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Destinations

Winter wonderland: Falls Creek's skii resort

If 450 hectares of skii-able terrain, and family deals to rival any alpine resort sounds exciting to you, it's time to get your snow on at Falls Creek. It's the ultimate Aussie winter playground.

The resort
Falls creek is currently enjoying a stellar winter, with a great coverage of man-made snow and more than 30cm of snow in the past week. It's the largest alpine area in Victoria, and the most family-friendly resort, with bargains aplenty.
When conditions are normal, it's Australia's only true ski-in, ski-out village, with snow-covered trails that take you from your front door to the chairlift and from the mountain to lunch, coffee or après. Once you're on the mountain, there are more than 90 trails to choose from, so skiers and snowboarders of every level are certain never to become bored.
Even if sliding down some of the country's most picturesque slopes is not your thing, there is a host of other activities to keep you amused for a month or more! From snow biking to tobogganing, snow tubing or "snocce" (a special form of bocce in the snow), snowman-making competitions, kiteboarding, skateboarding, a snow bungee trampoline and even a cinema, there's never a dull moment at Falls Creek.
Shooshing
Whether it's downhill, cross-country or back-country skiing you're after, Falls Creek has all you could wish for. Experienced skiers should jump on a Back Country Tour with Olympian Steve Lee, to experience the breathtaking black diamond steeps and chutes of Mt McKay.
Intermediate skiers will love carving up the wide-open trails and groomed corduroy, while Australia's longest beginner trail will ensure that novice skiers can learn the sport safely and without fear of being bowled over. Park rats will love Falls Creek terrain parks. There are three to choose from, each with boxes, rails and kickers appropriate to designated level of expertise.
Ski under the starsThis season, Falls Creek is offering free night skiing with a valid day pass on famed run, Wombat's Ramble, which at 2.2km is the longest night skiing terrain in Australia. Its gentle pitch makes it perfect for novice skiers, intermediates and families.
Sled Dogs!
Falls Creek Classic Sleddog Committee will for the first time, hold an exhibition event at Falls Creek on August 17th so don't miss out! The event will include sled dog races across one of the premier alpine villages in Australia. Twenty teams of the gorgeous canines will race through a 4.0km course. The exhibition will also showcase the sport of Skijoring, where a "musher" is towed on skis, by 1-3 dogs, wearing a specially designed harness, using nothing but voice commands to navigate the trail!
Stay
There is a host of affordable and high-end accommodation at Falls Creek and you will experience so much more than just a hotel room. Most accommodation options are family-owned and run businesses. You'll be met with warm welcomes by smiling locals, who will actually take the time to find out about you and your holiday needs and desires.
You'll also frequently find top-notch restaurants attached to many lodgings, so if you don't wish to leave your digs for first-class dining, there is no need.
Take for instance Summit Ridge Alpine Lodge and restaurant. This multi-award-winning establishment, run by Simon and Wendy Rawlings, features spacious, comfortable and spotlessly clean rooms and ski-in, ski-out access to chairlifts.
After a day's skiing, you can book in to the Float Room, a candlelit room complete with a floatation tank, as used by the Australian Institute of Sport's Olympic training program — it's the perfect remedy for fatigued muscles.
Following that, the enormous stone open fireplace surrounded by oversized leather sofas will entice you to the restaurant area, where you will find a seasonal menu made up of the best local produce, first-class culinary skills and a wine list to salivate over.
Be sure to try this season's local venison with red cabbage, du puy lentils, caramelised onions and veal cheek "pie floater", with a side of Summit Ridge's signature Roast Garlic Mash Potato.
If it's complete five-star luxury you're seeking, try Quay West Resort and Spa Falls Creek, located at the base of the main ski runs. It offers uninterrupted views of the valley, mountain and ski fields and is the perfect base for avid skiers, snowboarders or spa-goers, all of whom will love the sauna, steam room, indoor plunge pool and outdoor spa.
Alta restaurant offers relaxed dining, while Tomdickandharry's Bar serves drinks and snacks well past après and into the night. The Pass offers gourmet takeaway food and great coffee.
Other, more budget-conscious options include a vast selection of stylish private apartments, with all amenities included. For more information options and bookings, visit www.fallscreek.com.au or www.fallscreekaccom.com.au. Eat and drink
Falls Creek has more than 25 top-rate restaurants, bars and cafes to fill grumbling tummies and quench ski-parched palettes. Try Oishii-Go at Silverski Falls Creek, a modern Japanese eatery with a fun, relaxed atmosphere, or the Frying Pan Inn, a country pub in the snow.
Huski Produce Store offers gourmet breakfast and lunch in a cosy, relaxed environment, as well as après tapas from 4pm. Mo's at Feathertop boasts French dining and an extensive wine list, while Milch will beckon with its large open fire and hearty meals, or coffee and cake, served all day.
Max's restaurant in the Village Bowl is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also offers a spacious sun deck. The Man is famed for its gourmet pizzas and great meals, as well as happy hours and live entertainment until late.
Family value
Aside from being known as Australia's happiest ski resort, Falls Creek is also the most kid-friendly. Pete the Snow Dragon will delight the little ones as he skis around the village, mountain and terrain parks looking for hugs, high fives and smiles.
Pete also performs weekly stage shows with the Kids' Snowsports School in the Village Bowl, which will have little faces wearing smiles stretched from ear to ear.
It's bargains galore for kids too — children five years old and younger ski or board free at Falls Creek when accompanied by an adult. Numerous ski lodges offer free accommodation for kids younger than two years, and there are hefty discounts for children aged up to 14, when accompanied by adults.
The Snowsports School offers children, aged three to five years, a day of fun and adventure. The well-trained instructors provide tailored ski tuition for either the morning, afternoon or the entire day. There's a purpose-built, theme-park style terrain garden and an additional covered carpet to help the kids find their way on the snow.
Children aged from six to 14 years can participate in the Milo Junior Workshop, which are either focused on improving skiing or boarding capability. The Milo Junior Workshop costs $101 for a half day, or $132 for a full day including lunch and a ski-lift ticket.
A Falls Beginner ticket for six- to 14-year-old children costs $47 a day including a two-hour lesson. A Learn to Ski or Board Pass for a child between six to 14 years of age is only $62 a day and it includes access to a number of ski lifts and two-hour class lesson.
Getting there
Falls Creek is the closest alpine resort to Brisbane, an easy day's drive from Sydney and just four and half-hour's drive from Melbourne. Fly or catch the train to Albury, then hop on a bus with Falls Creek Coaches, which will shuttle you to the village entrance within one and a half hours.

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