Australia's snow season officially kicks off on the Queen's Birthday long weekend around June 11, but several resorts are taking advantage of the cooler weather and opening early. In an increasingly competitive market where flying overseas to ski seems easier than ever, can they still attract Aussie tourist dollars?
Picture by Tim in Sydney
As the Snow It All blog at the Age points out, according to Roy Morgan research almost half the Australians who plan a skiing or snowboarding holiday go overseas rather than hitting the local slopes. North America has been a particularly popular choice given the strength of the Aussie dollar, and New Zealand remains an accessible and closer option. If you don't live in the south-eastern states, virtually any skiing holiday requires jumping on a plane.
The local industry has fought back with discounted deals and cheaper lift access passes. The Snow Australia site has a dedicated section for package specials, group deal sites have also featured plenty of discounted offers, and June has been designated "Learn To Ski And Snowboard" month to attract newcomers.
I'm so woefully uncoordinated that I've never dared strap on a pair of skis; based on my experience on skates and the like, I fear bruising and broken limbs would be the inevitable outcome. But I'm curious about our winter sports-loving readers. Is a trip to Australia's snowfields a regular part of your travel planning, or do you prefer heading overseas? Do the drops in prices make a difference? Tell us in the comments. (You can also check me out discussing the topic on Ten Breakfast earlier today.)