Falls Creek is located in Victoria, Australia. It is around a 4.5 hour drive from Melbourne, 5.5 hour drive from Canberra, 7.5 hour drive from Sydney and a 12 hour drive from Adelaide.
The aptly named Mt Beauty is the stunning town at the bottom of the mountain, from which there is a 45 minute drive up a windy road to get to the resort town of Falls Creek and the ski lifts. Working a season at Falls Creek is one of the best ways to spend a winter in Australia as Australian snow seasons are hugely underrated.
Photo: View from Falls Creek summit. © Serge Gianatti
If you do go to Falls, beware that you may not leave for a long time as many staff have been there for at least 10 years after planning to do just one winter. If you are only going to do a small number of seasons there, cherish them as they can be some of the best times of your life.
There are a number of ways to get a job. The easiest way is to go through Falls Creek Employment. In general, you will receive a season pass and accommodation with your employment although this comes at the cost of having to work mainly during the day. You should try and apply as early as possible in the year as they do group interviews in April. www.fallscreekemployment.com
Applications are open from March leading up to the season. Interviews are held in either Adelaide, Melbourne or Albury.
Entry level jobs will earn the Alpine Award Rate which is currently around $19.74 an hour. Falls Creek does not conduct phone interviews so you need to be present for the group interview.
Office workers generally only have to work 5 days a week (38 hours) which means more ride time. Hours for admin jobs and lift operators are pretty consistent as well, meaning money is always coming in.
Lift operators also get to work other things like the bungee park and the tubing. You have a good chance of getting a lift operator job as they have been short of staff in the past.
If not working for the hill, you can get a plethora of restaurant and housekeeping jobs which usually don’t provide you with a pass but you get a lot more ride time and some of these jobs will provide you with accommodation as well.
Many of these jobs are not advertised but if you get to Falls before the season starts, you can walk around and ask the various establishments if they have work going.
If you apply for the ski school, then you go to a separate site fallscreek.centralsnowsports.com.au
They look well upon people who are dual certified. If you do not have your level 1 instruction certificate you can do the course at Falls, although there is no guarantee of a job afterwards. This course is a skills course which is run at the start of June.
The jobs tend to fill up early so those who try to look for jobs when arriving at the resort during the season may find it difficult.
As with most areas of life, a lot comes down to who you know so if you are a good person and make friends quickly, the Falls locals will go out of their way to help you find work.
Base rate for instructors is around $21 an hour. You may sometimes end up working 7 days a week. If you want time off, you will need to request it.
Australia does working holiday visas for a lot of European and North American countries. New Zealanders can basically work anywhere in Australia. Have a look at Work a Season in Australia for further information on visas.
Photo: Village at Falls Creek. © Serge Gianatti
The village is pretty small but quite charming and you are able to walk everywhere around the village. When there is enough snow you can literally ski anywhere around town you would like and virtually every lodge has ski in/ski out access.
You will get some good leg muscles with all the uphill and downhill walking! The village also has an array of off-snow activities for the whole family.
For the kid in you, be sure to check out the bungee trampoline, Pete the Snow Dragon and the Night Show. Adults should check out the many excellent restaurants and coffee shops and also the massage therapists and spa/sauna facilities. The party goers can expect an awesome night life at pubs such as The Man, The Frying Pan, Silver Ski and Cock ‘N’ Bull just to name a few.
Falls Creek is an excellent hill for beginners and intermediates due to the vast selection of relatively flat slopes and minimal crowds. However, many expert riders call Falls Creek their home for a range of reasons. After a big dump, the Summit is epic.
There are so many hits and so many lines to choose from, including the famous ‘Hollywood’ line underneath the Summit Chairlift which has some huge rock drops and hits, not to mention the aqueduct hit at the bottom which sees an array of straight airs, spins and flips by keen skiers and snowboarders alike.
The International Poma on the eastern side of the Summit is not often open as it requires a fair bit of snow. But when it is open, it has some of the best riding on the hill including a mini pillow line section and a range of rollers and powder stashes. Another reason many expert riders call Falls their home is due to the excellent freestyle terrain park facilities.
Falls Creek is the largest skiable terrain in Victoria and the third largest in Australia behind Perisher and Thredbo.
The temperature averages around 0c over the season. It does not get much colder than -10c and a lot of days are over 0c. Average low overnight is -2.8c.
The snowline is pretty close to the village base which means if the snow is not falling, then a lot of the mountain will be closed due to a lack of snow. Nonetheless, it can snow very well at Falls Creek. The snow is similar to that at Mt Hotham, although Hotham might get a little more being a little bit higher.
As with all resorts in Australia, it all comes down to how good the season is. On a good year, there can be plenty of snow keeping everyone happy. On a bad year, much of the mountain may be closed.
