The new Freedom Quad Chairlift at Guthega at the Perisher resort will have the capacity to move 2400 people each hour. Photo: Supplied
WITH the season's first snow potentially just days away, visitors to Snowy Mountains ski resorts can look forward to some fresh additions this winter.
From installing new chairlifts, which promise shorter waiting times and impressive Mount Kosciuszko views, to redeveloping slopes for all skill levels, those on the nation's highest playgrounds have been busy in the off-season.
Perisher resort's $4 million Freedom Quad Chairlift leads this year's investments, with the ninth and final tower for the lift installed by helicopter in the week before Easter, and the 107 chairs now on site to be fitted within four weeks.
Perisher sales and marketing manager Richard Phillips said the new lift will be able to move 2400 people an hour, a near doubling of capacity at the Guthega site.
''Spending $4 million for a chairlift in that area is super exciting for all our staff and guests, and we just can't wait to unlock that Guthega area, it really is the most scenic part of our resort,'' he said.
Mr Phillips said the lift, replacing a standing T-bar version, would open up the terrain to snowboarders and roughly halve waiting times. At Thredbo, work has finished on a new snow play area catering, for the first time, for tobogganing and snow tubing.
The resort's marketing director Angus Thomson said the remade slope - which involved the removal of two tennis courts, earthworks and additional snowmaking facilities - would be popular with families and first-time guests to the snow.
Mr Thomson said a new ''super terrain park'' would provide opportunities for intermediate skiers to progress.
''It's man-made features, where you can create jumps, it's got rails people can go over, it's appealing to the freestyle skier or boarder,'' he said.
Thredbo will also have a permanent mogul (bump-laden) course this season, which Mr Thomson said would create a hub for the freestyle enthusiast.
Selwyn snowfields is set to expand its mini-terrain park this winter, and is also offering new instruction courses for children.
The four-month ski season begins on the Queen's birthday long weekend. Overnight minimum temperatures are forecast to drop to minus three degrees at Perisher Valley on Monday and Thursday.