Thredbo, New South Wales

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Thredbo Alpine Village
Thredbo logo.png
Thredbo, July 2011
Thredbo, July 2011
Thredbo Alpine Village is located in New South Wales
Thredbo Alpine Village
Thredbo Alpine Village
Location within New South Wales
Thredbo Alpine Village is located in Australia
Thredbo Alpine Village
Thredbo Alpine Village
Thredbo Alpine Village (Australia)
LocationAustralian Alps, New South Wales
Nearest cityCanberra
Coordinates36°30′17″S 148°18′20″E / 36.50472°S 148.30556°E / -36.50472; 148.30556Coordinates: 36°30′17″S 148°18′20″E / 36.50472°S 148.30556°E / -36.50472; 148.30556
Top elevation2,037m
Base elevation1,365m
Skiable area480 ha.
Longest run5km (Village Trail from Karel's T-bar down to Friday Flats)
Lift system13 lifts
WebsiteOfficial Site

Thredbo is a village and ski resort in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, and a part of the Snowy Monaro Regional Council. It 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 4,150 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, cross-country cycling and downhill MTB riding 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[edit]

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, 2 double chairs (following the removal of the Ramshead Chairlift in 2010), and 3 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[citation needed], 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[who?] 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[who?] to be Funnel Web, an essentially ungroomed ski trail notorious for its steep 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), 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 these items, and so needed them to be furnished.

At the end of the season, mats were placed on the lower slopes, enabling one to ski to the bottom.

The village offers a free shuttle bus service during winter that links 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 (Formally Crackenback Express, renamed in 2000) Express Quad 1860 560 1365 1925
Gunbarrel Express Express Quad 1679 426 1365 1791
The Cruiser Express Quad 999 214 1660 1874
Easy Does It (Not to be confused with Easy Rider, the Merritts terrain park T-Bar) Fixed-Grip Quad 275 65 Unknown Unknown
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


Terrain parks[edit]

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. It is located at the base of the Cruiser chairlift, and you can ski down to it from the Merritts Mountain House Restaurant. A t-bar runs from the bottom for escape from this park.
  • Cruiser Park — This park has a series of rails, boxes, big jumps and a picnic table. It's always changing to challenge the rider. Located just below the top of "The Cruiser" chair.
  • 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[edit]

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 in 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. It 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[edit]

Eighteen people died when the Bimbadeen and Carinya lodges collapsed at Thredbo Alpine Village at 11:30pm on 30 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".[This quote needs a citation] 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 summers (summer snow is not unheard of in Thredbo). Temperatures have ranged from −14.7 to 33.5 °C (5.5 to 92.3 °F). According to the Köppen climate classification, Thredbo has a subalpine climate (Cfc); comprising chiefly its cool, non-existant "summers" with severe frost and even summer snowfall; cold, snowy winters.

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—some 577 metres (1,890 ft) higher. The Thredbo Top Station is significantly colder than the village and includes some of the lowest temperatures recorded in Australia, including a maximum of −6.9 °C (19.6 °F) on 9 July 1978.

Climate data for Thredbo, NSW (Thredbo Village); 1,380 m AMSL; 36° 30' 11.16" S
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, NSW (Thredbo AWS); 1,957 m AMSL; 36° 29' 30.12" S
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.8
Average high °C (°F) 16.4
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[edit]

Thredbo Leisure Centre[edit]

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[edit]

Since the early 1990s, Thredbo has been popular during the summertime for recreational and competitive mountain biking, attracting serious racers from across Australia and overseas. There are kilometres[specify] 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 cross-country mountain bike tours from Thredbo and across the Snowy Mountains region.

Thredbo is host to the world-renowned downhill track, the Cannonball Run, which 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 National Interschools Mountain Biking Competition. Track engineering has made a significant difference to the sustainability of downhill mountain biking in a sensitive alpine environment. Two Gravity Trails have been opened at Thredbo in the past 5-10 years, the Kosciuszko Flow Trail and the All Mountain Train offering a more varied level of riding from the technical Cannonball. The All Mountain Trail connects the National Parks and Wildlife Service installed Thredbo Valley Track, which follows the course of the Thredbo River from Thredbo Village through Ranger Station, Ngarigo Campgrounds and the Diggings Campgrounds to terminate at Lake Crackenback Resort.

The Thredbo Mountain-cross 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[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Thredbo Village (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 16 June 2015. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "The best local snow business". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2005.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2005.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  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". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Thredbo Top Station". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.

External links[edit]