Ok, so with the tap of a smartphone, or a click of the mouse, you’ve taken the plunge and booked your first ski trip to Hotham. Whilst a snow holiday is one of the best experiences you can have, it’s not quite as simple as heading to the beach. Here’s a list of 10 handy hints to help the first timer get maximum enjoyment out of a snow holiday at Hotham.
1. When to book
Early and late season can be a great time to visit! Guests take advantage of quieter slopes and increased accommodation options (often at reduced rates). For those looking to improve their ski or snowboard skills (at a fantastic price), can take part in the fully hosted ‘Brand New Day’ experience offered on June 30th (availability TBC for 2021).
2. Vehicle preparation and travel
Be sure to check your car has adequate coolant levels that contain anti-freeze. If your car uses diesel fuel, try to run the tank down, and then fill up with Alpine Mix diesel. Myrtleford, Bright and Omeo service stations all offer Alpine Mix diesel in winter months. If you are driving from Melbourne and snow is falling, there is the option to travel via the Omeo route. This alternative road offers more protection from the elements and is easier to navigate in adverse weather conditions.
3. Tyre chains
All vehicles are required to carry diamond pattern chains in winter. If your hiring chains ensure they are tried on, and fit properly. When travelling to Hotham snow chains can be conveniently hired from Myrtleford, Bright, Harrietville or Omeo.
4. Arrival at Hotham
If it’s your first time to the resort, try to arrive during daylight hours. Apart from being able to take in the incredible views, it will make it easier to get your bearings and find your accommodation.
5. Parking the car
If possible, try to reverse into your car park (it will make it easier to get out). If snow is forecast on your departure day put your wheel chains on when you arrive. It’s always easier to fit chains when the vehicle is clear of snow. This can save a lot of time digging, and if it doesn’t snow you can always take them off.
6. Dressing correctly for skiing and snowboarding
Dress in layers when at the snow. Depending on temperatures, you may wear 3 or 4 layers consisting of a base layer, mid layer and an outer layer (waterproof jacket and pant). Avoid cotton if possible (it doesn’t breath). Merino wool is the best base layer. Correct fitting socks are also important for skiing and snowboarding. Thick or thin, it doesn’t matter as long as they come up above the top of your boots. Avoid wearing two pairs of socks, they will rub together and give you blisters!
7. Ski and board boots (happy feet)
At the end of the day, always loosely do up the buckles on ski boots or tie any laces on snowboard boots, when drying them overnight. This will ensure they hold their shape and be more comfortable the following day.
8. Your day on the slopes
Early bird gets the snow! For the best conditions, get out there early. To avoid queuing up, lift tickets can be pre-booked online (via shop.hotham.au). There is nothing better than fresh snow or smooth groomed runs first thing in the morning. Have an early lunch to avoid busy cafes, and then enjoy skiing the empty slopes while everyone else is inside for lunch!
9. Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated
Skiing and snowboarding is physically demanding. Be sure to take breaks and keep the fluids up. Save the beer for après. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Carry snacks with you while you’re out skiing (muesli bars can be a good option). Also don’t feel the need to ski right to the close of lifts. There is a greater risk of injury late in the day when you become fatigued.
10. Preparing to leave
I know, you don’t want to go! Start your car and let it warm up properly. If snow has fallen during your stay, clear the windscreen of snow and ensure wiper blades are free and not stuck to your windshield, (moderate heat on your dashboard vents can help this). Ensure your car is properly dug out before attempting to drive out of your car park (bogged cars=broken wheel chains!).
By following some of these handy insider hints, you will be sure to have an amazing time on your first snow holiday! In fact, it will probably lead to the unofficial number 11 on the list, which is…………booking your next trip to Hotham!