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.
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.
By 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.
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