Thredbo, New South Wales

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Thredbo Alpine Village
Thredbo logo.png
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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-Queanbeyan
Coordinates 36°30′17″S148°18′20″E / 36.50472°S 148.30556°E / -36.50472; 148.30556 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)
Longest run5 km or 3.1 mi (Village Trail from Karel's T-bar down to Friday Flats)
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, situated in a part of the Snowy Monaro Regional Council, and has been operated by Event Hospitality and Entertainment since 1987. It is about 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 around 4,150 beds, but a permanent population of only about 477 people. [1] When the mountain is fully covered by snow, Thredbo has the longest ski runs in Australia, so there are 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, and gets 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) (now known as Event Hospitality and Entertainment) purchased the head lease from Lend Lease. 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 snowrunners.

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 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 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 (Currently being dismantled to make way for a brand new purpose built Gondola, ready for Winter 2020)Double Chair1,350
Ramshead (Decommissioned)Double Chair1,770

[7] [8]

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".[ quote citation needed ] 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 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) AMSL; 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]

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

Climate data for Thredbo Village (1969–2020); 1,380 m (4,530 ft) AMSL; 36.50° S, 148.30° E
Record high °C (°F)34.8
Average high °C (°F)21.6
Average low °C (°F)7.1
Record low °C (°F)−4.4
Average precipitation mm (inches)108.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)11.010.712.113.415.716.517.618.017.115.814.611.8174.3
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) AMSL (i.e. the tree-line); being one of the coldest locations in Australia.[ citation needed ] 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 subalpine climate (Dfc); one with cool summers and very cold winters. It is bordering on, but still slightly too cold for, a humid continental climate (Dfb) classification.

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.

Thredbo Top Station

Climate data for Thredbo Top Station (1966–2020); 1,957 m (6,421 ft) AMSL; 36.49° S, 148.29° E
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 (≥ 0.2 mm)10.411.211.811.512.713.614.615.815.512.113.210.6153.0
Source: Bureau of Meteorology [13]

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 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 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.

See also

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  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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  6. Squires, Nick (14 August 2003). "Chalets and snow guns". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
  7. Thredbo Trail Map & Winter Guide 2011
  8. Thredbo Live Cams
  9. "Thredbo Development". Thredbo. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  10. Annual snow days sorted in descending order of average occurrence by
  11. "Climate statistics for Thredbo Village". Bureau of Meteorology . Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  12. Annual snow days sorted in descending order of average occurrence by
  13. "Thredbo Top Station". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.