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Thredbo: Jobs, Seasonal Accommodation, the Terrain, and Nightlife

Thredbo - Seasonal Worker's Guide

Thredbo - Friday FlatsPhoto: Friday Flats at Thredbo

 

Location and Getting to Thredbo

Thredbo is located approximately 500km, or six hours’ drive, south-west of Sydney. The nearest international airport is Canberra Airport, approximately three hours’ drive from Jindabyne; however, many seasonal workers choose to fly in to Sydney and make their way to the ski fields by road.

Thredbo is one of the two major New South Wales ski resorts, the other being Perisher. Jindabyne is at the base of both Perisher and Thredbo and acts as the major service town for the NSW ski resorts.

In peak season (early July-mid September), coach services including Murrays Coaches and Greyhound Australia operate regular direct services between Sydney/Canberra and Thredbo. However, at either end of the winter season, transport between Jindabyne and Canberra/Sydney is scarce.

 

Thredbo - Funnelweb runPhoto: The Funnelweb run, looking down at the village

 

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.

Other options for sourcing transport to and from the mountains are through various Facebook pages, including Thredbo’s own ‘Thredbo Resort Staff’ Facebook group (subject to approval), as well as ‘Jindabyne, To or From’ Facebook Page.

 

Getting to Work

It is important to note that no staff/shared transport exists between Jindabyne and Thredbo. If you are living in Jindabyne and don’t own a car, you will need to arrange a lift to work each day. While Kosciuszko Thredbo Pty Ltd (the company that operates Thredbo Resort) doesn’t operate a staff shuttle, they will make every effort to arrange staff accommodation so that non-drivers are housed with at least one driver.

Still, getting to work is entirely your own responsibility, and drivers won’t always be rostered on to work at the same time as non-drivers. In other words, it pays to get to know a wide range of fellow staffers early! Jindabyne is about a half an hour drive from Thredbo.

While a solid contribution structure doesn’t exist, it’s polite to offer a minimum of $2.00 (one-way) to the person driving you to or from work as payment for petrol/costs. Petrol can be incredibly costly in the Snowy Mountains; and don’t forget that your driver is likely to have to cover the cost of at least one car service, snow chains, registration and more throughout the season.

The lack of transport options between Jindabyne and the ski fields has created somewhat of a culture of hitching, though hitchhiking isn’t advisable – mostly because it doesn’t guarantee you getting to work on time, but also because you may quickly find yourself on the receiving end of a stern talking-to by a member of the local police force.

 

Thredbo - Top of Karels T-barPhoto: At the top of Karels T-bar

The Terrain at Thredbo

Thredbo is best-known in Australia for having the longest runs and biggest vertical in Australia as well as having varied terrain, which includes options suitable for first-timers and advanced riders alike. Thredbo has the five longest runs in Australia and has probably the steepest terrain in Australia along with Mt Hotham in Victoria. On the whole, Thredbo’s terrain caters widely to intermediate riders.

Compared to Perisher, Thredbo’s runs are longer and steeper with more to offer through the trees and require less traversing throughout the day due to the steeper pitch. However, the skiable area is quite a lot smaller than Perisher.

Beginner Areas

Friday Flat, Thredbo’s beginner’s slope, has evolved and improved over many years to take its place as arguably the best first timers’ slope in Australia. Not a claim to be thrown around lightly, Friday Flat is a gentle, heavily-groomed slope, with plenty of open space, kids’ facilities and a variety of beginners’ lifts (a kids’ mini-train, two ‘snow-runners’ and Easy Does It chairlift).

Also home to Thredbo’s Snow Sports School and Thredboland (Thredbo’s ski school program for youngsters), Friday Flat operates as a meeting point for group and private lessons, as well as for families.

Intermediate Areas

The Cruiser area (affectionately known as Merritts), accessible via Gunbarrell and Cruiser chairlifts, is home to several green and easy blue runs, but can also play host to a cheeky black run or two when conditions allow for off-piste areas, along the treeline and away from the crowds, to open up.

Cruiser is also home to Thredbo’s intermediate terrain park; a relatively small park at the base of Playground (the run usually transformed into Thredbo’s skier/boarder cross course for competitions), featuring several beginner rails, boxes and moderate jumps. Be warned, though – the dreaded Cruiser ‘funnel’ of over five different runs, a skier cross course and a terrain park back down to a single quad chairlift can bring about chaos and long wait times of a weekend and during school holidays (early July).

 

Thredbo - High Noon runPhoto: High Noon run - one of the longer intermediate runs on the mountain

 

Advanced Areas

Central Spur, home to Antons and Sponars T-Bars, is home to natural, un-groomed, steeper riding that’s perfect following fresh snowfall, yet also holds up better than most of the mountain during a rougher season. As intermediate riders often reject the T-Bars in favour the comfort of the easterly chairs, Antons and Sponars T-Bars are often free of crowds, allowing for uninterrupted carving and shorter wait times.

In cases where international and local freestyle competitors visit Thredbo to show off their skills in various sponsored competitions, the upper part of Antons will often be chosen as home for a custom-built Big Air jump or half pipe.

