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Let it snow at Falls Creek

I am a beach girl. I like the  feel of the sand between my feet, the warmth of the sun and the rolling  waves.  So a visit to the snow at Falls  Creek for a few nights was an idea that excited me.

Foreign to me in all senses, I  had no idea what to expect.  Just how  cold was cold? Was snow as fluffy and soft as it looked?  How do I get around in the snow? What clothes  do I pack? Is snowboarding really that hard? The list of questions was endless.

Ready to embark on my journey of  snow discovery dressed in thermal leggings under my jeans, a jumper and beanie,  I start the five hour drive from Melbourne.

Located at the Alpine National  Park in north–eastern Victoria, the ski-in ski-out resort of Falls Creek lies  between an altitude of 1,210 and 1,830 meters.

For those people driving to the  resort, the law requires snow chains to be fitted.  These can be hired from the base of the  National Park in a town called Mount Beauty.   Having never seen snow chains before, I was pleased to be kindly  informed by the hire staff on how to attach and remove the chains.  This was extremely helpful for a first-timer.

As the road was clear on the  drive up, the chains were not needed, but it is required to have them in the  car if needed.

Payment is required for entry to  Falls Creek and is determined on age and length of stay.  From this entry point it is a slow and  careful drive up the mountains to the Falls Creek Welcome Centre.

2012-07-02T22-30-05_50By the time I reach it, there is  snow evident on the side of the roads and the car’s temperature gauge has sunk  to a chilly 0 degrees.  Too excited to  take too much notice of the temperature, I jump out the car and just as quickly  jump back in again.

What was I thinking in just  wearing a jumper and jeans, it was literally freezing.  I had to move fast if I was to stay warm.

Snow on the ground and a rainy  mist falling, the process from getting out the car, luggage loaded, car parked  and shuttle pass purchased was an easy flow thanks to some very helpful staff.

Loaded onto what I can only  describe as a ‘snow mobile’, it’s up the mountain I go.  Falls Creek resort in total features 4,500  accommodation beds, a large number of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to  amuse the guests at night.

My bed for the two nights is at  Feathertop Alpine Lodge, located at the end of Parallel St only meters from the Falls Express Ski Lifts.  This  makes it perfect for ski in/ski out access as the home trail leads you right to  the front door.

Once inside and starting to warm  up besides the cozy fire place in the lounge area bordered by the bar and  restaurant, I am met by the lodge owner John.   More than helpful in running through the lodge offerings, John also  takes the time to advise me about some local knowledge on the area.

My room is one of twelve  comfortable rooms that can accommodate for singles, couples or families.  Each room has its own ensuite, central  hea2012-07-02T22-30-06_67ting and LCD TV.  Rooms are serviced  daily.

A family friendly lodge,  Feathertop has an area with computer and video games and internet access.  There is also a library and reading area to  sit back in and enjoy a warming cup of tea or coffee which is complimentary.

After a day of fun on the snow,  guests can come back and relax in the outside spa while their gear is stored in  the drying room, ready for use the following morning.

For me, it is late and the night  has begun to steal the sunlight from the day.   As the ski hire shop has closed, I find comfort in sitting down for the night’s  meal instead of venturing back outside without appropriate clothing hire.

I am told that the lodge’s restaurant,  Mo’s, has a menu of high acclaimed Australian cuisine that just has to be  tasted.  Trusting this ‘word on the  street’ I order the Angus sirloin matched with some local red wine, and I am  not disappointed.   Followed by a  scrumptious dessert of crème brule, I am beyond satisfied the rumors are  true.  This is the best meal I have had  in a long time.

Eager to get out in the snow for  a play, I take my full content belly to bed ready for an early rise in the  morning.

As soon as the sunrises, I rush  through a cooked breakfast before heading off to get kitted out in ‘snow  gear’.  Thankfully the run from the  warmth of the lodge to Viking Ski Hire was short, as it is located just across  the road.

Here I was measured for boots to  walk around in, boots to clip into a snowboard, a snowboard, snow pants and a  super warm jacket.  All that was missing  were gloves which I had to purchase as they could not be hired.  The helpful staff ran through the process of  the ski lift and lessons pass and where I could find them to get up the  mountain.

Feeling like a marsh mellow, I  waddle out of the hire shop into a winter wonderland.  No longer feeling a chilling cold, but cozy  warmth … I begin my assault on the snow and any innocent bystanders.  Snowballs begin to fly, snow angels are  molded and yes … the snow-woman is built.   All this and I haven’t even left the main road yet.

Feeling I was neglecting the  snowboard with my childish play, it’s time to head up the mountain and really  play.  Having never snowboarded before, I  was in for a big surprise.

I have faith in the knowledge  that Falls Creek is beginner/intermediate friendly, with almost 80 percent of  the resort dedicated to these types of skiers/snowboarders.  Even then, if you don’t chose to ski or  snowboard, there are other activities including snow biking, tobogganing or  snow tubing.

The service and help of the staff  on the resort from the bottom of the ski lift to the top on the slopes and in  the restaurant Cloud 9 is second to none.   It seems as though it’s not a job for them, but a hobby and they are  more than happy to help and accommodated for even my silliest of questions.

The day was spent trying to  snowboard, falling on my bum, playing in the snow, falling on my bum, drinking  hot chocolates, falling on my bum, watching children in their ski lessons and  falling on my bum.

All in all it was an amazing  first experience in the snow.  While very  different to the beach I am used to, the snow is similar in so many ways (don’t  forget your sunscreen and sunnies as it is bright on the snow).  And the best news is… it is only the start  of the snow season, so I have plenty of time to improve.

Why don’t you get out to Falls  Creek and enjoy what the resort has to offer.   With Feathertop Lodge offering a deal starting 5 August and running for  the month for 3 nights accommodation, including breakfast daily for just $570  per person.   Stay for 5 nights and you  will receive a $100 voucher to dine at Feathertop’s Restaurant, Mo’s.  Add a ski pass to this for only $135 per day  and you can be on the mountain enjoying the snow.

To  book, contact your local travel agent or Falls Creek Reservations Centre on  1800 453 525