It’s 5pm Friday. With the car loaded to the hilt (skis and boards on the roof), you and your best shred mates have just negotiated the last red light of peak hour city traffic. With your favourite snow tunes pumping, you are en-route to Hotham for 3 days of non-stop adventure both on and off the slopes. This time you’ve hit the jackpot. The 3-day outlook is calling for a sunny Saturday, followed by overnight snowfall into Sunday, clearing for a bluebird RDO Monday. (How good are 4-day working weeks?)
Below you’ll find a sample itinerary of how best to spend 72 hours at Hotham along with a few inside tips and tricks on where to go and when.
Day 1: Saturday (Sunny skies, perfect grooming)
Morning: Up and at it! With 7:30am Heavenly Valley laps on offer, sleeping in is not an option. Grab a quick coffee from Chill Bar, conveniently located in Hotham Central. Click in, and head straight for the perfect corduroy of HV. No-where else in Australia can you experience the thrill of early morning turns as the sun comes up. Race Gully, Twilight Zone or Imagine are all groomed to perfection and awaiting your edges. The choice is yours.
Afternoon: After a warming lunch by the fire at the Snowbird, it’s time to hit the slopes again and make your way towards the Orchard Chair. Again you will find a wide variety of intermediate to advanced trails. With the afternoon sun starting to work it’s magic off trail, be sure to have a run (or two) on One Tree Hill.
Evening: A trip to Hotham is not complete without witnessing one of its breathtaking sunsets. As the late afternoon sun dips lower on the horizon, it’s time to hop aboard a heated snowcat and be whisked away to the top of the Summit, for a Brown Brothers Sunset Tour. Enjoy a glass of sparkling, or beer, as the sun begins to fade. With the final rays of golden light disappearing behind Mt. Buffalo, watch as the surrounding mountain scape lights up with brilliant pink and purple tones.
Day 2: Sunday: (Overnight snow. It’s a powder morning!)
Morning: Last nights decision to rein in après early was a smart one. With 20cm’s of fresh powder on the ground, you feel fresh, rested and ready to go. The morning agenda is 7:30am powder laps on HV. Ride powder amongst the trees of Wendix, or arc high-speed powder slashes along the ridge of Purgatory Spur. From here, head over to the Gotcha Chair to harvest more powder on some of Hotham’s famed expert terrain. The Chute, Lindsay’s, and of course Mary’s Slide are all fresh, untracked and ready to go.
Afternoon: By early afternoon you’ve had your powder fix and your quads are cooked. Why not call it a day, jump on the bus and check out the beautiful Dinner Plain Alpine Village, a short 12km journey from Hotham. Wander the pedestrian friendly snow- covered village, whilst admiring the stunning alpine architecture as it seamlessly blends with the surrounding environment. For the ultimate relaxation, a visit to the Dinner Plain Onsen Spa and Retreat is a must. The facility hosts an indoor lap pool, spa, sauna as well as offering yoga and fitness classes in the gym. For the ultimate relaxation, unwind in the Outdoor Onsen, which is heated to a comfortable 38 degrees.
Evening: It’s Sunday, which means happy hour at Miss Mary’s Bar and Eats. This new venue located downstairs in Hotham Central, offers signature cocktails as well as beers on tap and a fridge stocked full of craft beers. To compliment this you will find an Asian Fusion food menu with tasty share plates being the theme of choice.
Day 3: Bluebird RDO Monday (Is this a dream?)
Morning: After a relaxing Sunday afternoon, you and your besties are recharged and ready to go. Just remember while your at the snow, your colleagues are in the office, so be careful with the instagram posts (on second thoughts, go nuts, post away!).
No need to rush this morning. It's Monday, the slopes are quiet. Grab a Swindlers brekkie before heading out to explore one of Hotham’s most underrated hidden gems…Blue Ribbon. For the history buffs, Blue Ribbon was Hotham’s first lifted terrain way back in 1952. Here you’ll find sheltered runs amongst the snow gums with Varsity Drag and Hogg’s Back being the groomer’s choice. If your looking to venture off the beaten track, check out Wood Run, skiers right of the chair.
