Thredbo, New South Wales

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Thredbo Alpine Village
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Thredbo, July 2011
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Thredbo Alpine Village
Location within New South Wales
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Thredbo Alpine Village
Thredbo Alpine Village (Australia)
Location Australian Alps, New South Wales
Nearest major city Canberra
Coordinates 36°30′17″S148°18′20″E / 36.50472°S 148.30556°E / -36.50472; 148.30556
Top elevation2,037 m (6,683 ft)
Base elevation1,365 m (4,478 ft)
Skiable area480 ha (1,200 acres)
Runs >50
Longest run5 km or 3.1 mi (Village Trail from Karel's T-bar down to Friday Flat)
Lift system 14 lifts
Snowfall 2,040 mm (80 in)
Website Official Site
Merrits Thredbo resort.jpg

Thredbo is a village and ski resort in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. It is approximately 500 kilometres (310 mi) 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 approximately 4,150 beds, but a permanent population of only approximately 477 people. [1] When the mountain is fully covered by snow, Thredbo has the longest ski runs in Australia, attracting approximately 700,000 winter visitors annually. [2] In summer, Thredbo is a hiking and summer sport destination, offering rock climbing and abseiling, fishing, cross-country cycling and downhill MTB riding and hosts a blues music festival, with 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 Scheme. In 1957, the syndicate was granted a head-lease over the area that Thredbo now occupies. Development occurred in the following years under Lendlease. In January 1987, Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL) purchased the head lease from Lendlease. Event Hospitality and Entertainment operates Thredbo village's 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.


The origin of the name “Thredbo” has been attributed to the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Snowy Mountains.

Ski resort

Skiing at Friday Flat beginners area. Thredbo ski resort.jpg
Skiing at Friday Flat beginners area.
Skiing at Merrits Thredbo skiing.JPG
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: an 8-person gondola, 3 hi-speed quads, 1 quad, 5 t-bars, 1 double chair (following the removal of Merritts Chairlift in 2020, and the Ramshead Chairlift in 2010), and 3 snow runners.

Thredbo has the steepest overall terrain of any ski resort in mainland Australia, and also the highest lifted point (2,037 m or 6,683 ft 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 and multiple other locations on the Main Range. Thredbo Village sits at the base of the Crackenback Valley, and due to its low altitude (1,365 m or 4,478 ft) 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 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]

During the Vietnam War, Australia was one of the destinations soldiers could pick for a week-long R & R. At 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 throughout the village.


NameLift TypeLength (m, ft)Vertical Rise (m, ft)Base Elevation (m, ft)Terminal Elevation (m, ft)
Kosciuszko Express (Formally Crackenback Express, renamed in 2000)Express Quad1,860
Gunbarrel ExpressExpress Quad1,679
The CruiserExpress Quad999
Easy Does It (Not to be confused with Easy Rider, the Merritts terrain park T-Bar)Fixed-Grip Quad275
SnowgumsDouble Chair1,735
Merritts Chairlift (Decommissioned)1,350
Ramshead (Decommissioned)Double Chair1,770

- Merritts gondola

[7] [8]

son Gondola)

Terrain parks

Thredbo has several terrain parks;

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 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 for most of the season with it only opening up after significant snowfall.

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


Future Developments

These multi-million dollar developments, when completed, will provide guests with some of the best facilities in the Australian snow industry, further enhancing Thredbo's award-winning reputation as Australia's premier snow resort. [9]

1997 Thredbo landslide

Eighteen people died when the Bimbadeen and Carinya lodges collapsed at Thredbo Alpine Village at 11:30 pm on 30 July 1997. John Cameron, a member of Brindabella Ski Club, and 17 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 cool summers (summer snow is not unheard-of in Thredbo). Temperatures have ranged from −12.8 to 34.8 °C (9.0 to 94.6 °F). According to the IBRA, Thredbo Village has a montane grasslands climate, as it lay between 1,100 m (3,600 ft) and 1,400 m (4,600 ft) in altitude; closely bordering on subalpine (1,400–1,800 m or 4,600–5,900 ft). The village receives an average of 34.9 snowy days annually. [10] Although the village receives great precipitation, it is relatively sunny due to being downwind of the persistent cloud cover that Victorian resorts often experience, as evident by the afternoon relative humidity readings in the cooler season.

