1. ADMIRE THE PRETTY-AS-A-PICTURE VILLAGE
There is no prettier alpine village in Australia than Falls Creek. Even if you had no intention of hitting a slope you would enjoy a stay here, admiring European-influenced alpine architecture nestled amongst the snowgums. Its just as lovely in summer without any snow, when it's popular with mountain bikers and hikers. fallscreek.com.au
2. SKI-IN/SKI-OUT TO GET AROUND
When conditions are right and the white stuff is plentiful one of the advantages of Falls Creek over other resorts is that skiers and snowboarders can ski out of their accommodation at the start of the day and back in via one of the home trails at lunch time or the end of a day on the slopes. So civilised.
3. FIND YOUR LEVEL
Falls Creek is renowned for having the best spread of beginner to advanced runs, which mean that as you progress with you ski/boarding skills there's a new part of the mountain for you to explore, including terrain parks for all levels.
4. STAY AT DIANA ALPINE LODGE
One of the best full-service lodges on the mountain, where you'll immediately feel at home and are guaranteed to make new friends over pre-dinner drinks in the bar, or over a game of cards or Monopoly in front of the fire. A couple of spacious rooms provide generous accommodation for families, and there's a jacuzzi and sauna to help soothe aching limbs. The food – including Tuesday tapas and the Sunday roast – is a revelation. From $530 per night for a family room, or $260 for a standard twin. Various low-season packages (including lodging, meals and some snow sports activities) available. dianalodge.com.au
5. LEARN WITH EXPERT EASE
Good instruction is the key to learning to ski or snowboard well. Both are technical sports that are difficult for even the most athletic person just to "pick up". Group lessons provide a great starting point although if you want to progress quickly nothing beats a private lesson. fallscreek.com.au
6. DO THE SHUTTLE SHUFFLE
The Falls Creek oversnow transport system provides a free shuttle between nominated stops around the mountain, which means you never have to walk too far to get onto (or off) the slopes. It's also useful if you've been out to grab supplies at the shops. A separate oversnow service ferries those arriving and departing the mountain with baggage.
7. BUNDLE-UP AND SAVE
Buying a ski or snowboarding package, combining lift tickets, equipment rental and lessons, is often the cheapest way to ski. The pressure to ski every day is lifted this year, with rest days (or bad weather days) now included in lift tickets for four days or more. fallscreek.com.au
8. EAT & STAY AT ELK
Owner Barry Iddles, a stalwart of the Victorian hospitality scene, and his team serve flavoursome, contemporary dishes such as steamed duck buns, sticky beef short ribs and Sri Lankan chicken curry. The children will love the open fire where they can toast marshmallows on a stick. Revamped accommodation at Elk offers some of the best self-contained suites on the mountain. Doubles from $479.20 per night. elkatfalls.com.au
9. BE PAMPERED BY THE SKI VALET
This brilliant service provides free overnight storage for skiers and riders who hire equipment from Falls Creek Sports (the largest equipment provider). You can walk there wearing snow boots rather than clunky ski boots, and there's no schlepping of skis. It's particularly good for families or when there isn't enough snow around to do the ski-in-ski-out thing.
10. RIDE A KIDS' SKIDOO
For some extra snowtime fun head to the kids' snowmobile course at the Village Bowl, where children aged 5 and older (but under 50kg) can take charge of their own Polaris 120 snowmobile. Don't worry, there's a top speed of 15km/h.
11. SKI IT AT NIGHT
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.
12. REFUEL ON SOME SNONUTS
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, and include rich and creamy "freakshakes". They also sell gluten-free crepes. snonuts.com.au
13. SPIN THE TYRES ON A FAT BIKE
The newest trend in snowsports and mountain biking combines a bit of both, with specially adapted bikes that you ride on dedicated snowy trails. Falls Creek boasts a number of dual-use trails for fat biking and snowshoeing.
14. ENJOY A TWILIGHT STREET PARTY
Every Tuesday during the peak season (July and August) there's apres-ski family fun from 4-6pm with fire pits, marshmallow toasting, music and games.
15. MAKE YOUR TRACKS CROSS-COUNTRY
Falls Creek is regarded as the home of Australian cross country skiing, with one of the most expansive trail networks of any resort in the country. You don't need a lift pass to access the trails so it's an excellent way to experience the snow on a budget, and there's a purpose-built instruction and training area open to all.
16. DRINK SOME GROWN-UP HOT CHOCOLATE
The Pass Cafe, next to Snonuts and near the Falls Express chairlift, makes arguably the best coffee on the mountain, but its Grown Up Hot Chocolates are what really draw the crowds. Try the Polar Bear, served with Baileys and Peppermint Schnapps, and the Jagermilch laced with Jagermeister.
17. CALM DOWN WITH A SNOGA SESSION
Who wouldn't want to do their downward dogs and sun salutes with a stunning alpine view? As the season quietens down in September, Trackers Lodge heats up with a series of yoga retreats led by experienced instructors. Five-day snoga retreats $1195 per person. trackers.com.au
18. GET DOWN ON A SNOWTUBE
Bring out your inner child on an inner tube. Slip and slide down at the Village Bowl, where a magic carpet will drag you back to the top. So. Much. Fun.
19. PUT SOME SPRING IN YOUR SKIING
Extending the season into spring depends heavily on the weather and dumps of the white stuff, but skiing and snowboarding at Falls Creek occasionally continues till late September (including the school holidays) thanks to a plethora of artificial snowmaking to boost what nature provides.
20. EXPLORE THE MOUNTAIN HISTORY
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first hut being built at Falls Creek by a group of Kiewa Hydro-Electric Scheme workers. The story of its surreptitious construction, away from the eyes of the authorities who were less than enthusiastic about skiers establishing a permanent settlement in the mountains, is told through documents and photographs held by the Falls Creek Historical Society. fallscreekmuseum.com.au
Sally Webb was a guest of Falls Creek Resort, Diana Alpine Lodge and Elk at Falls.
This story originally appeared on Traveller.