What Perisher and Thredbo social distancing looks like in 2020

Due to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic many Australian holiday destinations have either closed, or look & work very differently this year – the NSW ski fields is no exception, & has adapted to stay open – & stay safe!

Social distancing at the NSW Skifields

We’ve just spent a week each at the two top NSW ski resorts – Thredbo and Perisher Ski Resorts. Social distancing measures have thankfully enabled the NSW 2020 ski season to go ahead during the Coronavirus pandemic, but it’s a very different experience on the ski and snowboard slopes this year.

Perisher Valley social distancing

Planning a ski trip in 2020 – even if it’s just for the day or weekend – now requires some essential prior arrangements. That said, it’s still absolutely possible to enjoy a great 2020 NSW ski holiday, and help support the snow businesses that are working to stay open and welcome you during these unprecedented Coronavirus times.

Here are our tips on what you need to know before you go – both in planning your ski holiday, and in following the ski resorts rules whilst you are there.

Allow for delays at both Thredbo & Perisher ski resorts

Socially distanced ski queues at Perisher Ski Resort

Socially distanced ski queues at Perisher Ski Resort

Expect delays as par for the course everywhere during your NSW ski fields holiday this year. From driving in and parking, to longer wait-times for shuttle buses or the Skitube, to lining up for the ski lifts or waiting to get into a restaurant. Patience is key. Whilst all the changes may seem confusing, or even annoying at first, it’s really no major hardship in the big scheme of things. After all, many snow-loving Victorians have no ski season at all this year due to Melbourne’s Stage 4 Coronavirus lockdowns. We NSW skiers and snowboarders are very lucky to have a 2020 ski season to enjoy.

Socially distanced ski lift queues at Thredbo Village Ski Resort

Socially distanced ski lift queues at Thredbo Village Ski Resort

No time to read? Watch our Perisher social distancing video to see how it all works

How Thredbo and Perisher social distancing affects your holiday

Perisher mandatory face coverings

The biggest difference between the two major NSW ski resorts this year, is that Perisher has a compulsory face covering requirement, and Thredbo doesn’t.

Perisher has a face covering rule this 2020 ski season

Perisher has a face covering rule this 2020 ski season

This rule means anyone over 12 years of age must wear a face mask, or have a scarf, neck warmer, balaclava or similar face covering pulled up over their nose and mouth at all times at the Perisher Ski Resort.

Face coverings aren’t required at Thredbo

Face coverings aren’t required at Thredbo

The face covering rule applies to all Perisher public areas, including all Skitube stations, riding on the Skitube, on shuttle buses, in the Perisher carpark, shops, all bars and restaurants (but not actually whilst you are eating), ski lift queues and skiing or snowboarding on the slopes.

The Skitube has its own social distancing system

The Skitube has its own social distancing system

This rule does not necessarily apply to inside private ski lodges or premises, and is dependent upon the individual lodge policy. It does also apply to The Station Resort in Jindabyne.

Ski lift tickets can only be booked online in 2020

Ski lift tickets can only be booked online in 2020

The main booking concern this year isn’t securing accommodation as much as it is obtaining lift tickets. Both Thredbo and Perisher are only offering a few releases of ski lift tickets in 2020 which must be booked in advance, online. No walk-up ski lift tickets will be available in 2020

In the case of a reasonable snow fall more lifts progressively open, and the socially distanced capacity increases. This means more lift tickets can then be released for sale.

Once released by the ski resorts onto their website booking system, tickets are quickly snapped up and are usually booked out weeks in advance – particularly in the case of weekends.

As the ski season winds down in spring and the snow quality decreases, tickets should be in less demand.

Perisher lift tickets can be hard to obtain

Perisher lift tickets can be hard to obtain

Tickets are not transferable, so there are no resellers. No scenic or single lift rides, or multi day lift ticket discounts will be available in 2020 either.

The best chance of getting lift tickets for the dates that you want, is utilising a multi-pronged approach.

  • Go to the official ski resort websites and sign up to their mailing lists – however don’t entirely rely upon them. Often the best tickets are sold out before the resorts even send out their email notification.
  • Consider joining a Perisher or Thredbo Facebook group – members will usually spread the word quickly once a new ticket release is live.
  • Keep a close eye on the ski resort website’s ticket pages – you may just be surprised with a new release of tickets!

Perisher’s most recent ticket release in mid-August immediately crashed their website for hours, however patience pays off – consistency is the key to getting the ski lift tickets you want – plus a bit of luck!

Avoid collecting your ski pass or renting gear the same day you ski

Both Thredbo & Perisher ski lift passes can be reused & reloaded online

Both Thredbo & Perisher ski lift passes can be reused & reloaded online

If you intend on picking up your lift pass or ski/snowboard rental gear at the resort, it’s best to plan to arrive the day prior to your first ski pass day – or prepare to lose precious time on the slopes.