In Köppen climate classification Thredbo Village would fit the criteria of having a cool oceanic climate (Cfb), though approaching a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc); with cool summers and cold, snowy winters; with a lack of temperature extremes.

Climate data for Thredbo Village (1991–2020, extremes 1969–2022); 1,380 m (4,530 ft) AMSL; 36.50° S, 148.30° E
Record high °C (°F)34.8
Average high °C (°F)22.2
Daily mean °C (°F)15.1
Average low °C (°F)7.9
Record low °C (°F)−4.4
Average precipitation mm (inches)111.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)11.510.912.613.616.117.018.618.817.215.914.611.6178.4
Average afternoon relative humidity (%)50545761677375696255565261
Source: [11]

According to the IBRA, Thredbo Top Station has an Alpine climate, as it lay in excess of 1,800 m (5,900 ft) above sea level. It is one of the coldest stations on mainland Australia by maximum temperatures, second only to Mount Hotham which is lower in elevation but more exposed than Thredbo. On average, the Top Station receives 56.9 snowy days annually. [12]

In Köppen climate classification terms, Thredbo Top Station would fit the criteria of having a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc); one with short, cool summers and long, cold winters. It is bordering on a Subantarctic climate (Dfc), as the mean temperature in its coolest month approaches −3 °C (27 °F).

Climate data for the area are 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.

On 3 February 2023, Thredbo Top Station reached a maximum of just 0.1 °C (32.2 °F) — its coldest on record for the height of summer. [13] The coldest maximum temperature for any summer month was −1.0 °C (30.2 °F) on 2 December 2019. Temperature records commenced in 1966 at Thredbo AWS.

Thredbo Top Station

Climate data for Thredbo AWS (1991–2020, extremes 1966–present); 1,957 m (6,421 ft) AMSL; 36.49° S, 148.29° E
Record high °C (°F)27.8
Average high °C (°F)17.2
Daily mean °C (°F)12.4
Average low °C (°F)7.5
Record low °C (°F)−6.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)96.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)10.511.011.811.412.414.614.415.
Average afternoon relative humidity (%)59626170758486848172656172
Source: Bureau of Meteorology [14]

Other sporting activities

Thredbo Leisure Centre

The Thredbo Leisure Centre, opened in 1996, houses a 50 m (160 ft) and 25 m (82 ft) indoor swimming pool, wading pool with a waterslide, an inflatable obstacle course (known as the "Mission Inflatable"), two full-size basketball courts, a gymnasium, squash courts, a physiotherapist and a 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 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 (2,000 ft) below. With approximately 4.2 kilometres (2.6 mi) 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 510 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.

Thredbo's Sustainability Initiatives


Thredbo has acheived EarthCheck Sustainable Destinations Gold certification, aligning with its commitment to environmental responsibility and climate sustainability [15] . This achievement is part of Thredbo's broader strategy to reduce energy consumption and emissions, furthering its environmental conservation efforts [16] .

Waste Reduction Efforts

The resort is actively working to diminish its waste generation impacts on the Snowy Mountains region. Recognising the limitations and environmental drawbacks of landfill waste, Thredbo has set targets to minimise waste-to-landfill by promoting waste avoidance, reuse, and recycling as viable alternatives [17] .

Water Management

Thredbo's location within the Australian Alps places it within the catchment areas of significant rivers like the Snowy and Murray Rivers. The resort acknowledges the importance of these water bodies in Australia's freshwater system and is committed to responsible water usage. The Thredbo River, a crucial source for the resort's water supply for drinking, washing, and swimming, is a key focus of their water conservation efforts.

Measuring Impact: "Person Year" Metric

To effectively measure and manage its waste-to-landfill and water usage, Thredbo employs the "Person Year" metric. This metric accounts for the amount of time an individual spends in Thredbo, allowing for a consistent annual comparison that takes into account the seasonal nature of tourism in the area. This approach is designed to encourage all residents, staff, and visitors of Thredbo to contribute to waste reduction and efficient water use.

See also

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  10. Annual snow days sorted in descending order of average occurrence by
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  12. Annual snow days sorted in descending order of average occurrence by
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