Falls Creek Alpine Resort

Coordinates: 36°51′54″S 147°16′23″E / 36.865°S 147.273°E / -36.865; 147.273
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Falls Creek
The Ruined Castle chairlift and terrain park
The Ruined Castle chairlift and terrain park
Falls Creek is located in Alpine Shire
Falls Creek
Falls Creek
Location near Alpine Shire
LocationAlpine National Park
Australian Alps
Victoria, Australia
Nearest major cityMount Beauty - 30 km (20 mi)
Wodonga
Coordinates36°51′54″S 147°16′23″E / 36.865°S 147.273°E / -36.865; 147.273
OwnerAlpine Resorts Victoria (ARV)
Vertical   280 m (919 ft)
Top elevation1,780 m (5,840 ft)
Base elevation1,500 m (4,921 ft)
Skiable area450 ha (1,110 acres)
Trails76+
- 17% beginner
- 60% intermediate
- 23% advanced
Longest run3 km (1.9 mi), Wishing Well
Lift system16 lifts
Terrain parks4
Snowfall4 m (160 in) per year
Snowmaking~30% of slopes have snowmaking capabilities
Night skiingWed & Sat 6–9 pm
Websitefallscreek.com.au
New logo for Falls Creek
New logo for Falls Creek

The Falls Creek Alpine Resort is an alpine ski resort in the Hume region in northeastern Victoria, Australia. It is located in the Alpine National Park in the Victorian Alps, approximately 350 kilometres (220 miles) by road from Melbourne, with the nearest town being Mount Beauty, which is approximately 30 km (20 mi) away. The resort lies between an elevation of 1,500 and 1,830 m (4,921 and 6,004 ft) above sea level,[1] with the highest lifted point at 1,780 m (5,840 ft). Skiing is possible on the nearby peak of Mount McKay at 1,842 m (6,043 ft), accessed by snowcat from the resort.

The resort is an unincorporated area, directly administered by the government of Victoria, and surrounded by the Alpine Shire.

Alpine resort[edit]

Falls Creek Hotel in summer (January)
St Falls ski lodge
Huski Hotel

Falls Creek is beginner/intermediate friendly, with almost 80% of the resort dedicated to these types of skiers/snowboarders. However, Australia's notoriously fickle snow conditions ensure that snowmaking using the water from the nearby Rocky Valley Lake is sometimes, particularly early in the season, the main source of skiable snow. Consequently, like all Australian snowfields, Falls Creek's customer base is almost entirely domestic, however many international cross country skiers travel to Falls Creek for the Kangaroo Hoppet, Australia's Worldloppet event on the last Saturday of August and international snowboarders to Stylewars, The Australian Slopestyle Championships and Australia's highest sanctioned TTR World Tour event held in the first week of September.

The resort features 4500 accommodation beds, and consequently a large number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs to entertain guests at night. Some apartments are privately owned, but the resort's management requires that they must be available for hire when not occupied.

The resort also serves as a summer base to explore the national park surrounding the resort.

Falls Creek is accessible by the Bogong High Plains Road from Mount Beauty all year round, though like all of Australia's snow resorts snow chains must be carried during winter and fitted if directed. The road continues across the High Plains and descends to meet the Omeo Highway north of the hamlet of Anglers Rest, however the route from this side is closed during the snow season.[2]

In summer both routes are popular with cyclists, and various cycling events are held that involve climbing to the resort, including the popular SCODY 3 Peaks Challenge (recently renamed to Falls Creek Peaks Challenge).

Quick Statistics[edit]

  • Highest elevation: 1,842 m (6,043 ft)
  • Highest lifted elevation: 1,780 m (5,840 ft)
  • Village elevation: 1,600 m (5,250 ft)
  • Number of lifts: 16

In winter[edit]

  • Snowline elevation: 1,100 m (3,610 ft)
  • Average yearly snowfall: 4 m (160 in)
  • Average days open in winter: 128

Alpine[edit]

  • Number of Runs: 76+
  • Longest advanced run: Wishing Well, 3 km (1.9 mi)
  • Longest beginner run: Wombats Ramble, 2.2 km (1.4 mi)
  • Terrain mix: 17% beginner, 60% intermediate, 23% advanced
  • Total lift length: 8.1km
  • Lift capacity: 28,392 Passengers/hour

