might spend the rest of your vacation inside.
Recommended mountain: After an exhilarating day on the slopes, hunker down in one of Perisher Ski Resort’s peaceful spa havens for some renewing downtime in New South Wales. Tend to ravaged skin with the latest skincare, promote natural healing with intensive destressing rituals or improve flexibility with gentle yoga.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out Australia's Best Ski Resorts.