There are a lot of sunny days at Falls Creek although it can get quite foggy and windy too. As the weather changes so rapidly in the mountains, visitors are advised to pack for all weather conditions and keep an eye on the forecast.
Falls has a number of terrain parks. The beginner park at Fox Trail is perfect for those learning to ride as it consists of small rollers, berms and jumps. The intermediate park is now called Panorama Park (formerly Drovers Park).
It is a great park for learning how to spin and hit rails as the jumps are big enough to get some air without being too intimidating and the rail line includes small boxes up to some fairly difficult rails.
Photo: Mike Rosalky at the Ruined Castle terrain park. © Charlie Brown
The advanced park at Ruined Castle has some bigger jumps and rails with the jumps averaging between 15 – 25 feet (about 5 to 8 meters of flat to clear). The Falls Creek terrain park bus is always a fun one to slide and take pictures on, just make sure you keep your tips up when jumping onto it!
Then there is the monster of terrain parks – the Ruined Castle expert park. This park is another reason Falls Creek is popular with expert riders as it is a world class terrain park. For the past 9 years, this park has been built by some of the best park builders in the world who work in the Northern Hemisphere during the Australian summer and return to Falls for the Aussie winter.
The jumps and rails are built and maintained by the amazing park builders and park staff who take a huge amount of pride in their work. Expect jumps ranging in size from 25 feet (about 8 meters of flat to clear) to 60 feet (about 18 meters of flat to clear) with even bigger hits sometimes on offer after a competition.
The large rainbow rail is always impressive to watch and you will regularly see some of the best Australian skiers and snowboarders, as well as some international pro riders, throwing down in the park.
Almost all staff are able to live in the Falls Creek village if desired. Everyone who works for Falls Creek is entitled to staff housing. Rent is taken out of your pay automatically. Rent is around $125 a week, but doesn't include food (unlike Mt Hotham and Mt Buller staff accommodation).
Staff housing is at the Nissen complex in the village which has ski in / ski out access - you can ski all the way to your door after the day. Buildings 1 & 2 are older. There are four to a room sharing one bathroom. The rooms have fridges and microwaves.
Another staff housing, Aurora, is great. It is an apartment building worth a couple of million dollars housing around 35 people. It has small bedrooms but a huge living area and it has a kitchen.
To rent a place for the season will set you back heavily as Falls Creek village is mostly condos and apartments for people who are on holidays for a couple of weeks. If you are still keen, www.zirkyrealestate.com.au has seasonal rental listings in the Victorian Alps including Falls Creek.
There is only one supermarket in Falls - the Foodworks. Their prices are a bit high, but nothing ridiculous. Albury is one and a half hours away. It has cheaper shops if you want to drive that far.
An alternative is to order food in bulk from the Foodworks in Mt Beauty. They will pack, transport and deliver to your door. There is a cost for this of course so the net cost may not be much different from buying on the mountain. The advantage is that there is much more choice.
Photo: Ruined Castle terrain park - by Mike Rosalky
Living in Mt Beauty can be a good option if you have some friends to share a house with and the driving up the hill. It is a 45 minute drive from Mt Beauty to Falls Creek and Mt Beauty is absolutely stunning. It can be good to get away from the craziness of Falls Creek although it is obviously less convenient if you want to get first tracks or party on the hill.
You can always hitch up from Mt Beauty to Falls too, just make sure you get there early in the morning. There's no staff bus for people living in Mt Beauty.
Another option is living in the beautiful Bogong Village which is about 25 mins from Falls Creek, halfway between Falls and Mt Beauty. You would probably want a car if you are living here as hitching may be difficult. There are very few amenities at Bogong but that adds to its charm.
There are a number of awesome bars sporadically located throughout Falls from top to bottom. They can get packed with people on holidays or people working at the hill and the vibe can be great.
As you can easily walk around Falls, it is worth checking out what is on each night and going to the bars that interest you. Falls gets some great bands come through and has some amazing local musical talent too.
There is generally something happening every night and half the fun is checking out all the different drinking holes that Falls has to offer.
Photo: Falls Creek village. © Serge Gianatti
As with most ski resorts, there are more guys than girls but not by a lot. Everyone gets to know each other because it's a small community and some amazing friendships and relationships can result from just one season at Falls.
Staff are mostly Australian although Falls is known to attract a number of European and American staff as well as some Kiwis.
Australian seasons are very underrated and you can get some excellent riding and have a great season.
Bring enough money with you so that if the season doesn't turn out so well, you will have enough to cover you if you're not getting much work. Work in Australia is more dependent on the snow, seeing as there is sometimes not enough to open all the lifts.
Take care of yourself when riding, don’t try and progress faster than your ability allows and wear protective gear such as helmets and impact shorts, you don’t want a permanent injury just so you can look cool and not wear a helmet!