Snowy Mountains - Thredbo
Thredbo, at the foot of the Crackenback Range, the closest resort to Mt Kosciuszko, is situated beside the Thredbo River at an altitude of 1380m. The Kosciuszko Express Chairlift operates all year and the top station boasts Australia's highest restaurant, Eagles Nest. Thredbo is famous for it's longest ski runs, village atmosphere and great restaurants.
There is no better place to escape, invigorate and relax than in the Snowy Mountains. Thredbo is nestled within the magic Kosciuszko National Park, with features to take your breath away. From the sparkling Thredbo River, to the awesome granite tors and of course the wicked mountainous terrain.
Thredbo is a rocking resort with all the modern services to keep you on the pulse without the city swarm. The atmosphere is truly unique and the pace is entirely up to you. Soak up the surrounds on a cruisy romantic getaway, feel the rush as you hammer the hill with your mates, or have some holiday fun with the whole family. Whatever the season, whatever your passion, take the adventure and experience Thredbo.
Thredbo was established back in 1956, when the first chairlifts and lodges transformed the snowy terrain into a snow riders dream. Thanks to this early vision, Thredbo has taken off and developed into the ripping year round resort it is today.
The Aborigines made their way to Australia around 50, 000 years ago, entering through Cape York Peninsula. Back then the Kosciuszko Plateau was the ultimate winter playground, set deep within the ice age. Life was scarce due to the big freeze, but as the earth gradually warmed the Snowy Mountains blossomed. It is believed that Aborigines saw this potential and took up permanent residence on the Monaro between 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.
The Aborigines that moved to the base of the mountains formed 4 major tribal groups: the YA-itmathang, the Wolgal, the Waradgery and the Ngarigo. The upper slopes were regarded as no-mans land, held in trust for the tribes and because of the winter chill remained uninhabited. The changing of seasons brought on a new lease of life for the Aborigines. In Spring the peaks became the perfect meeting place where thousands would gather for ceremonies, share in the wonder of the alpine environment and hold the annual feasting on the Bogong moth, which was considered a delicious delicacy.
These moths (Agrotis infusa) breed on the plains between Queensland to Victoria and migrate to the Alps in spring to escape the heatwave and chill in the rocky crevices. The Bogong moth was a crucial part of the Aborigines diet. After a long winter of fasting the moth was seen as the ideal meal, rich in proteins and containing 50-75% fat.
Thredbo Village, set within the magic Kosciuszko National park is one of Australia’s highest alpine towns. It’s perched among the awesome mountains between 1365 to 1930 metres above sea level. (Cabramurra being the highest).
The Thredbo area was originally used by graziers, when in 1955, a Czechoslovakian with great vision saw the potential for a wicked mountain resort. Tony Sponar was working as a photographer for the Snowy Mountains Authority and was captivated by the snow capped peaks and their ski-ability. Sponar had been a ski instructor at the renowned St Anton Resort, Austria from 1941 to 1948. He saw Thredbo developing as an Australian equivalent, with super snow riding and an electric atmosphere to match.
In May 1955, the Kosciusko Chairlift and Thredbo Hotel Syndicate was formed. The directors Tony Sponar, Charles Anton, Eric Nicholls and Geoffrey Hughes attained a lease from the state government with a year round resort in mind.
In the winter of 1955 a study of snowfall and weather patterns was carried out, and by the years end it was decided the Friday Flat/ Crackenback Peak was the best place to kick of Thredbo’s snow riding sanctuary. A line was cleared and surveyed for the proposed chairlift on Crackenback Peak and in October Andrew Thyne Reid joined the syndicate.
In January 1957 the good news came through. The State Park Trust gave the syndicate an option for a lease, and in the summer of 1956-57 work began on a chairlift and basic accommodation.
The man with the vision, Tony Sponar was the first area manager. In 1957 he was handed the task of building a road from the Alpine Way to the present site of the Thredbo Alpine Hotel on a budget of just 4000 pounds. To make things ever tougher he had a budget of 1000 pounds to build a lodge.
In May 1957 the syndicate was given a new name Kosciusko Thredbo Limited and with the new name came a fresh change. Andrew Thyne Reid was named Chairman and thanks to his experience with James Hardie Asbestos, the money was raised to continue the development of Thredbo.
To obtain a 99 year lease the group had to build a ski lift and 100 bed hotel within five years. After three and a half years it was clear the group needed a partner with more financial strength and construction expertise. Tyne Reid negotiated with the bidders, McGrath Coach Houses and Lend Lease.
In 1961, Lend Lease acquired the lease and up until 1987 developed Thredbo into the most unique alpine resort in Australia.
In January 1987, Amalgamated Holdings Limited, known to most as the Greater Union Organisation, purchased the lease and since then Thredbo has charged into the 21st century. During the summer of 1987/88 over $30 million was invested, installing the largest snowmaking facility in the southern hemisphere along with two state of the art detachable quad chairs. These moves not only ensure great snow when mother nature takes a break, but provide a comfortable and fast means to explore the great outdoors and rip up the slopes.
Since purchasing the head lease from the Lend Lease Corporation in 1987, Amalgamated Holdings Limited has invested over $130 million into developing and improving village infrastructure and facilities. This along with community building and development, has seen the following achievements over the decade:
An increase in the bed base in the village from 3,000 to 4,150
Installation of snow making that now covers 63 hectares of the snow riding area (the largest snowmaking system in the Southern Hemisphere)
An increased lifting capacity from 10,136 people per hour to 17,841
The development of the Friday Flat beginner’s area. This includes purpose built beginners terrain & friendly lifting system, restaurant, coach captains facilities, a media centre, retail and rental facilities, and Thredboland children's snow sports school
Development of cutting edge snow sports school programs for children, adults and those after the ultimate rush
The building of the altitude training facility the AIS accredited Thredbo Leisure Centre
An addition to the activities on offer with the building of the Thredbo Bobsled
The development of a respected and impressive summer events calendar
Development of a successful integrated booking arm - the Thredbo Resort Centre
The building of a central hub of retail activity - the Village Square
The construction of the community centre, chapel and ski patrol lodge
Thredbo’s commitment to visitors, returning guests and loyal local will continue to improve, refine and develop into the future. This, combined with a strong and vibrant community spirit will ensure Thredbo’s position as Australia’s Best Year Round Alpine Resort. With a mountain of opportunities at your door step there really is no place like Thredbo.
The Thredbo Historical Society has a range of equipment/memorabilia dating back to pre-war. Most of the equipment is on loan or has been donated by patrons. If you have any historical ski gear, photos, or memorabilia which you would like to share with us, please contact Graeme Holloway on Ph (02) 6457 6531..