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Thredbo, New South Wales

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Title: Thredbo, New South Wales  
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Thredbo, New South Wales

Thredbo Alpine Village
Thredbo, July 2011
Thredbo, July 2011
Location Australian Alps, New South Wales
Nearest city Canberra
Top elevation 2037m
Base elevation 1365m
Skiable area 480 ha.
Runs >50
Longest run 5km (Village Trail from Karel's T-bar down to Friday Flats)
Lift system 13 lifts
Snowfall 2.04m
Website Official Site

Thredbo Village and ski resort () is in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, and a part of the Snowy River Shire. Thredbo is about 500 kilometres south of Sydney, accessible by the Alpine Way via Cooma, Berridale, and Jindabyne. The village is built in the valley of the Thredbo River, also known as the Crackenback River, at the foot of the Ramshead Range.

The town has around 4150 beds, but a permanent population of only about 471 people.[1] When the mountain is fully covered by snow, Thredbo has the longest ski runs in Australia, and this attracts around 700,000 winter visitors annually.[2] In summer, Thredbo is a hiking and summer sport destination, including rock climbing and abseiling, fishing and cross-country cycling, and hosts a blues music festival, boasting approximately 300,000 summer visitors (Figures are as of 2005).[3][4]

Thredbo resort was developed by a syndicate of people who were at the time working on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. In 1957 the syndicate was granted a head-lease over the area that Thredbo now occupies. Development occurred in following years under Lend Lease Corporation. In January 1987, Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL) purchased the head lease from Lend Lease. AHL operates the Thredbo village, services, real estate, and lease arrangements as a public company however a range of private businesses operate around the year providing activities, shopping, restaurants, accommodation, tours and nightlife.


  • Ski resort 1
    • Lifts 1.1
    • Terrain parks 1.2
    • Gunbarrel Express chairlift 1.3
  • 1997 Thredbo landslide 2
  • Climate 3
  • Other sporting activities 4
    • Thredbo Leisure Centre 4.1
    • Mountain biking 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Ski resort

Skiing at Friday Flat beginners area.
Skiing at Merrits

Thredbo is an Australian ski resort set within Kosciuszko National Park in NSW and was modelled on a European skiing town reflecting the heritage of workers on the Snowy Mountains Scheme such as Tony Sponar, who is credited with having established the location as a ski field. [5] Contrasting with the primarily lodge-based Perisher Thredbo is a town with lodges, shopping and nightlife. Thredbo has 14 lifts (3 hi-speed quads, 1 quad, 5 t-bars, 3 double chairs, and 2 snowrunners). It has the steepest overall terrain of any ski resort in mainland Australia, and also the highest lifted point (2037m AHD). From this highest access point at Karel's T-Bar, the lease-holder Kosciuszko Thredbo and private adventure companies have access for backcountry ski tours to Mt. Kosciuszko. Thredbo Village sits at the base of the Crackenback Valley, and due to its low altitude (1365m) the ski resort does not always retain snow on the lower half of the mountain as a result of higher temperatures, although temperature inversions at night and below zero temperatures enable snow making. Because of this, Thredbo has invested almost $6 million in the largest snowmaking system in the Southern Hemisphere, covering some 65 hectares of trail and using a three-stage automated process. The system is operated mainly at night to top up the lower half of the mountain and any other high traffic areas. The automated areas include the Supertrail, Friday Flat, High Noon, The Cruiser area's Walkabout and Ballroom, Sundowner, Lovers Leap bypass, World Cup, and Lower True Blue.

Thredbo has over 50 ski runs and employs a standard 3-colour grade system; green for beginners, blue intermediate and black diamond advanced. The resort has received some criticism for varying the standards of these grades in different areas of the mountain. The longest continual run is from the top of Karel's T-Bar to Friday Flat and is 5.9 km long; however, this is composed of several trails. The longest single run is the Crackenback Supertrail, which is the longest run in Australia.[6] The most difficult run in Thredbo is said to be Funnel Web, an essentially ungroomed ski trail notorious for its near-vertical middle section and bumps and moguls.

