Ski Season Update

More capacity to make snow, more machines to groom it and more specials to make it cheaper.

That's what awaits skiers and boarders in the Australian snowfields this winter.

For renters there's more than $1 million worth of new gear to hire.

For those making a visit by air there are more flights.

And for those with more time to ski there's the return of the Super Pass linking three major resorts in NSW and Victoria.

The investment in snowmaking continues, despite the flown-on effects of the global financial crisis.

A $2.5 million project in Victoria's sister resorts of Mt Hotham and Falls Creek will increase Hotham's snowmaking capacity by 40 per cent and allow night skiing on Australia's longest beginner run at Falls Creek.

Mt Buller has invested over $1m on snowmaking and snow grooming, and further snowmaking capacity will be rolled out at the major NSW resorts of Perisher and Thredbo, too.

Thredbo has completed the final stage of a $6 million automation program covering 75 hectares of the resort, including most middle and lower slopes.

Perisher and Thredbo will both unveil around half a million dollars worth of new rental equipment, and both have spent similar amounts expanding their snow grooming fleets.

There will be four flights a week from Sydney to the airport servicing Mt Hotham, with connections to all capital cities.

Falls Creek will boast a new magic carpet, complete with tunnel, to keep under-fives sheltered from the elements.

All major resorts are offering a swag of specials, including early bird packages in June and spring skiing deals in September.

They apply not only to the swanky ends of Perisher, Thredbo, Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buller, but to the smaller fields as well.

At Mt Selwyn, for example, which is tailor made for beginners, the best deal can get a family of four skiing and accommodation for three nights for a total of $764.

Mt Buller is offering free lessons for beginners, and a bonus day for baby boomers born in or before 1954.

Skiers able to indulge their passion for much of the season will benefit again from the Super Pass covering Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham.

The Super Pass, which must be purchased before May 27, offers unlimited skiing at all three resorts for $1,149 for adults and $649 for children, students and over 65s.

"It represents excellent value with access to 74 lifts and 2,015 hectares of terrain in two states," said Perisher CEO Peter Brulisauer.

"The response in 2009 showed guests want to explore other resorts from time to time," said Hotham Skiing Company general manager Belinda Trembath.

"Its popularity has shown that Falls Creek, Hotham and Perisher are favourite winter destinations," said Falls Creek general manager Michael Callahan.

Weather forecasts predict a wetter than normal June, with snowfalls increasing dramatically in early July.

Good falls in August and September are expected to keep the cover through until the closing weekend.

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