It’s that time of year again… Winter has hit (well, the southern states anyway) and we have all retreated into hibernation. We shouldn’t complain really… around the world countries experience far worse temperatures in winter than the average 10 degrees we get here in Melbourne during July. But, it’s still enough to send us into a mild bout of depression.
But… there is always an upside!
Because winter here in the south means… snow!
This is one of the most unique experience you can have with your family or friends. Jumping in the car for a road trip to one of our alpine resorts, and spending a day, a weekend, or a week on the slopes is one of the highlights of our year. Why? a) Because it is so different. And b) you will undoubtedly create some priceless memories.
There is something about the snow… when our now 9-year old daughter Charli saw snow for the first time as a 2-year old, her eyes just lit up. It was a whole new world. And it happens every time we have taken her since.
This year we took both our kids. Harry joined our little family last year and a week before his 1st birthday, we piled in the car and drove to Mt Buller for a weekend. To say that he was fascinated with this totally new environment is an understatement. We have probably not seen him look around him with such wonder since he was born.
Our weekend was spent discovering this whole other world and the fun that it offers. And for those that think you have to be a skier or snowboarder to get the most out of a snow trip, you are dead wrong.
There is so much to do at our alpine resorts that doesn’t involve skiing and snowboarding, which means for families with small kids, or people who just aren’t keen to strap themselves to two sticks or a board, there are still plenty of reasons to head for the hills.
Mt Buller offers the unique experience of Dog Sledding. That’s right – this activity is not just restricted to Alaska. We have it right here in Australia. Kids and adults alike will LOVE meeting the husky dogs, and in our case, we also got to meet their pups! Arriving at the Australian Sled Dog Tours base at Mt Buller, we were greeted with perhaps 40 or so dogs all itching to be hitched to the sled and go for a run. But our kids made a beeline for the pups who were happy to be cuddled and petted. I have to admit, my heart melted a little bit at this experience… and it was hard to be dragged away but the dogs were waiting.
It was early in the season and we didn’t have a lot of snow when we arrived at Mt Buller (that changed by the time we left!) but it made no difference to the dogs. Wheels were simply attached to the sled and we were off. With stunning vistas over the mountains beside us, the dogs raced around the track, giving us a huge thrill. I even had a turn of ‘driving’ – and learned how obedient these gorgeous animals could be.
We based ourselves in one of the self-contained apartments in the Mt Buller village for the weekend, and the proximity to the slopes and all the facilities meant that we could easily return to our base at any time of the day. But even if you’re not staying on the mountain, it is easy to pop in and out of the numerous cafes, bars and restaurants dotted around the slopes to peel off your jackets, have a hot chocolate and a rest.
One of the top things kids love to do on the mountain is of course, snow play. There is nothing quite like building a snowman, making snow angels, constructing a snow fort, or having a snowball fight, to give kids some of their biggest thrills. Rug them up and let them play ‘til their heart is content. This is pure, unique, fun. No screens, fresh air, and family bonding at its best.
This year I watched Clint roll around in the snow with Charli during a snowball fight and couldn’t help but smile at the joy being created. She loved the one on one time she was having with her dad, and her mum and little brother watching on and laughing. I filed that memory away forever.
And when we woke up on our second day to fresh snow that had fallen overnight, we made immediate tracks for the toboggan park.
With flakes still lightly showering us from above, the family-friendly slope is the perfect place for some downhill fun.
Clint raced Charli, and even gave Harry his first ever toboggan ride. We simply didn’t want it to end.
There were plenty more activities to entertain the family for the weekend, including snowshoeing, a scenic chairlift ride, self-guided walks to discover the resident gnomes, and much more.
So if you are keen on creating precious family memories, getting outdoors and active with the family and doing something completely unique, head to the hills! Because the snow isn’t just for skiers!
Do you take your family to the snow and if so, what are your favourite things to do! Tell us in the comments.