Perisher is one of two major resorts in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains, Australia, along with Thredbo. Perisher is made up of several ski areas (Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow) which combined in 1995 to form the current resort. By skiable terrain, Perisher is the largest resort in Australia.
Photo: Guthega at the back side of Perisher
Winter season starts Queen's birthday weekend in June (if the snow is good) and runs until the first weekend in October (Labour Day).
Photo: Powder day at Perisher - near Ridge Quad Chair
Perisher is Australia’s largest resort by skiable terrain with 1,245ha (12.45sq kms / 3,076 acres) of terrain open to riders. This puts it at close to three times the second biggest resort in Australia, Falls Creek in Victoria.
The resort of Perisher sits around seven peaks with runs cascading off each.
However, the vertical drop is quite small at Perisher at 355m (1,165ft), which means that most of the runs on the mountain are quite short, and certainly a lot shorter than at Thredbo.
There is also a lot of traversing required to move around and you often feel that you are spending a large portion of the day on cat trails. This can be a challenge for snowboarders in particular, who may prefer Thredbo’s steeper pitch.
Beginners will find a lot to like about Perisher with a number of easy beginner areas such as Perisher front valley and Pleasant Valley. Smiggin Holes is another good area as it is somewhat removed from the rest of the resort. If you are a season worker in your first season, there is plenty to like about Perisher.
Perisher is essentially a mountain for intermediates. Most of the runs on the mountain are intermediate cruisers, with even the black runs not offering a lot in the way of challenging terrain.
There are plenty of little kickers, jibs and natural hits to find around Perisher, in particular over near Mt Perisher. Mt Perisher has the best and longest intermediate terrain on the mountain and is a popular place to go to carve after a dump.
Guthega, over on the back side, is another nice intermediate area to cruise on a sunny day.
Photo: Nice cruiser at Guthega, Perisher
Expert terrain is in short supply at Perisher. Most of the terrain is intermediate or beginner and the few black runs are not particularly challenging. Runs off the Summit Quad Chair at Mt Blue Cow, or those off the old Olympic T-bar are the steepest runs on the mountain.
If you are looking for steeper challenge during the season, where you have the day off work it is often a good idea to get together a group of friends and head around to Thredbo.
Parks are one of Perisher’s biggest drawcards. Perisher has five parks, including one under lights for night riding. The parks are the best and biggest in Australia and Perisher is the likely Australian resort for international riders on their southern hemisphere winter.
The park on the front valley is the biggest which gives a good view of riders boosting over the large jumps as you take the Perisher Quad Express from the base.
Temperatures will usually be between 1-8 degrees Celsius at the base during the daytime. Temperatures up the top will be lower and usually around -5c, although temperatures can get down to -20c when the wind chill is factored in. The percentage of fine weather days during winter is 70%.
Perisher’s advantage is that the snow quality holds better than at Thredbo. Perisher’s runs face in all directions, and you can consequently usually find a decent patch of snow, unlike Thredbo which has most of its runs facing in the same south-easterly direction.
Over the past 15 years, around the resort the average maximum snow depth has been around 1.9m. As with all Australian winters, when the snow is good it can have great coverage with thickish powder, but when the snow doesn't fall there will be large patches of dirt and the season opening can be delayed.
Photo: Perisher Front Valley
The town of Jindabyne serves as the base town for both Thredbo and Perisher, with Perisher being a 30 minute drive (31km) from Jindabyne when the weather is good. Jindabyne is around a 5 ½ hour drive from Sydney (450km).
Canberra is the closet airport, which is approximately 2 ½ hours drive from Jindabyne. Many seasonal workers choose to fly to Sydney and make their way to Jindabyne by bus or car.
Perisher is accessible by skitube, which is Australia’s only of its sort. The skitube is a train which takes you up to the base of the resort. This allows you to park in the car park close to Jindabyne and saves you from having to put on wheel chains and fighting for the limited car parking at the resort (although it can sometimes snow at the tube and National Parks has a pretty unenforced rule that you must carry chains to the tube if in a two-wheel drive).