Cross country

  • Number of trails: 21
  • Groomed trail network: 65 km (40 mi)
  • Longest trail: Rocky Valley Dam Loop, 21 km (13 mi)
  • Terrain mix: Beginner 33% , Intermediate 48% , Advanced 19%

Lift network[edit]

Lift Name[3][4] Lift Type Manufacturer Moving Capacity / Hour Year Built Speed Ride Time Lift Length Elevation Climb
Eagle Express 4 person chair, detachable Leitner-Poma 2400 people 2018 5.1m/s 2:50 mins 800m 191m
Halley's Comet 4 person chair, detachable Doppelmayr 2400 people 1986 5.0m/s 3:20 mins 900m 200m
Summit 4 person chair, fixed Doppelmayr 2400 people 1992 2.0m/s 4:40 mins 587m 187m
International 1 person poma, detachable Poma 1000 people 1969 2.0m/s 11:00 mins 1216m 278m
Gully 3 person chair, fixed Poma 1500 people 1982 2.0m/s 6:00 mins 475m 76m
Drover's Dream 4 person chair, fixed Leitner-Poma 2400 people 2004 2.2m/s 6:00 mins 710m 104m
Towers 4 person chair, fixed Garaventa 2400 people 1999 2.0m/s 5:50 mins 634m 136m
Boardwalk Conveyor lift Sunkid 1500 people 2004 0.7m/s 2:10 mins 81m -
Mouse Trap Conveyor lift with enclosure Sunkid 1500 people 2006 0.7m/s 3:30 mins 114m -
Monkey Bar 1 person platter, fixed Doppelmayr 792 people 2006 2.0m/s 2:30 mins 271m 33m
Lakeside 1 person poma, detachable GMM 1000 people 1967 2.0m/s 7:20 mins 737m 140m
Scotts 4 person chair, fixed Doppelmayr 2400 people 1989 2.3m/s 6:00 mins 760m 150m
Ruined Castle 4 person chair, fixed, with loading conveyor Doppelmayr 2600 people 1995 2.0m/s 6:00 mins 651m 150m
The Tube Conveyor lift Sunkid 1500 people 2004 0.7m/s - - -
Pete's Train Conveyor lift Sunkid 1500 people 2018 0.7m/s - - -
Snowsports School Conveyor lift Sunkid 1500 people - 0.7m/s - - -

History[edit]

After World War II, the Kiewa electrical scheme was started in the Kiewa River valley by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. On land previously used only for summer cattle grazing in the natural alpine grasslands, the first ski lodge was built in 1948 by workers from the scheme.[5] The first lift, a rope tow, was built in 1951 and the first chairlift in Australia was constructed there in 1957.[5]

Falls Creek Post Office opened on 9 June 1958 (with telegraph and telephone facilities only until 1964).[6]

The high plains in the area were used for summer cattle grazing from 1851 until 2005, when the Government of Victoria did not renew grazing licences due to concerns about the cattle's impact on the fragile alpine environment. Some of the cattlemen's huts still survive and are a tourist attraction in summer. Mount Bogong, Victoria's highest mountain, is nearby. The nearest town to Falls Creek is Mount Beauty.

In 2019, Vail Resorts announced the acquisition of Falls Creek and Hotham for AU$174 million, and today they operate three of the largest ski resorts in Australia, including Perisher Ski Resort in New South Wales.

Climate[edit]

Falls Creek has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Dfb) with short, cool summers and cold, very snowy winters.

On February 3 2023, Falls Creek reached a top of just 0.5 °C (32.9 °F).[7]Falls Creek registered the lowest temperature ever recorded in Victoria (along with Omeo in June 1965) at −11.7 °C (10.9 °F) on 3 July 1970.[8]

