A ski trail at Lake Mountain with recent snowfall
|Elevation||1,480 m (4,856 ft)|
|Range||Great Dividing Range|
|Easiest route||Short hike from carpark|
Lake Mountain is a cross-country ski resort in Victoria 120 km from Melbourne. It is the most popular ski resort in Australia in visitor numbers due to its proximity to the populous city of Melbourne, mainly from casual visitors.
There is no lake at Lake Mountain, the area was named after George Lake, who was the Surveyor-General of the area including the mountain. The Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is situated in a saddle between Lake Mountain and Echo Flat and provides access to a 37 km cumulative trail network through the surrounding Yarra Ranges National Park. It is an exclusively cross-country skiing resort, but the majority (80%) of the visitors to the resort throughout the year are a family demographic, with family groups being the main constituents. There are up to seven toboggan runs, though two main runs, which are open to the public. The first and most popular is directly adjacent to the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Day Visitor Centre, while the second brachiates off of the first for a longer and somewhat steeper slope. Snowboarding is not permitted.
The centre was opened on 12 June, 2004, a public holiday celebrating the Queen's Birthday. It cost $3.7 million along with the refurbishment and restructuring of two other buildings, a toilet block & visitor's locker room area, and the Ski Patroller's Centre, the main area for the coordination and first aid treatments employed by the Ski Patrollers.
It has several other facilities, such as two fully equipped conference centres and a licenced cafe' bar. The Heights Bar and Cafe' remains open all year round, to accommodate bushwalkers and bike riders.
In 2005, the Ski Patroller's Centre was equipped to operate as "Snow Gum Lodge" during the off-season, generally available between November and May, for secluded and private overnight stays. It was the only accommodation on-mountain but was destroyed in the 2009 bushfires.
Impact of 2009 bushfires
The bushfires on 7 February 2009 caused considerable damage at Lake Mountain. Much of the forested area was burnt, and almost all buildings except the main Day Visitor Centre/Ski Hire/Bistro were destroyed.
Extensive work was undertaken to enable the resort to open for 2009 winter season. Temporary buildings were delivered to serve as toilets, Ski Patrol and kiosk. Damaged wooden trail features and bridges were rebuilt.
Lake Mountain is a popular destination for road cyclists due to the challenging climbs up to the resort. Lake Mountain can be climbed from two sides: from Warburton (a grueling 40km climb up the Reefton Spur) or from Marysville, the more popular route. The climb from Marysville is 21.3km long and rises at an average gradient of 4.3%. The first 4.3km of the climb are the most challenging with an average gradient of 8.1%.