Perisher is also accessible by road. If driving up all the way, the chains rule is more likely to be enforced particularly if it’s snowing.
In peak season (early July-mid September), there are bus services including Murrays Coaches and Greyhound Australia running between Sydney/Canberra and Perisher. However, at either end of the winter season, transport between Jindabyne and Canberra/Sydney is scarce.
Transport to and from the mountains are also available through various Facebook pages, including the ‘Jindabyne, To or From’ Facebook Page.
The TransConnect bus service between Jindabyne and Canberra run by Snowy River Shire Council has now finished, with no plans to resume the service at this stage.
You could contact Snowy River Cooma Monaro Community Transport on (02) 6451 1054 who may be able to assist with alternative transport, though it was designed more for transport between medical and community services.
Get your car serviced before coming to work for the season, and get a lot of anti-freeze to make sure your car starts on cold mornings.
There is no staff transport to get to work.
Staff at on-mountain accommodation at Smiggin Holes and Perisher Valley will be able to easily walk to work each morning.
During peak time and weekends, staff in Jindabyne and at The Station will need a car or someone to get a lift from each morning to the skitube to get up to work.
It is around a 15-20 minute drive to the skitube from Jindabyne.
During quieter times, you are able to drive up all the way up the mountain to work, which is around a 30 minute drive on a clear day from Jindabyne.
If you are getting a lift with someone to and from work, it is normal to make a contribution of around of $2.00 (one-way) to the driver as payment for petrol and servicing costs. Petrol is super expensive in Jindabyne, plus your driver will likely need at least one car service, snow chains, registration and more throughout the season.
Hiring is done via the website at www.perisherjobs.com.au/positions.php
Hiring opens around February each year. Perisher takes on around 1,200 seasonal staff each season and has around 140 year-round employees. If you are selected for an interview, these are usually held around March leading up to the season, and at the latest by mid-May.
Interviews are conducted around Australia including in Jindabyne, Adelaide, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Gold Coast and Brisbane. The majority of winter jobs are conducted in a group interview and take around 3 hours. You will need to be in Australia for these interviews unless you are a foreign applicant applying for a sponsored visa.
You will need to have a valid Australian visa to work at Perisher. See Work a Snow Season in Australia for information on getting a working holiday visa to Australia.
Perisher offers sponsored work visas (meaning you don’t need to get a working holiday visa) for select jobs that can't be filled through the domestic employment market. This usually includes snowsports instructors, qualified chef and snow groomers (with at least two to three seasons of experience doing this).
If you get a sponsored role, Perisher will help with getting a sponsored 457 visa. However, if you are eligible for a working holiday visa, it is usually much simpler to do this.
As a side note, to get a second working holiday visa in Australia, you need to work in a regional Australia for three months (usually fruit picking or working on a farm). Working at Perisher does not qualify as such a job.
Photo: Under the Carpark Double Chair at Guthega.
See Jobs Available at Mountain Resorts for a description of ski resort jobs and which ones are the good ones.
Most seasonal employees at Perisher are casual staff. Entry level jobs will attract the minimum wage which is set by the Alpine Resort Workers Award (2010) and currently stands at $19.74 an hour.
You get a season pass to Perisher and season access to the skitube. There is no reciprocal pass with Thredbo or Charlotte’s Pass. Long-term serving employees will be eligible for a dependent’s pass as well. You get free ski lessons too.
Perisher has around 600 beds for winter staff each season in staff accommodation. This is based in Jindabyne, just outside Jindabyne at 'The Station' and on mountain (Smiggin Holes and Perisher Base).
Staff accommodation is not guaranteed with a job and is only open to full-time staff. Positions in housing are based on your job and, if there is space left over, on a first-come first-serve basis.
Jindabyne and The Station
Around 5km down the road from Jindabyne is 'The Station'. The Station has room for around 1,500 people in total and is often a hub for entertainment at night. There is a cool vibe and it is the biggest of the staff accommodations, plus it is close enough to Jindabyne to allow nights out there.