Climate data for Falls Creek (1990–2023); 1,765 m AMSL; 36.87° S, 147.28° E
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 29.7
(85.5)
28.6
(83.5)
25.3
(77.5)
19.1
(66.4)
16.1
(61.0)
13.2
(55.8)
9.8
(49.6)
11.9
(53.4)
16.2
(61.2)
21.7
(71.1)
25.3
(77.5)
26.6
(79.9)
29.7
(85.5)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 17.8
(64.0)
17.1
(62.8)
14.2
(57.6)
9.8
(49.6)
5.9
(42.6)
2.8
(37.0)
1.2
(34.2)
1.9
(35.4)
5.0
(41.0)
9.1
(48.4)
12.6
(54.7)
15.1
(59.2)
9.4
(48.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.4
(56.1)
12.8
(55.0)
10.2
(50.4)
6.5
(43.7)
3.2
(37.8)
0.6
(33.1)
−0.9
(30.4)
−0.4
(31.3)
2.1
(35.8)
5.4
(41.7)
8.5
(47.3)
10.7
(51.3)
6.0
(42.8)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 8.9
(48.0)
8.5
(47.3)
6.2
(43.2)
3.2
(37.8)
0.5
(32.9)
−1.6
(29.1)
−2.9
(26.8)
−2.7
(27.1)
−0.8
(30.6)
1.6
(34.9)
4.4
(39.9)
6.3
(43.3)
2.6
(36.7)
Record low °C (°F) −3.9
(25.0)
−3.9
(25.0)
−3.6
(25.5)
−6.9
(19.6)
−7.7
(18.1)
−8.6
(16.5)
−8.5
(16.7)
−9.6
(14.7)
−8.6
(16.5)
−7.0
(19.4)
−6.3
(20.7)
−4.8
(23.4)
−9.6
(14.7)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 114.5
(4.51)
91.5
(3.60)
107.1
(4.22)
101.1
(3.98)
103.8
(4.09)
143.9
(5.67)
96.2
(3.79)
106.2
(4.18)
119.9
(4.72)
142.3
(5.60)
134.3
(5.29)
104.9
(4.13)
1,366.6
(53.80)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 10.6 10.4 11.0 11.1 11.9 14.4 15.1 15.2 14.4 13.2 12.7 10.4 150.4
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 66 68 71 78 85 91 92 90 87 74 69 66 78
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[9]

Proposed developments[edit]

In 2009, the Falls Creek resort plan proposed replacing the Gully triple chair with a gondola, having a capacity of 1800 passengers per hour and a speed of up to 6 metres per second. This proposal also made its appearance in the 2016 masterplan, but nothing has resulted as of yet. It is worth noting that a gondola this short would be considerably expensive, where it would be much more cost effective to replace a much longer lift.

Snowmaking[edit]

In 2021, Falls Creek invested AU$1.88 million into snowmaking machines. These new TechnoAlpin guns were placed along Wombats Ramble, Main Street and at the base of Drovers Dream. These snow machines now accompany the older snowmaking technology along Ruined Castle and Main Street.

Notable seasons[edit]

2022 saw unusually large snowfalls in June, resulting in an established snowpack before the start of the ski season. As a result of this, Falls Creek and many other resorts opened to visitors one week early, with a snow depth of over 75cm at beginning of June.

Notable racers[edit]

Source:[10]

  • Steven Lee, Olympic and World Cup alpine skier. Also a back-country tour guide for Falls Creek
  • Malcolm Milne (born 1948), World Cup alpine racer, learned to ski at Falls Creek
  • Ross Milne (1944–1964), learned to ski at Falls Creek.
  • Britteny Cox (born 1994), Australian Mogul Skier and the youngest athlete to compete at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. 2017 - World Champion, World Cup Moguls Crystal Globe Winner, World Cup Freestyle Overall Crystal Globe Winner

Notable snowboarders[edit]

  • Scott James (born 1994), Australian Snowboarder, Australia's youngest male Olympian in 50 years and the youngest male competitor at the Vancouver Games.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Environment - Falls Creek - www.fallscreek.com.au Victoria's largest family summer and winter alpine resort". Falls Creek. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  2. ^ "TTR World Snowboard Tour: Home". web.archive.org. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2023.
  3. ^ "Australian ski lift directory: details of 500 lifts & ropeways". Australian mountains. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Ski lifts Falls Creek - cable cars Falls Creek - lifts Falls Creek". www.skiresort.info. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Falls Creek, VIC". Aussie Towns. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  6. ^ Phoenix Auctions History, Post Office List, retrieved 23 February 2021
  7. ^ "Falls Creek Daily Summaries". www.weatherzone.com.au. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  8. ^ "Rainfall and temperature records". Bureau of Meteorology. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 1 January 2024.
  9. ^ "Climate Statistics for Falls Creek". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  10. ^ "History". Falls Creek Race Club. Retrieved 19 April 2019.

External links[edit]