Afternoon: After 3 days on the slopes it’s time to get the boots off and squeeze in a little retail therapy, before heading home. OneTree Sports, The Board Box and Pinnacle have got you covered for all things skiing and snowboarding. Located in Hotham Central, here you’ll find all the leading brands in hardware and soft goods, as well as providing expert knowledge and a specialised custom boot fitting service.
So as you can see, there’s more than enough to keep you busy on a road trip to Hotham. With a mix of on and off snow activities, this 3-day itinerary is by no means exhaustive. In an ideal world another 72 hours is recommended to see all the resort has to offer.
Start your time at Hotham taking in the morning mountain vistas while enjoying breakfast and locally roasted espresso coffee at Chill Bar and Cafe in the hub of Hotham Central before going back to school. No matter what level you are, there is always room for improvement, and if you haven't skied or boarded since last year, it's the best way to shake off the cobwebs and get reacquainted with your ski legs. Join a private or group lesson with one of Hotham's many professionally trained ski and snowboard instructors to perfect your turns and gain extra confidence.
After working up an appetite, head to Zirky's for lunch on the deck on a sunny day where you can watch the action on the slopes and take in some of Hotham's famous 360 degree views and crisp mountain air along with some traditional warming Austrian Gluhwein.
After lunch, stretch out your legs with a bit of retail therapy at Hotham Central. Head to OneTree Sports for all the latest in premium skis, ski boots and high end apparel and grab a pair of the latest skis to demo, Board Box for a huge range of snowboard brands and apparel and Pinnacle for all of your Hotham merchandise.
Take in the views of Mt Feathertop, Mt Buller and the Bogong High Plains with a sunset tour. Get a ride to the summit in a snow groomer and experience the stunning sunset views along with gourmet canapes, sparkling wine and beer. Then cosy up at Miss Mary's, the newest chick on the mountain, for Asian fusion share plates and signature cocktails with style.
Start the day early and test out your demo skis with first tracks on the freshly groomed corduroy or powder, beating the crowds. Heavenly Valley chairlift opens at 7.30am Wednesday to Sunday during peak season. When the lift lines start getting longer or your legs start to tire, head to the SnowBird for a hearty breakfast with a view and warm up with a coffee by the fire, just metres from the Summit chair you can ski straight in.
For a different perspective of the mountain, take in the stunning sights from above with a scenic helicopter flight and get a birds eye view of Mt Hotham, Mt Feathertop and the Bogong High Plains. You can even see Mt Kosciuszko National Park on a clear day. After the heights of a heli ride, ground yourself by heading out for a Snowshoe through the snow gums to a cheese fondue dinner in a luxurious eco-village for a sunset with stunning mountain vistas. Enjoy stories and produce from the French and local mountains with host Jean Francois. After dinner, stay overnight in a heated snow dome for the ultimate alpine experience. Off the grid but still within reception and with a phone charger.
After your night in a snow dome, wake up to a cooked breakfast amongst the snow gums before a scenic skidoo ride back to the car park, taking in the mountain vistas including Mt Buller and Mt Stirling. Make your way down to the Onsen Retreat and Spa in the unique alpine village of Dinner Plain and unwind by soaking in the outdoor Japanese-inspired hot springs, perfect for bathing and restoration, or treat yourself to one of the many therapeutic spa treatments at the luxurious spa retreat for a complete well being experience.
Grab a tasty burger or woodfired pizza for lunch and enjoy the high country hospitality and warm open fires at Dinner Plain's Hotel High Plains. While you're in Dinner Plain, finish off with a tour of Australia's highest brewery, Blizzard Brewing Company, make sure you take home a souvenir six pack or two.