On days off work, it makes it easy to head to Thredbo to change the scenery. Living at 'The Station' or in Jindabyne is probably the best choice for nightlife and for the convenience of Jindabyne shops and amenities. You also have better access to Thredbo on days off work. Most Perisher staff live in Jindabyne or at The Station.
You will either need a car, or have friends on hand with one, in order to get to work in the morning as there is no Perisher staff transport to get you from the The Station to the skitube (though lifts are easy to come by). Jindabyne to Bullocks Flat (skitube base) is around 15 minutes.
Yurts at The Station have two single beds per room with a shared living and kitchen area, including a TV, couch, fridge, stove and dining table. Food is not included.
All inclusive at The Station has three-share studios. Beds and living areas are combined. You can get daily meals here from the Bistro which is deducted from your rent.
Around the town of Jindabyne are the Jindabyne Apartments. These are between four and eight share places. Couples will find double beds here unlike at other staff accommodation.
Each of the apartments is furnished with a fridge, TV, oven and bedding. Jindabyne apartments are a good choice if you want to live in Jindabyne but stay a little removed from the madness of staff accommodation at The Station.
On-mountain accommodation is popular with those who want an easy commute to work. Willow Lodge at Smiggin Holes has dorm-style accommodation with three-share rooms. There is a communal kitchen and cooking area as well as a lounge room.
The other on-mountain accommodation is The Blocks at Perisher Valley. This has four bedroom units, with each bedroom being two-share. The kitchen and living area are shared with seven others.
On-mountain, there is a small supermarket, post office, clothing retail shop and pizza restaurant in the Perisher Skitube building. The Perisher Centre has JAX Chargrill, Ski Rock Café, Bazil's Bar, Slopestyle retail outlet, Adi's ski-tuning centre, a jewellery store, newsagent, pharmacy, clothing retail shops and other eateries and coffee shops.
You cannot park your car at either The Blocks or Willow Lodge, instead you will need to park your car at Bullocks Flat at the base of the skitube and catch the train up to the accommodation.
This can be a pain, and makes it hard to go out in Jindabyne for the night unless you have somewhere to stay in Jindabyne. This means that you are stuck on mountain each night and most of the parties are staff parties at the accommodation, including pool nights.
If staff accommodation is not for you, it is possible to find a place to rent in Jindabyne. You could arrive in Jindabyne and try the Real Estate agents such as Jindabyne Real Estate, Raine and Horne Jindabyne, and Main Range Real Estate.
There is no resort town at Perisher although there are a couple of condos and apartments at the base. As such, there is no real après-ski on mountain or much activity once the lifts have shut down.
Thredbo has much more in the way of après-ski. Staff accommodation on-mountain at Perisher is therefore much quieter than then the staff accommodation in Jindabyne and at 'The Station' just outside Jindabyne.
Jindabyne is where riders and seasonal workers like to hang out when looking for a drink or music. Jindabyne is a small alpine town with a nice collection of pubs, pizza hangouts and Mexican, Chinese and Thai restaurants. There are a number of local services such as banks, a post office, gear shops and most things you would need during the season.
Jindabyne has a year-round population of around 2,000 but this expands considerably in winter with seasonal workers and tourists.
Popular hangouts for seasonal staff include the Banjo Paterson Inn, the Lake Jindabyne Hotel (or ‘LJ’s’), with spacious bar and bistro, and the Jindabyne Bowling Club (‘the bowlo’).
Each of these rotates through a number of weekly events, which include dinner specials, trivia, ‘cash booth’, live music, and club nights. Wednesday is the evening of choice for seasonal staff looking to party.
Jindabyne gets a lot of live music and bands who pass through each winter. Past acts have included Chingy. Throughout the season in Jindabyne other gigs include well-known Australian bands and DJs.
Perisher has a lot of family events during the season on-mountain, and it is well worth checking out the terrain park events which attract the best riders in Australia and many overseas riders too.