Pass Village has commercial and club accommodation available. (see photo)
Access is by oversnow transport from Perisher Valley. Contact CPV
1800 026 369 for details. Details of accommodation from links on
the Charlotte pass snow-cam site or www.charlottepass.com.au
There are no XC hire skis at Charlotte Pass.
It is possible to ski in from Perisher along the Kosciuszko Rd or the
Porcupine trail or from Thredbo for experienced skiers only. Experienced
skiers with accommodation in Charlotte Pass can do a variety of day trips
on the main range including Kosciuszko, Townsend, Twynam, Watsons Crags
and Tate and the four glacial lakes.
Beginners will find easy skiing in the area between the Chalet and Sugarloaf
and on extensive flat areas of Johnnies Plains but should be accompanied
by an experienced person as weather conditions can produce a whiteout
with limited visibility at any time. More experienced skiers can make
day trips to Illawong, Paralyser, Guthries Ridge and the Rams Head Range.
The peaks of Clarke, Northcote, Lee and Carruthers offer steep and long
telemark slopes within easy distance and the downhill slopes at Charlotte
Pass provide good telemark skiing areas without any crowds. In good snow
conditions skating is enjoyable on Johnnies Plain and the upper
sections of Spencers and Trapyard Creek. In bad weather sheltered areas
can be found in the trees in Spencers Creek, Wrights Creek and Trapyard
Creek. There is a pole line from the Chalet to Spencers Creek, and the
pole lined Stillwell loop to the old chair restaurant site and Wrights
Creek starts near the bottom station of the chairlift. This trail is very
exposed in strong winds. In good seasons there are snow bridges across
the Snowy River at Foremanís Crossing and most of the river upstream.
During the thaw or after rain the Snowy River is deep and fast flowing
and be impossible to cross. Charlotte Pass (reached by oversnow) is a
convenient point of departure for parties that are camping on the main
range. Camping is not permitted in the catchment areas of Blue Lake, Albina,
Club or Cootapatamba lakes.
Note that the Stilwell Trail,
the Kosciuszko Rd to Seamans Hut and Rawsons Pass, and the pole lines
to Perisher are the only marked trails in the area. Poles may be missing
or snow covered. A temporary orange pole line may be in place in winter
leading from Snowy Bridge to the top station at Thredbo. Weather conditions
can change rapidly and the area can be exposed to high winds. Skiers without
adequate experience and equipment should not ski out of sight of a pole
The ONLY access to the Thredbo
Valley is down the groomed Thredbo slopes or on the chairlift. The valley
can be seen from many spots on the Rams Head Range but there is NO way
down as the area is steep, the trees are too close for skiing and the
undergrowth too dense to walk through.
The Stillwell Trail
The marked trail starts near the Charlotte
Pass Chairlift and follows a winding track through old snowgums to a saddle
beside Mt Stillwell. In clear weather you can make your own way to the
saddle to pick up the pole line. The trail heads left across the head
of Wrights Ck and crosses a saddle next to ruins of the restaurant that
was the middle station on a chairlift that ran for one season from the
Thredbo River to the Chalet. In strong NW winds this saddle is very exposed
but on a good day it is possible to follow the line of the chairlift and
get views into the Thredbo Valley. From the saddle the trail continues
on a gentle downhill, left in a circle and drops into Wrights Creek where
it is possible to make gentle traverses or take a steeper descent. After
a level section following the creek the final 200 metres is moderately
steep and narrow through the trees. The trail then joins the Porcupine
trail to the Chalet, turn left and climb slightly above the sewerage works
and you are back at Charlotte Pass. Except in icy conditions or bad weather
this trip is suitable for any skier who can traverse, turn and stop. Beginners
should allow about 3 hours. The trail can be skied in the opposite direction
starting from Stillwell Lodge and following the road past the lodges.
The run downhill from Mt Stillwell is not suitable for beginners.
The valley of Wrights Creek offers a large
area of easy skiing. It can be entered by the pole line or on either side
of the creek as the trees are fairly open. Follow the creek after it leaves
the pole line and you will come to a waterfall that tumbles down from
a higher level of the valley. The area is usually more sheltered in windy
weather. By continuing up the pole line and over the saddle brings you
to open undulating slopes. Experienced skiers may head east to access
two tributaries of Trapyard Creek or SE to ski down a ridge to an open
area before turning left to look into the open Trapyard Valley. It is
also possible to climb from Wrights Creek to most parts of the ridge and
ski down into Trapyard Creek. This should only be done in clear weather
as there are cornices on parts of the ridge and no pole lines.
There is a large open and undulating area
on top of the Rams Head ridge that is located south of the Trapyard trail.
(Caution: There are no marked trails. Take a map and a compass.)
It provides pleasant touring skiing through open trees and it is high
enough at 1900m to have good snow and good views in all directions. Although
it is on top of the ridge it is usually sheltered in strong NW winds.
To access the area ski up Trapyard Creek to a large snowgum in the saddle
that is visible all the way from Johnnies Plain. From the saddle turn
east and climb a medium slope, heading for a large rock on the skyline.
From there it is only a short distance further on to the top. One can
ski for about 1km east and descend up to 100m vertical to the south in
many places to find hidden valleys and views into the Thredbo Valley from
Thredbo to Lake Crackenback. The Trapyard trail can be reached through
open trees or a ridge followed down towards Betts Creek is more challenging.
(Caution: There are no marked trails.)
Spencers Creek is a funnel for the NW winds which howl up the valley.
As a result of this the snow cover can be a bit thin in the open and skiing
into the wind quite uncomfortable. There is usually good snow cover and
shelter in the trees above the valley. The lower western slopes of the
valley are best avoided in some places but can be skied easily by keeping
near the 1800 m contour. (Note that the NSWSA map shows this as 1700 m
in error). On the eastern slopes the trees are closer together and the
terrain is more difficult. When heading north it is necessary to progressively
descend and return to the creek when the terrain ahead gets steep with
dense trees. It is actually easier to find your way through the trees
when heading to the south. There are some good open areas from near the
junction of Spencers Creek and the Snowy River and towards Illawong Lodge
and the suspension bridge over the Snowy is a must for the faint-hearted.
Return the same way or cross Spencers Creek and follow the Snowy upstream
to Charlotte Pass.
(Caution: The only marked trail is from
the village to the saddle east of Stillwell.) Mt Stillwell is the
starting point for open easy touring towards the top of the Thredbo chairlifts.
There is a pleasant run from the top of Stillwell down to Foremans Hut
chimney, then climb back to Charlotte Pass. There is a good telemark slope
from the top of Little Stillwell down to Wrights Creek.
(Caution: There are no marked trails.)
A nice easy run for the first afternoon out is to start at Charlotte
Pass and traverse around to the saddle or the trig and back home. For
a day trip, ski from the trig down the ridge to the junction of
Spencers Creek with the Snowy River. The top of the ridge is made impassable
with rocks and trees so detour to the west where necessary. It is possible
to ski from the top of Guthrie for a tree run down to the Snowy. Good
snow can often be found on a steep slope into Spencers Creek from a point
NE from the trig and on all the steep eastern slopes of the ridge.