Ben Lomond in winter. Skiing. As my husband says, it’s “an adventure”! I may be slightly traumatised from my first ride on a T-Bar lift, from losing a ski on a black slope (we were crossing it to bluer or greener pastures!) and falling off one of the Poma lifts, but I still highly recommend a trip to Ben Lomond in winter. Why?! Read on.
Firstly, your ascent to the mountain is horrifyingly spectacular. Horrifying? If you don’t have your own chains, you’re in a beaten up, mud-caked LandCruiser with no seatbelts on Jacob’s Ladder, which is a very tricky piece of road. Spectacular? Look at the stacks of rock rising on either side of you! Look at the view!!! It was so breathtaking that I didn’t even worry about the crazy road.
Secondly, I saw wallabies in the snow! There were at least three of them. What an unexpected sight! Remember not to feed native animals (even if they do look cold and hungry!) as processed foods can give wallabies lumpy jaw which is an awful disease. I enjoyed photographing them from a distance.
Thirdly, the “adventurous” conditions are strangely comforting. The lifts that break down, strange bumps on the Poma tracks, rocks everywhere, people in hodgepodge clothing (including one of my workmates in his ex-postman one-piece!) and so on only add to the fun.
If you’re looking for a family day out, there is a roped off area just for tobogganing. Forgot the toboggan? You can hire a toboggan and skiing or snowboarding gear on the mountain. Warm up in the café with hot food and drinks or in the public shelter next to the log fire. Don’t know how to ski yet? Book a group beginner’s lesson with Ben Lomond Snow Sports School at 10am or 12noon or a private lesson at 12:30pm. Make sure that you book your lesson the day before you visit the mountain.
Finally, you’ll find lots of lovely locals at Ben Lomond in winter. Thanks to the ranger who greeted us. Thank you to to the shoe-fitter, who got my boot size just right. Thanks to the skier, who gave us great tips. Many thanks to the lady who rescued my ski!!! It would have been a long hobble across the slope without it!
Ben Lomond is about an hour’s drive from Launceston via St Leonards. Follow signs for Ben Lomond National Park. There are a few kilometres of gravel road to drive on when you reach the park. A ranger will greet you and you’ll need to pay for your entry to the park if you don’t already have a Parks Pass. Unless you have snow chains, you’ll need to park your car and take the shuttle to the top. Chains, fuel and parks passes can all be purchased/hired in Launceston or Hobart. You won’t find fuel for sale or chains for hire on the mountain though.
The cost for a one-day Parks Pass for one vehicle is $24 or you can purchase a holiday pass for $60. If you purchase your pass at Ben Lomond, you’ll need correct change. An additional $15 per person will see you shuttled up to the snow. You can hire gear at reasonable prices. If you arrive later in the day, gear hire and lift passes are cheaper but you will be left with the scraps when it comes to gear. Lift passes are $70 per adult per day or $45 after 12:30pm. All this is worth it, for the adventure that is Ben Lomond in winter.