10 reasons why Perisher is the best Australian ski resort for beginners – with videos!

When it comes to learning how to ski or snow board it can be a confusing – and expensive – choice you can’t afford to get wrong! Here’s 10 reasons why you should start your snow sports journey at Perisher Valley in the NSW Snowy Mountains

The beginners snow guide to Perisher

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No time to read? Watch our Perisher beginner guide on YouTube here!

Three years in the making, this has the most up to date locations, prices, options and information to help you prepare – and enjoy – your time in the NSW Snowy Mountains at Perisher Ski Resort!

1 – Perisher is the biggest resort in Australia

Perisher is the biggest ski resort in Australia

Perisher is the biggest ski resort in Australia

Made up of four ski areas, Perisher Valley (once known as Perisher Blue), Mount Blue Cow, Guthega and Smiggins Holes, Perisher is the biggest ski resort in Australia. Being the biggest resort comes with advantages – a large number of resources geared to first-timers and beginners. Your ski ticket covers all areas of the ski resort, which means you can ride or ski beginner runs in Perisher, then traverse over or catch the Skitube between Perisher and Mount Blue Cow and then ski beginner runs there too if you want to! There are twice as many hire centres, ski lessons, restaurants, etc….the list goes on.

2 – Perisher has Front Valley

Front Valley is the very first ski slope you see when you arrive at in Perisher, and it’s mostly beginner friendly. The base of Front Valley on the right-hand side is where the beginner snow boarding and ski lessons are held or run too. It’s as simple as walking out of the ski hire centre to your lesson meeting point. Alternatively you can jump straight onto a beginner ski lift to go and try your luck skiing down from the top!

Front Valley offers a huge area for first-timer beginners to learn in comparison to many other Australian ski resorts. This gentle ski slope is serviced by a slow loading beginner chair lift (more about the Village 8 Express Chair next) and is usually populated with skiers and snowboarders of all ages and sizes. Front Valley is a big favourite with beginners in particular, and there’s plenty of room to fall down and pick yourself up, surrounded by others doing exactly the same thing!

Some ski resorts require you to catch a lift all the way up to the top section of their resort mountain areas to where the snow is of good enough quality for their beginner ski areas. At Perisher you are already high up above the snow line, so you’re already there. This also means that the non-skiers in your party can watch a lot of the fun from below without having to buy an expensive lift ticket.

Snow guns top up the snow cover with man made snow throughout the night so that every morning, even if it hasn’t snowed, there is still good snow cover awaiting you. As an added bonus, there is also a huge ski jump constructed at Perisher Front Valley, so you can take a break and go sit at a café to watch some incredible snow boarding and ski jumping stunts whilst you relax and have a drink.

3 – The Perisher Centre has a large ski hire centre

The Perisher Ski and Snowboard Hire Centre

The Perisher Ski and Snowboard Hire Centre

At the base of Front Valley is the Perisher Centre, a shopping-mall type building which houses a lot of eateries, some snow gear shops, the Perisher ticket and information office, lockers and a very large and well-stocked ski hire centre. This ski hire centre has a good system which moves a lot of skiers through quickly. This means you can be in and out without delay, getting set up with the right ski hire clothing and gear that you need, and get lots of support and advice as a beginner along the way.

The Perisher Ski Hire centre is large and well stocked

The Perisher Ski Hire centre is large and well stocked

It’s a little more expensive than using the hire shops at Cooma and Jindabyne on the way to the snow, but if you hire your gear in Perisher then if you encounter any problems with your gear, then they can be fixed on the spot. If something breaks or doesn’t fit right then you can just pop back into the Perisher ski hire shop and change or fix it. This is a better alternative to having to pay someone to fix your ski or board bindings, or rehire the faulty gear from Perisher anyhow and then return the broken gear to wherever you hired it from – probably miles away – later. Been there, done that!

Snowboard hire at the Perisher Centre

Snowboard hire at the Perisher Centre

It also saves having to carry all the gear from the SkiTube or your car, which is a juggling act – especially if you have little kids. Ski gear is really heavy and awkward! In my experience, hiring on site at the Perisher Resort is definitely worth it from a convenience aspect.

4 – Perisher Ski Resort has dedicated beginner ski lifts

The Village 8 Chair Lift is perfect for beginners

The Village 8 Chair Lift is perfect for beginners

Sure, everywhere has some kind of beginner type ski lifts, but Perisher’s beginner ski lifts line up is pretty impressive. For starters, there are at least two magic carpets in the beginner ski lesson area (plus one at Mount Blue Cow). Magic carpets are rubber conveyor belt step-on/step off skier and boarder lifts that carry you up the beginner slopes. These are very easy to use and are very difficult to fall off, as you are already at ground level. (See how magic carpet ski lifts work in our video here). Magic carpets are great starter lifts before moving on to T-bars and chair lifts.