Thredbo’s Supertrail, stretching from the summit of Karels T-Bar to the base of Kosciuszko Express quad chair, is Australia’s longest run at 5.9km. From the top, Karels allows access to the off-piste Golf Course Bowl, which can offer thrilling advanced riding on a rare powder day. Australia’s highest lifted point, on a clear day, will give you a view all the way south to the Victorian Alps, and all the way back to Lake Jindabyne.

The Supertrail itself is a groomed trail suitable for upper-intermediate to advanced riders, with steeper sections towards the top of Kosciuszko Express that may intimidate the more cautious intermediate riders. The lower Supertrail houses Thredbo’s Rossignol race course, a facility used by both Thredbo Snow Sports and private race clubs for lessons, training and competition.

2014 also saw the addition of a new ‘Super Park’ on the lower Supertrail, with a sequence of several hefty jumps, more advanced rails and various features for intermediate to advanced riders.

Mountain Stats

  • Riding Terrain: 480ha (1186 acres)
  • Vertical Drop: 672m
  • Base Elevation: 1365m
  • Summit Elevation: 2037m
  • Beginner: 16% Intermediate: 67% Advanced/expert: 17%
  • Longest Run: 5.9km
  • Lifts: 14
  • Average Snowfall: 2.03m

Temperatures and Snowfall

The 2014 season saw an early dump of 130cm over the space of several days in early July – well above average for the same time in previous years – and the resort received another 25cm or so later in the season. While the effects of climate change have been making an obvious and measurable impact on levels of snowfall in Australia over the past couple of decades, resorts in Australia’s snowy mountains can still reasonably expect 160-200cm of snowfall per winter season.

Thredbo’s runs are positioned on one face of the mountain, meaning that it can get icy at Thredbo if it hasn't snowed for a while. If Perisher has an advantage over Thredbo, it’s that Perisher faces all directions and you are therefore always able to find a nice patch of snow, which is not always the case at Thredbo.

Temperatures vary in Thredbo according to the time of year, however will usually hover between 1-8 degrees celsius in the village during the daytime.

Temperatures at Kosciuszko Express Top Station vary wildly according to weather conditions and its exposed position susceptible to strong winds. Wind chill can often render temperatures at the top station parallel to that of about -20 degrees Celsius, though on a clear day, temperatures will sit between -2 and 3 degrees.

Getting a Job at Thredbo

Winter seasonal jobs with Thredbo are usually advertised via the Thedbo employment website anywhere from February onwards, while interviews are conducted around April-May each year. Kosciuszko Thredbo (KT) will conduct interview ‘road trips’, usually holding interview days at various locations up and down the East Coast (including Sydney and Brisbane at the very least).

Likewise, the company will hold induction days in both Sydney and Brisbane, and additional induction days for international/regional employees, returning staff and those otherwise unable to make it to a capital city for induction in the resort itself early on in the season.

International Applicants

For international applicants, KT is usually happy to conduct interviews via Skype, or telephone if absolutely necessary. All international applicants require an appropriate workers’ visa – for more information on working holiday visas in Australia, see Snow Jobs in Australia.

Roles and Pay

Roles with KT include all the usual suspects – Guest Services/Ticketing, Gate Attendants, Snow Sports Instructors, Lift Attendants, Retail & Rental Supervisors, Food & Beverage Attendants, Environmental Services and Bus Drivers. Thredbo also requires employees at its hotel, Thredbo Alpine Hotel, with roles including Front Desk Receptionists, Bar Attendants, Housekeeping, Night Auditors, etc.

KT also employs staff to operate its Leisure Centre; requiring Front Desk Attendants, Lifeguards, Fitness Instructors, Swim Instructors and qualified and unqualified Childcare workers. See Jobs Available at Mountain Resorts for information on ski resort jobs.

Most winter employees are paid on a casual basis. As with any ski resort, pay obviously varies according to the role in question, though seasonal employees can reasonably expect to be paid $18.00-$23.00 per hour. For more specific information, refer to Fair Work Australia’s information on the Alpine Resort Workers Award (2010).

Instructors

KT employs snow sports instructors from all over the world, and welcomes instructors with various strains of international qualification (APSI, CSIA, BASI, NZSIA, Maestro di Sci, etc). Thredbo welcomes ski, snowboard, race, moguls, freestyle, cross country and outdoor adventures instructors of all ages and levels.

Snow Sports Instructors are paid on a casual basis, and are subject to a ‘ranking’ system, which takes into account the instructor’s level of qualification, years with the company, regularity of private requests, specialised skills, etc. In an instructor’s first year, it’s likely that they will be regularly assigned to group lessons (divided into adult, teen and child), or Thredboland (Thredbo’s ski school program for children aged 3-6).

The ranking system rewards higher-ranked instructors with more hours, and more private (as opposed to group) bookings. Snow Sports Instructors are incentivised to encourage guests to book further lessons – if a guest re-books, the instructor will be paid a higher amount for both lessons. Once an instructor reaches a certain amount of privately requested lessons in a season (usually approximately 200hrs’ worth of lessons), the instructor’s overall base rate of pay will increase.

