Perisher

PERISHER VALLEY.

Situated on the Kosciuszko Road. There is day parking available but NO overnight parking. Overnight car parking is available at Bullocks Flat and the Skitube train runs every half hour to Perisher Valley. The photo shows the location of the ski trails behind the church, ambulance and fire stations and the Man From Snowy River hotel and the NPWS Visitor Centre behind the car park. The skitube terminal is in the right foreground.

Services.

There are a large number of take away food shops and restaurants located in the Skitube terminal and Perisher Blue centre. There are four hotels in the village. Ziggi's XC ski shop and the Perisher Blue's XC hire centre, pharmacy, newsagent, telephones, ATM, are located in the Perisher Blue centre and a supermarket, medical centre and police station are located in the Skitube terminal. The NPWS Visitor Centre that provides up to date grooming and safety information, shelter and toilets is located on the main road just east of the Skitube terminal. The Post Office is on the main road 200m west of the Skitube terminal. Activities for non skiers are limited to snowshoeing and walking. Tobogganing is restricted to a supervised area at Smiggin Holes.

The Nordic Shelter.

This is maintained by the Cross Country committee of the NSW Ski Association together with volunteer help and donations from skiers and is open daily for the public. Please contribute to the donation box in the shelter when using the facilities which include waxing room, toilets, hot water for tea and coffee, drink and snack machines and tables.

The Nordic shelter is located uphill about 200m south of the Skitube terminal. A well signposted groomed track starts from the main road opposite the NPWS visitor Centre at the roadhead, between the Fire Station and the Man from Snowy River hotel. If this has insufficient snow, walk up the road beside the Man from Snowy River hotel as far as the Stables Apartments and the shelter will be found just out of sight, 50m to the left of the road.  Note that this is the ONLY shelter on the trail system apart from Charlotte Pass Village.

The XC Trails.

The NSW Ski Association Perisher Ski Touring map covers the area from Perisher / Smiggins to Guthega and Charlotte Pass and is available from XC ski shops in Jindabyne, the NPWS shops and other outlets. Note that this map does not show the location of the marked trails accurately, but in practice it is adequate even in poor visibility. KCros has published  the KCros Perisher Trail Map that is available at the Nordic Shelter, NPWS centres at Jindabyne & Perisher and at Paddy Pallin Jindabyne.  [ map ]

Skiers use these trails at their own risk. There are no regular patrols in the area so skiers should tell somebody where they intend to ski and have a map and compass and adequate warm clothing, water and food for their intended activity. Children should be in the care of an experienced adult. The weather can change rapidly with gale force winds, blizzards and poor visibility a possibility. Snow conditions can vary from soft and slushy to dangerously icy. The snow and trails often freeze soon after the sun goes off the snow in the afternoon. Sections of the marked trails may have exposed rocks or incomplete snow cover.

Marked and groomed trails.

A system of groomed trails start at the Nordic shelter. The preferred direction of travel on the trails is clockwise but watch out for some skiers going anti-clockwise. Start off downhill from the map outside the shelter or take a short detour up to the right. Classical skiers should ski in the left hand track (if it is provided, but a single track may be groomed on the right) and skaters should keep to the left as far as practical. Be considerate of others on the trail and ski in single file to leave room for others to pass, and if you want to rest or talk in a group please move off the groomed area.  The different trails are well marked with green pine poles with color coded triangles at the top. In poor visibility the poles may be difficult to see amongst snowgums or if they have fallen over. On the Perisher loops there is a trail map located at each trail intersection.

Beginners will find some level skiing areas at the top of the first hill on the 2˝ k trail and are warned of a steeper downhill section marked with a black diamond sign on the final ˝km at the end of the loop. Nevertheless the 2˝ k trail is often used for race events. 

More experienced skiers have the option of branching off the 2˝ k trail to ski the 5 k or  7˝ k loops which rejoin the 2˝ k trail about 500 m before the Nordic shelter. The 5k loop continues with a couple of short sharp uphill sections and some undulations until it doubles back towards the Nordic shelter and the final kilometre is a great downhill run where all except a couple of the corners are open and easy to ski. Watch out for the final two corners where the trail meets the 2˝ k trail as you can gather a lot of speed here and the final corner is a right angle. (see photo, left) Some skiers prefer to bale out and ski straight ahead at the first corner and make a more gentle approach to the 2˝ k trail. 