The Village 8 Express Chair is slow to load and unload for beginners to find their feet

The Village 8 Express Chair is slow to load and unload for beginners to find their feet

Once you’re feeling more confident about skiing, you can head to the Village Eight chairlift which not only automatically moves you to the right spot for loading via a small magic carpet step-on conveyor belt, the chair lift itself slows down for you to sit down safely – plus it is also slow and level to get off at the other end. These things matter when you’re a beginner. User-friendly beginner lifts are great to learn on and bolster your confidence, too. You can see what it’s like to board, ride and unload on the Perisher Front Valley beginner chair lift in our Youtube vide here.

5 – Perisher Valley has lots of ski lessons for kids and adults

Perisher has lots of group and private ski and snowboarding lessons

Perisher has lots of group and private ski and snowboarding lessons

Whether you’re an adult or child, there are lots of different ski lessons on offer at Perisher Valley. Group lessons and private lessons are all available for both kids and adults. For children’s ski and snow boarding lessons, helmets are compulsory. For adults, they are strongly recommended. You can come down hard on the snow, even beginner skiing!

The Perisher Snow Sports School and beginner lessons are at Front Valley

The Perisher Snow Sports School and beginner lessons are at Front Valley

Kids lessons go for two hours, adults snow board and ski lessons go for one hour. You can book before you go or at the Perisher services and information office when you arrive if you are lucky, but I strongly recommend booking well in advance, as even though there are lots of lessons, there is also a huge demand.

There is some child care afterwards available, but children must be toilet trained to take part in ski and boarding lessons at Perisher.

6 – You can catch the Skitube to Perisher

The Skitube Mountain Railway

The Skitube Mountain Railway

A big advantage that Perisher offers to those who have never visited the snow before, is the Skitube. The Skitube mountain railway cuts right through the mountain, climbing up from Bullocks Flat (located on the Thredbo road) to Perisher Valley and then Mount Bluecow.

Ski Tube tickets are expensive. Prices fluctuate depending on when you buy the tickets. The Skitube is not a cheaper way to get to Perisher, but it does have a lot of advantages, especially for beginners.

You can park your car for free short or long term at Bullocks Flat. It’s below the snowline, and although it can snow there, it doesn’t happen frequently. You can be pretty confident that snow plows will clear the road promptly if that does occur.

The Skitube mountain railway travels through a mountain tunnel

The Skitube mountain railway travels through a mountain tunnel

Your Skitube ticket does include your entrance fee into the Snowy Mountains National park (around $25 a car, which you need to pay if you drive to Perisher or Thredbo). You are not permitted to park overnight at Perisher (excepting a few ski lodges with private parking). So if you’re staying at a lodge or a hotel at Perisher, you need to either need to catch a coach or bus (not plentiful from Jindabyne – there was a trial bus in 2022 I believe) or the Skitube train.

I often choose to use the Skitube because I don’t like worrying about having to put snow chains on my car (compulsory for non-4WDs to carry in the National Park during the snow season), or having to drive in snowy conditions. That said, the Skitube does cease operating before the end of the ski season, so if you visit during the shoulder periods you may need to find another way to get to Perisher.

FUN FACT! The Skitube between Perisher Valley and Mount Blue Cow is absolutely FREE! No ticket is needed.

7 – Perisher has lots of green beginner ski runs

Traversing from Perisher to Blue Cow on a green (beginner )run

Traversing from Perisher to Blue Cow on a green (beginner )run

Whilst there are beginner ski and snow board runs at all Australian ski resorts, Perisher Valley has a huge, interlinking network of green runs that you’ll love to explore. Some favourites of ours which are very long and beautiful beginner runs with a gentle slope include Pretty Valley and Pleasant Valley. There is an easy to understand sign and marker system showing beginners where they can ski safely (green runs).

There are many green runs all over Perisher Ski Resort

There are many green runs all over Perisher Ski Resort

You can even ski between some of the ski village centres such as Perisher Valley and Mount Blue Cow, so you can literally ski for miles once you have reached an adequate level of skiing – and that won’t take long. A day or two of lessons and most kids and adults are capable of turning on gentle slopes.

Perisher Valley really does have a huge beginner skier and beginner snow boarding advantage with the sheer volume of green runs they can offer.

8 – The Matterhorn Lodge is great Perisher accommodation for beginners

The on-snow Matterhorn Lodge at Perisher is perfect for beginners to experts

The on-snow Matterhorn Lodge at Perisher is perfect for beginners to experts

When we visit Perisher we are hosted by the Matterhorn Lodge, a beautiful on-snow Perisher accommodation ski lodge with a gentle slope down straight from the lodge’s front door to Front Valley where all the main Perisher beginner ski areas, lessons and lifts are. This means even beginners can ski from their lodging at the Matterhorn Lodge to the ski lifts and areas.

The Matterhorn Lodge accommodates all, from singles to couples, friends and groups, and is very family – and budget – friendly. They welcome children of all ages, from the tiniest baby to teenagers. The lodge is super cosy and serves delicious dinners every night – with no washing up for mum or dad to do! There’s a free laundry, drying gear room and tea and coffee station. They even have plastic toboggans for the kids borrow to slide down the surrounding snowy slopes.

