Falls Creek is perfect for families
Spring skiing anywhere can be fickle. When I published this post Falls Creek was experiencing some great late season snow, with depths of 135cm plus. However things can change quickly so if you’re contemplating some spring skiing or snowboarding anywhere do check in with the resort management for the latest snow conditions and what the forecast holds.
There is no prettier alpine village in Australia than Falls Creek. Even if you had no intention of hitting a slope you could enjoy a stay here, wandering around the maze of streets and admiring thoughtful European-influenced alpine architecture. It’s also got a thriving tourist season in summer as a base for walking and mountain biking. But there’s still plenty of snow and so here are my 10 reasons to go to Falls Creek now.
When conditions are right and the white stuff is plentiful one of the advantages of Falls Creek over many other resorts is the ability to allow skiers and snowboarders to ski out of their accommodation at the beginning of the day and head down to a chairlift and ski back in to their accommodation after following one of the home trails at the end of a day on the slopes. It is so civilised, and avoids much of the schlepping of equipment which can be so annoying especially when you’re travelling with kids.
Diana Alpine Lodge
There’s a number of full service lodges at Falls Creek but the family-owned Diana is one of the best. Run by the hospitable and knowledgeable Lisa Logan it’s one of those places where you immediately feel welcome and at home. You’re guaranteed to make a few new friends over a pre-dinner drink in the bar, or later in the guest lounge over a game of cards or Monopoly. A couple of spacious rooms provide generous accommodation for families, and there’s a jacuzzi and sauna to help soothe aching limbs. The food is a revelation – simple and delicious enough to eat every day but just that much better than you’d make yourself at home. On Sundays it’s a classic roast with all the trimmings and Tuesdays and Saturdays are popular tapas nights. Breakfast fare includes the full Diana, and when it’s ski-in-ski-out conditions there’s nothing better than returning to the lodge for a warming bowl of soup for lunch.
Quality snowsports tuition
Good instruction is the key to learning to ski or snowboard well. Both are technical sports which are difficult for even the most athletic person just to “pick up”. Some of the best instructors in the world head to the southern hemisphere winter, to teach at resorts such as Falls Creek. Group lessons provide a great starting point although if you want to progress quickly nothing beats a private lesson. See Falls Creek Ski School for details.
Easy around mountain transport
Only authorised vehicles are allowed on the mountain. An oversnow transport system provides a free shuttle service between various nominated points around the mountain which means you never have to walk too far to get onto the slopes (or off them). It’s also useful if you’ve been out to grab supplies at the shops. A separate overnow service ferries those arriving and departing the mountain between their accommodation and the parking drop off point.
Elk at Falls
Mountain food can often be synonymous with stodge. Not so at Elk, where owner Barry Iddles, a stalwart of the Victorian hospitality scene, and his team served up contemporary and hearty dishes bursting with flavour, such as steamed duck buns with Asian brushings, sticky beef short ribs and Sri Lankan chicken curry. The kids will love the open fire in the middle of the restaurant where they can toast marshmallows on a stick. Apparently they go through 1000 marshmallows a week.
This is such a useful service, providing free overnight storage for skiers and riders who hire their equipment from Falls Creek Sports. You can walk or catch a shuttle there wearing your snow boots rather than clunky ski boots, and there’s no schlepping of skis. It’s particularly good for families, novice skiers who are not confident to ski out from their accommodation, or when there isn’t enough snow around to do the ski-in-ski-out thing.
The classic cinnamon and sugar dusted donut is the biggest seller at Snonuts‘ two Falls Creek locations but Debbie Howie’s creations range from colourful iced confections to hearty jam-filled bombs, to rich and creamy “freakshakes”. They also sell crepes which are gluten free. Buy a bag of Snouts as you’ll find it hard to stop at just one.
Every Tuesday during the season there’s apres-ski family fun from 4-6pm with fire pits, marshmallow toasting, games and music.
Wombats Ramble is an easy home trail that weaves between trees to bring skiers and riders back to their accommodation at the end of the day. However twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, it is open for night skiing, lit by floodlights and serviced by the Falls Express chair. Rug up and enjoy!
Grown up hot chocolate
The Pass, next to Snonuts and near the Falls Express chairlift, makes arguably the best coffee on the mountain, but it’s their Grown Up Hot Chocolates that really draw the crowds. Try the Polar Bear, served with Baileys and Peppermint Schnapps, and the Jagermilch laced with Jagermeister.
For information about accommodation and meal packages at Diana Lodge, see www.dianalodge.com. For ski and snowboarding packages including special passes combining lift tickets, equipment rental and lessons, see www.fallscreek.com.au.