 

 

In the second photo the skier in red is carving the same turn on his outside ski while the other skier is overtaking on the inside by skating through the corner.

 

 

The 7˝ k  trail is one of the best training trails as it offers about 3 k of gently undulating terrain where the uphill intervals are generally shorter than on the 5k trail.

The 10 k trail offers skiers a longer trip with more varied scenery, moderate uphill climbs and a couple of faster downhill runs. The turnoff for the 10k trail is   located about 200 metres past where the 5k trail leaves the 2˝ k trail, and goes straight ahead and downhill, while the  5 and 7˝ k trails veer uphill to the right. The back link between the Prussian Plain trail and the Paddy's Link is just over 2 k and seems further in a strong wind or poor visibility. In poor visibility some of the poles can be hard to find as the track makes a couple of dog legs. If you want to shorten the trip it is easiest to ski back along the 7˝k trail as far as the 2˝ k junction and then follow that trail to the Nordic Shelter. Within the trail system are many sunny or sheltered spots for a picnic but not many places to sit so stomp out a foot hole then sit on your skis while you enjoy your snack and the scenery.

Races are often held on the marked trails and non-racers are asked to give way to skiers who are racing so as not to impede their progress.

Beginner's Areas 

The easiest snow for a beginner to learn on is soft enough for the skis to leave a track a couple of cm. deep. It should be flat or have a gentle slope and avoid areas that are covered in footprints, or where the snow is frozen, or have been skied over by a lot of downhill skiers. A good area for beginners will be found behind the fire station and it has the advantage of being close to amenities and transport. It has a short beginners loop groomed that is totally within sight of the Nordic Shelter. There are many gentle slopes around the 2 ˝ k trail and a novice can ski over large open areas with gentle gradients by skiing off the trail but still be within sight of the trail markers. A popular area for beginners is off Rock Creek by the Perisher water supply dam (see picture). One can access the dam by skiing down Rock Creek from the Kosciuszko Road near Maritz lodge or from the Eiger lodge. To the south west of the dam is a lovely open valley overlooked on the north by a row of lodges and bounded on the south by gentle slopes rising to the Porcupine Trail. Skiers can choose from flat skiing or an infinite variety of gentle slopes through to steeper telemark hills. This area is usually sheltered in bad weather and it is ideal for family groups because it is easy to stay within sight of each other.

An easy ski close to Perisher Centre.

Start at the bridge leading to the quad chair and follow Perisher Creek upstream to Perisher Gap where the Eyre T-Bar is located. Care is needed around the old Perisher Chair to keep away from downhillers but the rest of the trip is a joy on good untracked snow and sunny slopes. From the Gap you can take the Kosciuszko Rd or retrace your tracks down the valley. This is suitable for intermediate skiers as the whole route is within sight of the downhill areas. Descend the two steeper areas by traversing if necessary.

Marked trails that are not groomed. (but may be groomed on occasions)

Thompson’s Plain trail, (never groomed)
This is an an enjoyable 12˝ k ski from Perisher to Dainers Gap but it is rare to find enough snow to ski on. The terrain is gently undulating and there is little shelter from Prussian Plain on. If you have trouble picking your way over Prussian Plain you may as well turn back as it will not get any better and you will find better snow elsewhere. There is usually a good cover of snow on this trail  early in the season. It is worthwhile climbing the Pretty Point lookout signposted about 1km from Dainer's Gap, but there are no markers leading to Pretty Point. After a gentle climb there is a fabulous view over Lake Jindabyne and the town and from the northern end of the ridge one can look down a valley to Rainbow Lake and Sponar's Hotel and across to the Plains of Heaven. The photo shows Lake Jindabyne  from the escarpment west of Pretty Point. There is a car park at Dainers Gap if  you want to start skiing there.

Paddy’s link.
This cuts off a loop of the 10 k trail, or if the 10 k trail is skied it provides a pleasant ski down the valley as a short cut back to the 2˝ k trail.

Porcupine link. This trail links the 10 k trail to the Porcupine trail. It covers some very wind swept areas where snow cover may be poor and conditions are uncomfortable in exposed areas in very high winds or blizzard conditions. It can be skied in any direction and the couple of steeper sections can be negotiated with traverses near the pole line.

