Dive into our guide and discover how to best utilize your time when you next spend a weekend up one of Victoria’s most enjoyable ski hills.
First things first. We’ll work under the assumption that you’ll be travelling from Melbourne, and we’ll choose to believe that you’ve managed to get out of work early on the Friday by throwing the old tactical sicky. Now, you’re going to want to know a bit of basic info about how to get there in one piece, and the fees you’ll have to pay when you arrive.
Mt Buller is an easy and scenic three-hour drive from Melbourne, and there are a variety of options for getting there by coach, hire car, airport transfer and – if you’re feeling flush – even helicopter!
Most of us, however, will be driving so:
– Make sure you check the snow-chain report on Mount Buller’s website to see if you’ll need them. However, it pays to be prepared and you’re actually required to have them in the car by law if you’re up there over night.
– To prevent your diesel from freezing, fill your fuel tank with Alpine Diesel before you head up the mountain – available at most service stations in the alpine region.
– Drive carefully and take it slow. Especially if you have never driven in the snow before.
Yes, snowboarding is an expensive sport. That’s just one of those depressing facts of life. There are a couple of fees you’ll have to pay before you even set foot on the slopes, which are a$55.00 AUD entry fee to the resort (which includes a car park) and a subsequent $28.00 fee for leaving your car there overnight.
Before you can strap on your board and get shredding you’ll need to purchase yourself a lift pass. At Mount Buller this is done using the B-Tag system. Basically, this is a re-loadable card on which you store your lift passes, lessons and other aspects of your stay.
Lift passes for two days over the weekend aren’t what you might call cheap. It’s going to set you back about $230 AUD, which might seem like a lot, but if you get up for first tracks and stay out all day until the slopes close it’s really not that bad.
With over 300 hectares of skiable terrain, there is something to appeal to all levels of ability at Mount Buller. Their runs range from the wide beginner’s slopes of Bourke St and Burnt Hut Spur, to the challenge of black runs like Chamois. There are 22 lifts here, making it the most extensive lift network in Victoria, 13 of which are chairlifts (three of them being high-speed). The resort also features three terrain parks designed for all skill levels, with a dedicated snow grooming team to maintain their condition, giving you ample opportunity to perfect that backflip.
Those who like their terrain with a side serve of steeps, should head for the summit and try to tame Fannys Finnish or Fast One, which are Bullers’ most notorious black diamond runs. If tree runs are your cup of tea then slip off the side of Standard and make tracks between the snow-guns. If you are early it is possible to get fresh tracks in the powder stashes in this area. When it comes to backcountry / off-piste, the best is reached by hiking out past the fire hut on the summit to a place known as Buller Bowls. The bowl is serious terrain that will avalanche if given the chance, so it is best to check conditions with the ski patrol.
If you’re in the mood for a little freestyle riding, practice your rails or work on your latest favourite trick, then head to one of Buller’s terrain parks. Bluff View has a beginners park, intermediates head to Baldy Park and pros do their jamming at the Summit Terrain Park.
As much as you’ll want to ride all day, there will come a time during the weekend when you have to restore the tissues and fibers and take on nourishment. Here are a few of our fave places to grab something tasty to eat, as well as re-hydrate with an alcoholic beverage at the end of a hard day of shredding.