During the Vietnam War, Australia was one of the destinations soldiers could pick for a week-long R & R. At the Sydney airport the USO had different activities that could be chosen if the soldier wished. One option was skiing at Thredbo at a reduced rate. The package included round trip transportation (part by air, part bus), and for each night of lodging, breakfast and dinner, equipment, a group lesson, and a lift ticket. Also included were gloves, ski pants, and a warm jacket; soldiers in Vietnam didn't have any of that so needed it all to be furnished. At the end of the season mats were placed on the lower slopes enabling one to ski to the bottom.

Thredbo's hardest black run is FunnelWeb, loved by Advanced skiers.

The village offers a free shuttle bus service during winter that link the Valley Terminal, Friday Flat, and the majority of the ski lodges.


Name Lift Type Length(m) Vertical Rise(m) Base Elevation(m) Terminal Elevation(m)
Kosciuszko Express Express Quad 1860 560 1365 1925
Gunbarrel Express Express Quad 1679 426 1365 1791
The Cruiser Express Quad 999 214 1660 1874
Snowgums Double Chair 1735 472 1365 1837
Merritts Double Chair 1350 300 1365 1665
Ramshead (Decommissioned) Double Chair 1770 480 1365 1845
Basin T-Bar 650 145 1820 1965
Karels T-Bar 484 83 1954 2037
Antons T-Bar 800 230 1732 1962
Sponars T-Bar 942 260 1720 1980
Easy Rider T-Bar 275 65 Unknown Unknown

Terrain parks

Thredbo has several terrain parks;

  • Wombat World- a terrain park for younger children, which has a few bumps, funboxes and arches. Located on Friday Flat.
  • Merrits Park- a terrain park for beginners to intermediates, which contains a few jumps and boxes. Located at the base of the Cruiser chairlift. A t-bar runs from the bottom to the top of this park.
  • High Noon Park - This park has a series of rails, boxes, big jumps and a picnic table. It's always changing to challenge the rider. Located on High Noon.
  • Antons Park- a terrain park for experienced freestyle skiers and boarders with large jumps, rails and a wall ride. Located on Antons.
  • Ridercross- Changes location from year to year.

Gunbarrel Express chairlift

The Gunbarrel Express is a detachable quad chairlift in Thredbo. It runs from the Friday Flat beginners area to a point on The Traverse trail roughly halfway between the Central Spur and the Merritts Spur. The lift was constructed in 1988 as part of a thirty million (Australian) dollar investment into the mountain by its new owners, Amalgamated Holdings Limited. It is unique in Thredbo in that it crosses over other lifts, namely the Easy Does It fixed-grip quad and the Merritts fixed-grip double. This chairlift provides good access to a variety of runs and is convenient to the Woodridge and Friday Flat lodges as well as major carparks.

Two runs, The Glades and Pegasus, run underneath the higher part of the Gunbarrel Express, with the former running into the latter. The lower half is significantly steeper with many concealed obstacles including a creek (and often suffers from only partial cover), and is out-of-bounds.

Panoramic view of Thredbo Village and the Thredbo River valley from the Kosciuszko Express Terminal


  • Base elevation: 1365m
  • Base location: Friday Flat
  • Terminal elevation: 1791m
  • Terminal location: The Traverse, approx. halfway between Cruiser terminal and Antons base.
  • Length: 1679m
  • Vertical Rise: 426m
  • Average gradient: 1 in 3.9

1997 Thredbo landslide

Eighteen people died when the Bimbadeen and Carinya lodges collapsed at Thredbo Alpine Village at 11:30pm on 31 July 1997. John Cameron, a member of Brindabella Ski Club, and 18 residents of Bimbadeen Ski Lodge lost their lives when Carinya (owned by the Brindabella Ski Club) and Bimbadeen Lodges collapsed when the slope above Carinya Lodge slipped downhill, destroying Carinya. Bimbadeen Staff Lodge was then hit, and it too collapsed. Witnesses reported hearing "a whoosh of air, a crack and a sound like a freight train rushing the hill". The sole survivor, Stuart Diver, was pulled from the wreckage after lying trapped for three days. Stuart was confined to a small space between two concrete slabs where his wife, Sally, drowned beside him in a torrent of water, which Stuart was able to keep his face above.

