Skiing with kids really can go either way. At one end of the spectrum it can be all snowballs and hot chocolates, but on the other it can be meltdowns in puffy clothes with heavy ski boots on. Either way, where you stay while you’re at the snow has a massive bearing on how these things play out – with kids in tow or not!
We decided that Falls Creek was the pick for a family ski trip for my toddler son’s first run down the slopes. We also decided that it wasn’t all about him and that we wanted to be somewhere that could also feel like a getaway, not just ‘taking the routine on the road’, so we splashed on Astra Lodge, a five star boutique hotel with views over the Summit, an indoor pool, bar and restaurant as well as a shuttle back from the bottom of the hill, what more could we want!
From Melbourne, it’s an easy four and a half hour drive to Falls Creek or from Sydney it’s a long journey of about eight hours direct, but there’s lots of exploring along the way and you can break the trip up in towns like Yackandandah, Beechworth and Bright.
Falls Creek is well-known for being family friendly. The ski school drop off is easy to get to, and the village is ski-in/ski-out, which is handy with kids at the end of the day. There’s a daycare centre for young children and most lodges will organise a babysitter. If you’re travelling with your partner or friends, you’ll get just as much enjoyment out of it with spas, bars, cafes and restaurants dotted throughout the village.
The Astra experience began before we even hit the lodge. Because the village is on the mountain, cars are parked in the overnight parking and guests catch the oversnow up to the accommodation. In our case, the manager Tom roared down in the schmick black oversnow, to whisk us up the hill.
The stone and timber lodge is warm, contemporary and inviting, and our recently renovated room carried on the timber theme. We opted for a studio apartment which was spacious and slept up to four people with a king size bed and fold down bunk beds. There was also a well equipped kitchen and a luxurious bathroom complete a window for watching the snow fall from the shower.
Luckily for us, a Snowmageddon forecast had done her work and the mountain was covered with snow. The runs here range from beginner through to black, keeping even the keenest skiers and boarders happy with the incline. You can also organise to do backcountry tours to really blow the cobwebs out.
The best skiing for intermediates is accessed via the Falls Express lift, while more advanced skiers enjoy the Summit and Ruined Castle. Falls Creek is known for wind hold days, so it’s best to get out whenever you can, although lift upgrades are currently underway, which will drastically improve this.
While there are some great dining options in the village, we enjoyed most meals at Astra Lodge, but if you do venture out, try Milch Cafe & Bar nearby, enjoy the open fire at Elk Restaurant or head to The Man Hotel for classic pub fare.