Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon & Snowshoeing
Cross Country Skiing
Otherwise known as 'nordic' skiing, the trails around Hotham and Dinner Plain won't disappoint - whatever your ability.
Hotham and Dinner Plain has over 35km of trails, with circuits ranging in length from 2km to 15km.
Hotham has a variety of cross county trails from Wire Plain to explore the peaceful snow environment away from the bustle of the village area. Look for wombat tracks and towards to the end of the winter season see Flame Robins fossicking for insects in the snow. Four main trail areas are described below. Many smaller links are worth exploring and find them on the trail map. Some trails start straight from Hotham village, or you can take the free village shuttle bus to Wire Plain, the starting point for most courses. Other trails start around Dinner Plain. Something for everyone!
Best of all there are no trail fees for cross-country skiing at the resort.
Hotham-Dinner Plain Trail (over 10 kilometres one way)
An iconic cross country trail groomed regularly from Hotham to Dinner Plain dependant on snow conditions. This trail is sheltered and undulating and suitable for a wide range of interest groups, experienced families to anyone training for long events. Sub alpine woodland surrounds you as you travel throughout the resort before entering the Alpine National Park thru to Dinner Plain. This alpine community has a variety of cafes and pubs for refreshments. Skiers can travel back via Hotham-DP bus service (fee payable).
Christmas Hill, Big Spur and Wonderland Trails area
Departing Skiers Crossing a variety of trails of varying difficulty is located within the Christmas Hill and Big Spur Trails area. For experience skiers the Charlies Trail follows a steep slope to the Sunrise Lookout on the peak and meets other trails at the Four Ways junction.
Christmas Hill was named by a group of local lodge members who regularly indulged in Christmas lunch at the location. The Christmas Hill trail is a popular intermediate trail with sweeping views to the village and extreme downhill slopes. A picnic table set among the trees is available.
The Big Spur Loop extends beyond the Christmas Hill trail. The loop begins heading downslope through the trees to a picnic table and fabulous views across the Cobungra River. A return loop is available to the Brandy Creek Mine Lookout Loop.
The Wonderland Trail is perfect for beginners want to find their skiing legs. Kids keep a lookout for the special gnome house, Alex’s Chalet in the dead tree along the trail.
Dargo Lookout Loop
One for the romantics or those wanting a quiet spot for contemplation overlooking the Alpine National Park and Dargo River. A picnic table at the lookout is perfect for watching sunsets over the mountains. There is also the option to extend your trip along the Billy Howards trail that links to the Hotham Dinner Plain trail on the southern side of the tunnel.
The Biathlon Trail in conjunction with the Hotham Dinner Plain Trail combines to form the race loop where members of the Australian Biathlon team regularly train and race, particularly on weekends. Members of the Australian Biathlon Olympic team also utilise these facilities.
Tips for Beginners
Hotham Snowsports Centre also has a range of ski instructors that specialise in cross-country ski instruction.
Private lessons are available. For more information phone: 03 5759 4430.
Hoys offer new XC gear & snowshoes for hire – available from Hoys Harrietville, Hoys Mt Hotham & Hoys Dinner Plain. Phone (03) 5759 2589. www.hoysskis.com.au
Ray's Ski Shop
Cross Country equipment available to hire from Ray's Ski Hire Mrytleford. Phone 1300 135 019. www.rayskishop.com.au
Cross country skiing makes up an active and integral part of the identity of Hotham and Dinner Plain. The infamous Pub to Pub race sees around 100 competitors ski the 11 kilometres from The General Store at Hotham down to the Dinner Plain Hotel.
Biathlon is the only sport that combines the two very diverse disciplines of cross-country skate skiing and small-bore target shooting.
Predominantly a winter sport Biathlon is fun, challenging and exciting. All championship races are held exclusively at the whiskey flat range Mount Hotham which is the only biathlon range in Australia.
Get into Biathlon!
For more information on biathlon at Hotham, visit www.biathlon.asn.au.
Hotham is also the location of Australia's only biathlon range, home of olympic athletes in training and defence force events. For more information on biathlon at Hotham, visit www.biathlon.asn.au. Stay tuned to the events page for biathlon events during the season.
Snow Shoeing is a great way to explore Mt Hotham and its surrounds.
If you are looking for something different to do and like to go for walks in the countryside why not try it with some snowshoes on. With fantastic wilderness and alpine views from the top of the Great Dividing Range Hotham is bound to please any body wanting to recharge from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Shoes are available to hire from outlets around the mountain and can be used on the cross country trail network, just remember to stay out of the ski tracks as these are purpose built for the skiers.
Why not pack your self a picnic lunch and grab a camera and head off on a wilderness experience seldom experienced in our "Big Brown Land".
Check out the Cross Country Trail Guide to find yourself a quiet picnic table or why not try an accent to the top of Mt Hotham and relax into one of the greatest sunsets you will ever see.
Remember as always when heading off into the wilderness: Let Someone Know Before You Go and be sure to check back in with them when you return. Be sure to back appropriate clothing as conditions can change in the mountains quickly. If you stick to the Village and the Trails you are never far away for a warm fire and a hot chocolate.
Hotham Cross Country Trail Map
For More Information
For more information on Hotham's Cross Country Trails contact the Mt Hotham Resort Management Board on 03 5759 3550.
Or visit their reception opposite Hotham Central to pick up a copy of Hotham cross country ski trail maps for free.
For more information about Dinner Plain's Cross Country Trails enquire at Dinner Plain Visitor Information Centre on 03 5159 6451.
This office also has copies of Dinner Plain cross-country ski trail maps for free.