The Porcupine trail
This trail goes from Perisher to The Porcupine Rocks and continues on to Charlotte Pass (distance 10 km ). This trail is classified as intermediate by the NPWS but skiers should note that skiing conditions may be difficult, there is a 2 km uphill climb and two moderately steep downhill sections. Parts of the trail are very exposed in bad weather, lack of complete snow cover may make skiing difficult in some exposed areas and in common with all trails in this area, there are no shelter huts. Skiers who lack experience or fitness could take more than 4 hours for the one way trip.

The trail starts at the Perisher water supply dam. Access the dam by skiing up Rock Ck from Maritz Lodge opposite the Skitube station or following the road from the Stables to Parrawa Lodge. A steady uphill climb leads to a saddle where the Wheatley link leads to the north to cross the Wheatley ridge and come out opposite the Eyre ski lift at Perisher Gap. This makes a pleasant loop back to Perisher. Continue on from the Wheatley link for 100m and turn left off the trail to reach Porcupine Rocks, a popular vantage point and picnic spot. From here one can return to Perisher or continue on towards Charlotte Pass. The trail descends rather steeply into Betts Creek, (turn north to ski the Betts link to the Kosciuszko Road) crosses it and climbs towards a saddle and turns north to cross into the upper reaches of Spencers Ck. [An old pole line starts at this saddle and heads south west through some trees towards Trapyard Ck,  then follows a fairly open valley to an open saddle. Trapyard Creek can be seen to the west but the pole line turns right through the trees and comes out lower down in Trapyard. Ck valley.  Note that this pole line is difficult to find from the Perisher end, poles are missing, buried in snow or hidden in trees and they do not have orange markers. This route is not recommended in a white out unless you are familiar with the area.] The main trail skirts Johnnies Plain with views north to Sugarloaf and Guthries Ridge, and crosses Trapyard and Wrights Creek and continues through the trees to arrive on a road just above the Chalet at Charlotte Pass. The Chalet Hotel serves lunch and hot and cold drinks. Stillwell Lodge restaurant opens every day. Charlotte Pass Village (tel. 02 6457 5247) operates an oversnow transport back to Perisher but check the availability and timetable before leaving Perisher.

One can ski back to Perisher on the same trail, or take an easier route by following a pole line from the Chalet to Spencers Creek bridge then following the Kosciuszko Road which is marked with snow poles, back to Perisher.

The Kosciuszko Road.     
A popular trip is to ski to Charlotte Pass by following the main road. There are snow poles over the whole route. The distance is 8 km. Starting at the Skitube station follow the road on a steady 2 km uphill to Perisher Gap followed by a gentle downhill for 1 km and a short steep section to Betts Creek. Skiers should keep to the south side of the road and ski in single file in order to keep clear of Charlotte Pass Village oversnow vehicles. After crossing Spencers Creek bear left and uphill to traverse around Sugarloaf and follow the pole line to Charlotte Pass. Signs direct skiers to keep to the southern side of the pole line. In good conditions a novice skier who is fit and has some proficiency at "kick and glide" diagonal stride would cover the distance in 1˝ to 2 hours. The trail is exposed in windy weather and the time taken for the journey can double. From Charlotte Pass Village it is a ˝ hour climb to Charlotte Pass and on a clear day there is a great view of the main range peaks from Kosciuszko to Twynam. From the Pass return to Perisher by following the main road to Spencers Creek bridge and then following the road.

The Mt Piper Trail
Access this trail from the Perisher car park heading north down Perisher Creek where the trail head is clearly signposted just past the Interceptor chairlift. The pole line rises steeply towards a ridge off Mt Piper but the steep climb can be avoided by zig zagging up to the east of the pole line. Once you know the way it is possible to ski from the Perisher car park on the east side of the creek and climb steadily in one easy traverse to reach the ridge. From the ridge the trail heads in an easterly direction through open trees with some great views to the north to Mt Gungarten with Schlink Pass prominent. Take your camera on this trip. The trail passes by a surprisingly large flat open area and then descends some 60 vertical metres with some steep parts with many trees. You can take grandpa and the kids on this one though if you zig zag down in easy traverses until you pass a ski lift and come out on the Smiggins/Guthega link road at the Smiggin Holes loops. You can retrace the route to return or complete a circle with a 15 minute climb out of Guthega, over a trail that is a skidoo track and often glazed by downhill skiers, that leads to a point on the ridge overlooking Perisher View Motel. Alternatively catch the shuttle bus back to Perisher.