Mount Buller Resort Reviews
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Visitor reviews for Mount Buller Ski Resort
June 26, 2016
JK from Australia
On a global scale, only Perisher (NSW) comes close to being large enough to be comparable to a Euro or US resort. When Australia has a decent snow season (albeit a short window) the resorts of Perisher and Thredbo (NSW) and Hotham, Falls Creek and Buller (Vic) are all great resorts with quality infrastructure, plenty of fun and challenge. Yes, they are busy, yes, they are short(er) runs than most Euro and US resorts but they are still a great day out.
Mt Buller has the advantage of being less than 3 hours drive from Melbourne (shortest trip from CBD to any of these 5 major resorts) which can be crazy busy on weekends but when the snow is good enough, the lift network copes very well at keeping the queue times down across most lift lines. From my experience, Hotham has far worse queues given its layout and far fewer lifts in total.
Other advantages at Buller vs the rest is its solid snowmaking network. With a new snowmaking dam penned in for '17 or '18 which will expand water supply and then the planned guns added to Standard and Wood Run the Victorian resorts won't even come close to the terrain available in weaker seasons.
Aside from snowmaking, a greater % of the total terrain can also open on a lesser base than other resorts. A 80cm base sees 90% of the resort open and only a handful more cm and Federation is open top to bottom which usually means the whole resort is open. Hotham, by contrast, needs at least 125cm to be fully open.
From a terrain perspective, I argue that Buller has good (or better) terrain than Falls Creek and Perisher and matches Hotham and Thredbo for steeps/technical runs.
Lastly, lift prices. Having come back from Park City Utah (inc Deer Valley), the lift prices are no more expensive than the established US resorts (Deer Valley was US$135). Let's face it, skiing isn't cheap. Yes, you could go to NZ or Japan for cheaper prices but nothing beats a cold Aussie beer atop Tyrol cafe or Koflers when the sun's out and the snow's ready to tear up!
Mount Buller Ratings
Overall: 3.4. Based on 17 votes and 22 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Mount Buller.
Public Transport: 3.5
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Mount Buller, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Mount Buller, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 3.1
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 4.1
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Mount Buller.
Ski in/Ski out: 4.5
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Mount Buller, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Mount Buller is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Mount Buller relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.8
(1) There are no snow groomers at Mount Buller, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Mount Buller are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Mount Buller is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.2
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Mount Buller, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 3.0
(1) Mount Buller usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.9
(1) The staff at Mount Buller are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Mount Buller are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 3.8
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.2
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 3.7
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Mount Buller has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Mount Buller, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.3
(1) Not even a kicker at Mount Buller, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Mount Buller, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Mount Buller has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.5
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 3.5
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 2.8
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 2.4
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.1
(1) Overall, Mount Buller is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 2.2
(1) Overall, Mount Buller is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
July 03, 2014
John from Australia
Mount Buller is just 3 hrs from Melbourne. We hired a 4x4 car and drove up there arriving mid afternoon. The “Mt Buller whoever people” herd you into a god forsaken carpark about a couple of km from Mt Buller, in the ice and snow. They then proceed to herd you into “taxis” (we call them Toyota personnel carriers). Then, with your luggage thrown onto roof racks and not secured in anyway, they drive you to Mt Buller for $18.50! No choice here? We were then dumped at the foot of two flights of steps up to the hotel, the lift then takes you up to the lobby; after, of course, you have dragged your own bags up the icy steps.
After a 5 day stay we left at about 815am. The steps out of the hotel were now treacherous (as one of the employees said on arrival, but did nothing about). Our “taxi” arrived and we discovered that there is more than one carpark! Nobody had told us this, issued us with an ID ticket or anything. As visitors how would we know? Luckily, we remembered it was on the right hand side of the road as you came up the mountain. So off we went again with our luggage on the roof rack and again not secured. We arrived at the carpark a few minutes later, there were two other groups there also with taxi drivers, All the cars in the carpark were not just covered in snow but had snow pushed up against the rears of them by whatever vehicle had “cleared” the carpark. All of the taxis left. We asked our driver what we were supposed to do to clear our car, he suggested we start on the roof. He rapidly left also. Now as the snow was actually more ice than snow, and had been pushed up over the rear doors, starting on the roof was a little ridiculous. Without aid or tools how could people dig out cars in this state? We had a mobile phone so called the hotel, they had no interest at all. Stranded, with no means to dig ourselves out, eventually after 2hrs and the 3 groups helping each other we got out. No notices anywhere as to whether we needed to fit chains; was the road blocked? Had there been snow since it had been cleared last; how would tourists know? It turned out the only snow was around the cars in the carpark. Again, why is all this left to chance. What sort of place leaves its money earners to “get on with it?”
I know of no other State in Australia where so called taxi drivers would deliberately abandon people in a frozen waste with no tools and no means to return to safety. As I understand it taxi drivers have a duty of care to their fare paying clients; certainly normal human decency would require someone to at least assist. Knowing this was the case before we even got to the site, these people are local and very willing to take your money. They, after all, would be doing this every day. We were total strangers and at the mercy of those around to advise us. I am ashamed to say I am an Australian. I know for a fact Western Australians would never leave ill equipped persons in this state.
When we hired the 4x4 in Melbourne we asked whether we needed anything for the journey to Mt Buller. We were told to collect snow chains at Mansfield; we were given no indication that we would be left/abandoned in a snowfield. When we collected the snow chains we asked for a demonstration on fitting them; again no indication that we could need a shovel to dig us out before the snow chains would be of any use!
