Words: Jock Morrissey
Australia is often left out of the limelight when it comes to powder recognition. We all know that our terrain parks rank highly on the world stage, but what about our powder and freeriding terrain? Well, relatively speaking, we're beat if you compare seasonal snowfall statistics to powder juggernauts such as Japan and Canada. With that being said, the Australian Alpine region is home to some exceptional terrain. Perisher is Australia's largest resort and boasts a whopping 1,245 hectares of rideable terrain. With a summit elevation of 2,054 metres and a lift capacity of 53,990 riders lifted per hour, there's certainly no shortage of options on a powder day. Below we've compiled a comprehensive guide to our top five spots to ride on a powder day.
Perisher's expansive terrain stretches across seven mountain peaks
Banked slalom ruts? Rock drops? Tree gaps? Leichhardt ticks a lot of boxes. Some of the most memorable days I've ever spent snowboarding have been ripping in and around the Leichhardt area. When the T-bar was operating, you could lap this run rapidly, which made for some high-octane shredding. Perisher recently added a new quad chair, making it even more accessible to the public. Get there quick and early; when the snow is deep, Leichhardt is quite often the number one choice for regular resort rats.
Jesse Kennedy narrowly threads the needle through a Leichhardt tree gap. Photo: Jock Morrissey
Between Eyre T-Bar and the southern boundary fence on Mt. Perisher, you can find some amazing terrain. Since this zone is quite exposed with next to no protection, the whole face is home to countless wind lips and deep snowdrifts. Throughout the top section, you’ll find a plethora of rock drops and side hits. The only drawback to this area is the exposure; If there’s even the slightest amount of wind or snow, you’ll undoubtedly feel it. Being on the boundary of the resort, you can expect to ride this area from midday onwards and still find plenty of freshies.
Zali's is a kick-ass run that can hold plenty of powder when the conditions are prime. You can really unleash those big Travis Rice-inspired turns and bomb down with plenty of speed due to the gradient of the slope. Since Zali's is virtually in the middle of Blue Cow, you should aim to get there as early as possible to beat the crowds that will certainly start building from mid-morning onwards.
Guthega can seem a world away when all you want to do is rip some turns. Due to its location, the only riders you'll be competing with are usually just the lodge guests, so don't stress, there's plenty of real estate for the taking. The crowds tend to build around mid-morning and midday, so if you get there early you can get in a handful of epic runs without a whole lot of competition. If your preference is cruisy pow laps with plenty of open faces for the taking, then head to Guthega and you'll get exactly that.
Tommy Steinbacher scores on a prime bluebird day. Photo: Jock Morrissey
Interceptor is an insanely fun spot for rock drops and tightly-knit tree runs. If you follow the ridgeline along the western side you'll find yourself an abundance of satisfying tree runs and natural hits. With such a diverse selection of natural terrain, try to get there early with a foot of overnight fresh and you're set for some amazing riding.
Nate Johnstone locked 'n' loaded during the Blizzard of Oz