Head off to the cosy lounge and bar after dinner to kick back in front of the log fire whilst the kids play on the games tables. This is a great way to unwind when you’ve been physically exhausting yourself learning the art of skiing or snow boarding!

The best thing about the Matterhorn is that you don’t have to worry about anything once you arrive, other than having a fun, relaxing stay. Matterhorn staff really look after you.

The Matterhorn Lodge breakfast view

The Matterhorn Lodge breakfast view

As you may be able to tell, we genuinely love staying at the Matterhorn. You can read all about our stays at the Matterhorn Lodge here or alternatively you can book your Snowy Mountains accommodation at Booking.com here

9 – Perisher has night skiing

Perisher night skiing is suitable for beginners

Perisher night skiing is suitable for beginners

Not the only resort to offer night skiing it’s true, but it’s super fun, just the same – and beginners are welcome. Night skiing is run under the lights on Perisher Front Valley, which is a green run beginner area.

It does get very cold skiing at night at Perisher – minus 4 to minus 7 can be common – so rug up and wear a warm, waterproof jacket if you do decide to go. If the weather is calm, you often get to see the Perisher fireworks display on the same night too!

Night skiing is usually run twice a week (Tuesday and Saturday nights) for an extra cost. Kids and Epic Pass holders can ski for free. A single Night Skiing pass in 2021 was $40 for an adult – book as far in advance as possible, as it can book up early.

10 – Should I buy an Epic Pass?

The Perisher Epic Pass is a ski lift season pass

The Perisher Epic Pass is a ski lift season pass

Currently, my answer would be no, you probably shouldn’t buy an Epic Pass, however I am still including it in my list, as like anything, there are advantages – and disadvantages with everything.

What are Epic Passes?

Epic Passes are basically the name for Perisher season passes for skiing and boarding. You need to buy them in advance of the ski season, and they usually go off sale around April. Epic Passes normally give unlimited access to Perisher Ski Resort Lifts (with the exception of 2020 number limiting) throughout the Australian ski season. You also get free night skiing, and ski lesson and ski hire discounts. Plus you have the option of adding on discounted Skitube season tickets.

Epic passes also include ski lift ticket access and discounts to other resorts, including two Victorian ski resorts, as well as selected ski resorts in Japan and the USA.

Epic Passes also cover Perisher Night Skiing

Epic Passes also cover Perisher Night Skiing

Should beginners buy an Epic Pass?

Epic Passes offer some significant Perisher discounts and beginner skier benefits for the reasons stated above, but in particular the 20% off ski lessons and ski hire can save a fair amount of money, in addition to ski lifts. Ski lessons can be almost as expensive as your lift tickets, if not more (you can see our video here for some price examples). But it’s important to point out that you will only save money on ski lift prices using an Epic Pass IF you are intending to ski or snow board for more than one week. This is roughly the cost of an Epic Pass.

The gamble with Epic Passes for beginners being – are you going to enjoy skiing?! Many people love skiing and snow boarding straight away. Some try it once and walk away. Therefore it’s probably best to skip buying an Epic Pass in your first year at least, until you work out if you actually like skiing and snowboarding.

Epic Pass buyer beware

Whilst Epic passes can represent great value for money normally, in the last couple of years they have created a lot of skier and snow boarder controversy due to lock downs making the resort periodically inaccessible. A promised refund for certain conditions can prove highly difficult to obtain. with slow response rates and contentious condition disagreements. With the same policy still active this year, I would recommend caution before outlaying the significant investment of thousands of dollars (as I did for my whole family) in these current unstable times – or you may find yourself losing money instead of saving it.

How we lost money buying Epic Passes

I purchased Epic passes with additional Ski Tube access for my family last year (the 2021 Australian Ski Season), and now have cause to regret it. We were only able to use our Epic Passes for one ski trip during the 2021 ski season. The remainder of the snow season we couldn’t access the Perisher ski resort due to lockdowns, both Perisher and personal, including our own local council region lockdown. Almost a year later I’m still attempting to get a refund after receiving an initial rejection from Perisher administration – and that notification came several months after my refund application. Indeed, I’m still waiting for a reply to my twice-emailed objections. It hasn’t been a seamless experience, thus far.

Perisher Valley snow boarders and skiiers at the top of the mountain

Perisher Valley snow boarders and skiiers at the top of the mountain

Have you ever been to Perisher Ski Resort, or do you plan to go one day? Tell me, or ask your questions in the comments below…

All information is correct as at April 2022 – please check the official Perisher website here for relevant, up to date information and prices.

We are frequent hosted guests at the Matterhorn Lodge at Perisher Valley. As always, all opinions remain firmly my own.

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The beginner skier and snow boarder’s guide to Perisher Valley

The Perisher Valley Ski Resort guide for beginners

The Perisher Valley Ski Resort guide for beginners

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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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