Victoria’s favourite snow destination is perfect for those of us from India who have not had a snow experience before
The weather may have been freezing in recent weeks, but there is something to be said for resisting the urge to hibernate and heading out to the snow instead.
If this were an Indian winter, people would generally be cuddled up under their rajai (quilts), sipping endless cups of chai (tea) and drooling over gajak and revri (dry sweet made of sesame seeds commonly consumed in winter months). That’s because people in India might not have the option of visiting a winter wonderland just four hours’ drive away from home, with much fun to be had on the snowy slopes.
An increasing number of Indian and Asian origin families in Australia are taking off to winter destinations combining the excitement of snow activities while enjoying the breathtaking scenery of Alpine regions.
Even bona fide beach lovers grudgingly admit that there is cold weather pleasure in carving through fluffy snow, thawing out by the fireside and waking up to the spectacular view of snowflakes falling from the sky.
Simran and Prabhjot from Melbourne are one such couple. “In India we had little opportunity to experience a white winter, but in Victoria there are several locations close by that offer snow vacations. A few years ago we visited Falls Creek for the first time and we fell in love with the place and its European-style charm. Since then we go back every season and take other friends with us.”
Whether you have unlimited funds or you simply want the family to have an exciting holiday without taking out a second mortgage there are accommodation options in Falls Creek to suit all budgets.
Board member of Falls Creek Resort Management and part time ski instructor Ian Farrow said, “There are several lodges and accommodation options like the Australian Alpine Club (AAC) where members and families can book long term rentals at affordable rates. They are ideal for all season tourism as Falls Creek has lots to offer in both summer and winter.”
Ravi and Simmi from Melbourne, who visit Falls Creek often with their kids, agree. “We tried the Australian Alpine Club Lodge this year. It was more economical and had all the amenities required for a comfortable stay.”
“Our children took some skiing lessons at Windy Corner and now look forward to tackling the snowy slopes whenever possible,” Ravi said. “We encourage it, as it is a healthy outdoor activity, recharges their batteries and we get to bond as a family.”
“We have also started taking lessons and it is fun to join the kids,” Simmi added, “Though I must admit I still need till next winter Olympics to practise the technique of how not to careen out of control.”
At Falls Creek, single or multi-day lessons are available for skiers of all abilities. Purpose built beginner terrain includes fun, colourful obstacles for kids to learn. For those who do not fancy skiing, there are options to toboggan, snow tube, snowshoe, or build snow castles in the snow play park.
All the activities and the crisp winter air do wonders to whet the appetite. You will find something to tempt your tastebuds at one of the over 30 eateries in the Falls Creek Resort Village that offer basic to gourmet meals.
Hundreds of skiable acres, roomy slopes, ski-lift rides and thrilling sports can get tiring, so the over snow transport shuttles are a welcome sight as they trundle past collecting weary travellers and their cumbersome snow gear and sporting equipment.
“Every year there is something new and different to enhance our winter recreation,” said Vera, a Falls Creek regular from Albury. “Dog sleds, snow mobiles, night time skiing and fireworks every Thursday during peak season adds to the warm and inviting spirit that we experience making us want to come back again.”
Vera’s son Ron is a cross-country ski enthusiast and an expert snow boarder.
“There is something incredibly addictive about going past the High Plains, Kiewa Valley and Rocky Valley lake areas,” he said, sharing his Nordic experience. “I totally dig the trails and do not need to purchase the rather expensive snow lift passes to get around.”
Sonia from Shepparton said she was totally smitten after she chose to visit Falls Creek for a romantic escape with her partner. “After a day on the slopes we would return to get a well-earned massage and set out to wine and dine in nearby restaurants,” Sonia said.
“All of them are within a short distance and our favourite was the restaurant at Falls Creek Hotel and 1542, located in the heart of the village where they have live singing performances adding to the romance of the place,” gushed Sonia.
Her partner Kumar shared her view and offered tips to keep the cost reasonable. “I used to consider snow trips very expensive, but there are many ways and means to keep it affordable. You just needs to do your homework beforehand and look for deals and discounts and off peak purchases” he said.
The latest Snow Report snapshot from Falls Creek in Victoria suggests bands of snow approaching on the radar and flakes falling furiously. Those who are into making hay while the sun shines should consider donning their beanies and making snowmen while the powder falls.
Photos: Ravinder Singh Jabbal