KT encourages its Snow Sports Instructors to upskill and further their level of qualification, and will run APSI courses and exams intermittently throughout the season for instructors wishing to gain an extra level.

Staff Perks

All KT winter staff receive a free season pass, allowing access to the mountain’s lifts and leisure centre (pool and gym, including half-price group fitness classes).

Other perks include 25% off retail and rental at Thredbo’s two retail stores; 25% off food and beverage at Thredbo-owned outlets (10% off alcohol purchases at select outlets only); discounted and stand-by rates on accommodation at Thredbo Alpine Hotel; and free group ski and snowboard lessons in select weeks of the season (usually Monday-Friday in non-peak times).

Customer Service incentives are common throughout the season, rewarding displays of top-notch service with gear, vouchers, etc. Whole-staff drink functions are held in-resort once or twice throughout the season, while individual departments coordinate their own end-of-season parties (usually at a small cost to staff members).

Other Jobs in Thredbo

In addition to Thredbo’s own hotel, the Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Thredbo Village is home to many independently-owned lodges, hotels and apartment complexes, as well as shops, restaurants, cafés and bars. Many lodges require chefs, bar attendants, housekeepers and front desk attendants throughout the winter season. Try: Black Bear Inn, Lantern Apartments, The Denman, River Inn, Woodridge Chalets, Elevation, Candlelight Lodge.

Furthermore, the mountain is home to multiple independently-owned eateries and bars (Thredbo doesn’t own any of the on-mountain restaurants). These restaurants are great options for seasonal workers, and will often provide staff accommodation in the village. Importantly, most employees of these independently-owned lodges and restaurants are eligible for a ‘sub-lessee’ rate on their Thredbo season pass (usually half-price). Try: Eagle’s Nest Restaurant, Merritts Mountain House, Frostbite, Kareela Hutte, Avalanche Café, Black Sallees.

Finding Accommodation for the Winter Season

Applications for staff accommodation are accepted upon an employee’s acceptance of a winter role. Staff accommodation is available in both Jindabyne and Thredbo Village, although accommodation in Thredbo is usually reserved for those with non-standard working hours (e.g. snowmakers), crucial roles or notable tenure with the company.

 

Thredbo - Staff AccommodationPhoto: Staff Accommodation Kitchen

 

Rent is $175 per week (Jindabyne) or $195 per week (Thredbo), which includes a $40 levy to cover your electricity bill, and is taken out of your pay before tax.

Staff accommodation is in shared quarters; usually two people (of the same gender) to a room, and between four and eight people per dwelling.

Staff accommodation in Jindabyne is scattered around town, and varies in type – seventies-style apartments and split-level two-bedroom houses are common. Couples’ rooms (with double bed) are in short supply, and are available upon request. Friends or travelling partners can also request to be housed together.

All staff accommodation options include a small kitchen with all facilities required to cook meals; at least one bathroom; laundry facilities, some shared; TV and small living area. Cleaning is a shared responsibility, and house inspections are conducted at least once per season.

Other accommodation options for the season can be sourced via the various real estate agencies in Jindabyne (try Jindabyne Real Estate, Raine and Horne Jindabyne, Main Range Real Estate), as well as via community noticeboards such as the Snow Season Central forum and Facebook groups including ‘Jindabyne Notice Board’ on Facebook, ‘Thredbo Notice Board’ and ‘Looking to Live Around Jindabyne’.

Thredbo - Staff AccommodationPhoto: Staff Accommodation lounge

 

Nightlife

Jindabyne is home to a multitude of restaurants, and a few great pubs. Dinner options include the usual pizza and pasta, Mexican, Chinese, Thai and more.

After-dark venues most popular with seasonal staff include the Banjo Paterson Inn (or ‘Banj’), bar, bistro and nightclub area; Lake Jindabyne Hotel (or ‘LJ’s’), with spacious bar and bistro, and the Jindabyne Bowling Club (‘the bowlo’). Each plays host to a variety of weekly events, including dinner specials, trivia nights, the ‘cash booth’, live music, ‘locals nights’, club nights, etc. Wednesday is the evening of choice for seasonal staff looking to party (coincidentally or not, Wednesday is pay day for resort staff).

Up the hill in Thredbo, Thredbo’s après-ski is the best in NSW and possibly Australia. The Thredbo Alpine Hotel operates until late, running an outdoor poolside bar from mid-afternoon to around 7pm, as well as the more relaxed, more upmarket Lounge Bar in the hotel’s lobby, serving champagne and cocktails to the tune of guest vocalists and DJs to the wee hours.

Thredbo’s Bistro is a great choice for those looking to have an affordable meal and a few beers after a hard day skiing, and is a great spot from which to watch the weekly Saturday Flare Run on the Supertrail. Heller Keller bar and Schuss Bar are among options for those hoping to party a little harder, and are host to locals nights, occasional live music and skate nights (a weekly event in the Keller Bar in 2014).

Up in the village, The Denman is a popular hotspot for those wanting just a few more drinks once the pub closes, and often sees the dance floor pumping hard until around 3am. Thredbo Village is home to various dinner options, including a casual pizzeria and Brazilian Churrascaria, while lodges around the village provide both casual and fine dining options.

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