As I understand it, people involved in such industries, where clients could be at risk, have a duty of care to inform or assist. We, as with the others present, had no knowledge of circumstances or requirements; that is the responsibility of those making money out of these ventures, well at least in other States.
It is also illegal to carry “a load” unsecured on the roof of a road vehicle, I think this shows both the attitude of and the standard of these ”taxi drivers”.
A wonderful holiday ruined by those responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the tourists they are only too eager to take money off.
Be warned; try NSW they, at least, know what is correct.
Mount Buller --- Don't bother.
August 20, 2013
Mark from Australia
Just got back from a weekend trip to Mt Buller. Flew all the way from Perth for it. Bought a 2 day lift pass and hired equipment for both days on the day of arrival. First day was ok and snow conditions were good albeit no where near as good as Europe. On the second day ALL the lifts bar one were closed. This did not show on the Mt Buller iPhone app, the snow report or the info screens in the village. These were all still showing as 90% open. Even the gate to the resort at the bottom of the hill only said 2 lifts were closed due to wind. This meant that you have to pay $40 to get in and make your way all the way to the top before seeing that there is actually nothing you can do.
Add to this that they refused to refund the second days lift pass even though no facilities were available. I find this absolutly appalling! If a sports event or music concert is rained out refunds are given as you have not gotten what you paid for. I see no reason why the same policy does not apply for a ski resort. In Europe, if a certain percentage of the lifts are not open due to weather (happens very seldom) refunds are provided to people who have bought tickets in advance! Given the overall cost of boarding/skiing at Buller you soon realise that beyond the cost of the flight to Europe you can actually buy a 6 day pass and hire equipment for the same time at less of a cost than what they charge for 2 days. I have, on 3 occasions, boarded in the French Alps for around 600 GBP for 6 days and that included the return trip to London. I paid over $1000 to fly from Perth to Melbourne and go to Buller for 2 days boarding and then only got 1 day actually on the slopes.
September 02, 2012
lowndsy from Australia
Just got back from a weekend there, having boarded NZ and Canada before I found the terrain to be good (was very lucky with conditions) limited tracks for my beginner mates but good intermediate stuff. I found the whole experience outrageously expensive, lots of unexpected costs. It costs to take your car in to the national park (understandable) but then they slog you $40 per person to taxi from your car to the resort so in total $160 for 4 of us to travel 4km. And as our driver kept saying "are you gonna walk that with your gear?" Overall, the lifties were poor at managing lines. I saw people falling and no lifties activating stops so consecutive chairs of people collided, long lines and only half full chairs. Food was standard but no complaints there. I don't want to fully bag the place because I did have a good time, but for the cost I won't be going back, I'd personally head to NZ or just take my next boarding trip in the northern hemisphere.
August 26, 2012
Tina from Australia
I think this review lacks a lot of credibility. Who does the fact checking? "Bring your own food there isn't a store". There has been a full service licensed supermarket on Mt Buller for 7 years and prior to that there was a general store for the previous 30 years. I guess being located smack in the middle of the village centre must have been why this reviewer missed it.
August 18, 2012
james from Australia
Buller on a nice day is all good, and is a good fill-in until you can get abroad to ski. Without snow making this would not be a ski resort. In saying that man-made snow is nice to ski on and made regularly. It is expensive due to travel distance, ticket price and park entry; this starts at $200(inc petrol). There is no cheap transport to Buller and Buller can't seem to organise shuttles from Mansfield which is a shame as many people stay there overnight and this would enable visitors to save on park entry and chain hire/fitting.
August 01, 2012
Ray from Australia
Went there on Sat 28th Aug, crowded as usual. Packed with weekend warriors and sightseers. 15 out of 44 runs are open yet they charged full price. Staffs and lifties are generally friendly, except the girl who did the afternoon shift on the Wombat top, yelling at every snowboarders, trying to show off her authority yet she damaged my board by putting the snow shovel too close to the lift exit path way.
July 28, 2012
Nick from Australia
Mt Buller is the closest ski field to Melbourne at 3-3.5 hours drive. That's the only upside.
The downside is the poor service, the food, the bars, the accommodation, the high cost to absolutely everything above, and then the snow is the last aspect, probably lack of it.
If you like boarding or skiing on hard packed ice, Mt Buller is the place for you.
July 14, 2012
Maria from Australia
Be careful of Mount Buller's new B-TAG refundable 'deposit' trap.
If you purchase a lift ticket, you will be charded $5 refundable deposit a for a 'reusable' B-TAG.
If you wish to get your $5 deposit back, you must do this on the mountain, using the same method of payment eg. same credit card used to buy the B-TAG in the first place. This is not documented anywhere, and you are not told of this condition.
So, you cannot return a B-TAG unless you have the original credit card on hand (unless you paid cash).
August 19, 2011
Char from Australia
Buller is awesome!!
Of all the Aussie ski resorts, this one has the best sense of township and community.
The USA does have way better snow and a lot more people around to help, however, they do rely on tips as their wages are minimal and there's like millions of them compared to the Australian population...
But when you're at Buller it's impossible not to have fun! I mean it's snoooowwwww!
The guy complaining about the taxis.... Get over it. What real guy goes on a trip to the snow and does not think that the car will be covered in some sort of snow after 5 days or quite frankly thinks that it's the 'locals' job to be your servants.
Mate, not the taxis fault for someone being a tad bit silly now is it.