Everything takes twice as long as usual at the ski resort centres. Social distancing slows things down and creates long queues due to limiting the number of people allowed inside at any one time. Thredbo in particular has extended delays at their small ticketing office. Perisher less-so, thanks to a larger office with more staff.

Arranging ski and snowboard rentals at the ski resort may cause you extended delays due to social distancing (Thredbo rentals)

Ski and snowboard rentals at the ski resort may cause delays (Thredbo rentals)

If you already have your lift pass (allow time for postage if you haven’t got one from the prior year) and have loaded it up ready to go online, and you have pre-arranged or own your own ski gear, you should be good to go the moment you hit the slopes.

Eating on the ski slopes at Thredbo and Perisher restaurants

It's okay to remove your face covering to eat at Perisher

It’s okay to remove your face covering to eat at Perisher

Both major ski resorts have basically the same restaurant social distance systems in place.

Before entering any restaurant, you’ll be required to scan a barcode at the door with your smartphone camera. This generates a pop-up window on your phone which you tap to access an ID form to fill in. You can opt for your details to be remembered for next time – but only for that particular venue.

Upon scanning the restaurant barcode an ID form button pops up

Upon scanning the restaurant barcode an ID form button pops up

All restaurants require gloves to be removed and hand sanitiser to be applied upon entry.

If you would like the sit inside, you are required order a meal (and not just a drink) at many of the on-mountain restaurants.

Tables are well spaced apart (Eagles Nest Restaurant, Thredbo)

Tables are well spaced apart (Eagles Nest Restaurant, Thredbo)

Tables are cleaned and sanitised between diners – some restaurants have more effective systems than others. For example the Perisher Mid Restaurant has an enforced check-in system, asks you to dispose of your own rubbish after your meal and allocates table signage indicating when you are finished, and your used table needs to be sanitised.

Social distancing systems are in place in mountain restaurants

Social distancing systems are in place in mountain restaurants

If you are buying takeaway or eating outside, you are not usually required to scan in, or even line up in some cases.

This Merritts Restaurant at Thredbo requires a meal purchase to eat inside

This Merritts Restaurant at Thredbo requires a meal purchase to eat inside

Night Skiing is limited or cancelled

Thredbo night skiing and snowboarding (apart from the flare run) are not available in 2020, however fireworks still happen on Saturday nights.

Perisher night skiing and snowboarding Tuesday nights have now finished, however Saturday night fireworks and night skiing are still going ahead into September. Pre-booking as far in advance as possible is the way to go, as people buying second or third release ski tickets are finding that due to the reduced number of night skiing tickets available, the first release ticket holders or annual pass holders are booking out the night skiing sessions far in advance.

No toboganning or snow play in 2020

No tobogganing this year at both Thredbo and Perisher

No tobogganing this year at both Thredbo and Perisher


Tobogganing, snow play and scenic ski lift rides are not allowed at either ski resort during the 2020 ski season. This is to help keep numbers in the resorts at a manageable level, but there are unfortunately some very disappointed kids and tourists this year. Hopefully things can return to normal next year.

Booking NSW Snow Accommodation in 2020

We stayed at two great family ski lodges at the snow this year, and can highly recommend them for offering safety etaining their excellent snowy mountains accommodation experience.

Perisher Ski Resort on-snow family friendly ski lodge

If you’re looking for Perisher family-friendly on-snow ski lodge accommodation, you really can’t go past the Matterhorn Ski Lodge at Perisher.

Rooms can accommodate from small to large families, and your stay includes hot breakfasts and three-course hot dinners. Accommodation also includes complimentary shuttles to and from the Skitube terminal to the lodge. The Matterhorn offers complimentary WIFI, a guest laundry, a public bar, large guest lounge and games room.

For further details, go to our Matterhorn Lodge feature here .

Watch our Matterhorn Ski Lodge, Perisher YouTube video

Thredbo Village budget friendly ski lodge for families

Thredbo YHA Ski Lodge Thredbo

YHA Thredbo in Thredbo Village offers excellent value and a great family atmosphere.

Located centrally, this cosy ski lodge features family ensuite rooms, a large self-catering kitchen, ski drying room and comfortable lounge with panoramic views over the Thredbo ski slopes. The Thredbo YHA is the perfect accommodation for a skiing or snowboarding holiday.

For further details, go to the YHA official website .

Watch our Thredbo YHA Ski Lodge YouTube video

Even though all of the new social distancing measures are a lot to navigate, don’t be discouraged from visiting the NSW snowfields – a wonderful family snow holiday is just waiting for you – it’s time to go make some super-fun memories at the snow!

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What Perisher and Thredbo social distancing looks like in 2020

The Let’s Go Mum family partnered with the Matterhorn Lodge – Perisher Ski Resort and YHA Thredbo Ski Lodge – Thredbo Resort for these famil trips.  As always, all opinions are our own.

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!
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