The landslide was caused by a water leak from a ruptured water pipe that ran alongside the Alpine Road situated above the two lodges. The leaking water pipe caused the ground to become lubricated allowing the top layer to slip away from the lower part.

Brindabella Ski Club opened its new lodge on 5 June 2004.


The climate of the area is typical of the Snowy Mountains, cold snowy winters and mild to warm summers. Temperatures have ranged from 33.5 °C to -14.7 °C. Climate data for the area is taken from a station at the village at the bottom of the ski resort and another station at the top of the mountain, over 500 meters higher. The Thredbo Top Station is significantly colder than the village and includes some of the lowest temperatures recorded in Australia.

Climate data for Thredbo Village
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.5
Average high °C (°F) 21.3
Average low °C (°F) 7.2
Record low °C (°F) −4.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 104.3
Average precipitation days 10.8 10.7 11.7 13.0 15.3 16.4 17.1 17.9 17.2 15.7 14.8 11.7 172.3
Source: [9]
Climate data for Thredbo Top Station
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.8
Average high °C (°F) 16.3
Average low °C (°F) 6.7
Record low °C (°F) −7.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 89.1
Average precipitation days 10.4 11.2 11.8 11.5 12.7 13.6 14.6 15.8 15.5 12.1 13.2 10.6 153.0
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[10]

Other sporting activities

Thredbo Leisure Centre

The Thredbo Leisure Centre, opened in 1996, houses a 50 m and 25 m indoor swimming pool, wading pool with waterslide, the infamous mission inflatable, two full size basketball courts, fully equipped gymnasium, squash courts, physiotherapist and traverse climbing wall. It has been used by the many high profile athletes, including the Australian Institute of Sport for high altitude training in the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Mountain biking

Since the early 1990s, Thredbo in summer has been popular for recreational and competitive mountain biking, attracting serious racers from across Australia and overseas. There are kilometres of cross country singletrack and firetrail around Thredbo Village, the Thredbo golf course, and other trails connecting Thredbo to its neighbouring villages. Two local businesses operate x-country mountain bike tours from Thredbo and across the Snowy Mountains region.

Thredbo is host to the world-renowned downhill track, the Cannonball Run. The Cannonball Run is accessed by taking the Kosciusko Express Quad-Chairlift up to Eagles Nest. From Eagles Nest, the course runs back to the bottom of the chairlift, 600 vertical metres below. With approximately 4.2 kilometres of fast singletrack, rock gardens, a wall-ride, tight switchbacks and multiple drops and jumps, the Cannonball Run is one of Australia's longest downhill courses. The Cannonball Run is host to many races through the summer months, including national rounds, state rounds, the Ironhorse Australian Open, the National Interschools Mountain Biking Competition. Track engineering has made a significant difference to the sustainability of downhill mountain biking in a sensitive alpine environment.

The Thredbo Mountain-cross (MTNX) track, designed by Glen Jacobs, an Australian trail expert, opened in 2005. It is situated on Friday Flat and comprises a start gate, multiple doubles, rollers, berms, moguls, gaps, step-downs and step-ups. The track has hosted numerous races since its opening including national rounds, state rounds and the National Interschools Mountain Biking Competition.

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ "The best local snow business". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2009. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "History of Thredbo". Retrieved 29 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Squires, Nick (14 August 2003). "Chalets and snow guns". Retrieved 17 September 2009. 
  7. ^ Thredbo Trail Map & Winter Guide 2011
  8. ^ Thredbo Live Cams
  9. ^ "Climate statistics for Thredbo Village".  
  10. ^ "Thredbo Top Station". Climate statistics for Australian locations.  

External links

  • Thredbo official site
  • Thredbo events, accommodation and things to do on, official NSW Tourism Website.
  • Details of every ski lift to run at Thredbo in the Australian Ski Lift Directory
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