When money REALLY is no object.
When it comes to Australian ski fields, you’re definitely placing your wallet in the “high risk” category. Petrol costs, expensive internal flights, ski/board hire, necessary lessons and even simple dining can make you dismiss this year’s snow vacation.
Fortunately, commonsense usually prevails with the first winter chill. Every year ski-goers are buried under an avalanche of cheap, early bird winter deals – when in reality Australia is known far and wide for its astronomical prices. Independent ski research company Snow24 recently released a study of the comparative world lift ticket prices, which saw Australia ranked in the top three for expense.
But what if money was no object? We’ve hoisted our snow shovels and dug up the absolute top-end ski fields travel experiences previously limited to the filthy rich. So slip on those Versace pumps as we guide you step-by-step through the ultimate in luxury and expense when vacationing in Australia’s superlative ski field, Thredbo.
To begin this red carpet ski trip, a fully serviced private jet or helicopter awaits its notably affluent passengers at their closest airport, before transporting them to the destination of their choice. For Thredbo and Perisher Blue, that tiny airfield will be Cooma; like all NSW alpine resorts, they’re based in Kosciuszko NP, which attracts around three million visitors each year. For your own chopper on standby, you’re looking at around $15,000 for a weekend jaunt. Check out Aviation Tourism Australia at www.avta.com.au).
After a pleasant and deliciously comfortable flight, a chauffeur-driven limousine awaits your arrival to transport you to your luxurious accommodation.
Thredbo has a reasonable choice when it comes to total on-snow indulgence – including the recent five star addition of Rockpool Lodge (www.rockpoolodge.com.au), but reputedly the finest private lodge within cooee of the mountain is the award-winning Seidler Lodge, designed by internationally renowned modern architect Harry Seidler, best known for the Australia Square Tower and the MLC building in Sydney.
With four bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms, from here on out not another manicured finger will be lifted in your exclusive lodge. Now that you’ve arrived, the in-house services take it from here. A personal shopper for all your culinary delights can be prearranged, as can a personal stylist. A quick pop down to the shops to buy, wrap and deliver the birthday gift you forgot is no longer an issue as your new entourage is on call to take care of the tiniest detail – all included in the standard options pack. For the elite, you’ll acquire a personal chef to whip up the gourmet meal that, well, you can’t. A chauffeur is on hand, as well as organised ski hire and a personal private ski instructor from Thredbo’s finest, which comes gift wrapped with that one thing every Very Important Person deserves on the slopes: the ability to queue jump the plebs. Seidler Lodge rents for $14,475 per week during peak season, with an extra $5,000 or so required for the extras services (www.thredbo.com.au).
Still in Thredbo, but upping the anti in on-snow lodging, are the incredible properties handled by Ski In Ski Out Chalets. These include the five-bedroom Penthouse On the Run, the equally luxurious Eagles View 1 and 2, and the aptly named Ski In Ski Out – all of which command unbeatable locations mere metres from the Crackenback Supertrail, a popular Thredbo ski run, providing perfect positioning for a little shameless laughing-down-upon-transient-snow-sport-enthusiasts. This last property, Ski In Ski Out, boasts four bedrooms and bathrooms, a steam room and a large covered deck for a simmering BBQ and even more simmering Jacuzzi. There are few better-positioned lodges in Australia, and each of these will set you back $11,200 per week in peak season (www.skiinskiout.com.au).
To be the best, it seems you also have to look the best – and part of the whole “glam snow bunny” experience is moneyed precision; gearing up head-to-toe in Prada’s snow wear collection combined with chic, quilted-leather Coco Chanel skis or a matte black Versace snowboard should more than adequately prepare you for the mountain.
However, even with a pilates-toned body a day spent looking like a Gucci pin-up for Jet-Set Life on the Slopes Magazine can become tiresome. Luckily, your R&R begins within the Denman Hotel Spa for a four-hour Pure Alpine Bliss Package (www.thedenman.com.au). This includes a full body massage, facial, eyelash tint and shape, pedicure and manicure. For him, a Snowman Package will smooth away the pain of a day’s hard telemarking, and help rewind in time for your personal stylist – before an exclusive mountaintop dinner at Eagles Nest (via the Kosciusko Express Chairlift, 02 6457 6019).
The finest dining experience in the area is probably the award-winning Credo Restaurant at the southern end of Thredbo Village, but at 1,937m the Eagles Nest enjoys the reputation of being Australia’s highest mainland restaurant – and with 270-degree panoramic views of the surrounding tranquil national park and Thredbo Village all to yourself, it’s certainly a unique experience. You and your group of friends can hire out the entire place for a four-course meal for around $2,000. And for the rest of us, well, we can just wait for the off-season prices.