Mountain Travel

Ben Lomond, Tasmania: A Stunning Ski Spot in Australia

Skiers on a summit ski run on Ben Lomond

SKI RESORT STATS

Resort Height: 1 420 meters

Ski slopes: 6km

33% easy

50% intermediate

17% difficult

Ski Lifts: 8

Highest Lift: 1 570 meters

The eight ski lifts can uplift 2,000 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Season: early July – late September

Ben Lomond Mountain

Ben Lomond, a mountain in the north-east of Tasmania, Australia, composed of a central massif with an extensive plateau above 1,200 meters. The high outlier peaks project from the mountain, with the summit of Legges Tor as the highest feature at 1 572 meters on the plateau’s north.

The 1 527 meters Stacks Bluff dominates the plateau’s southern end. Its imposing feature drops away to a cliff line 600 meters (2,000 ft) above the surrounding foothills. Peaks of Ragged Jack (1,369 meters), Mensa Moor (1,358 meters), and Tower Hill (1,122 meters) surround the plateau.

Ben Lomond, where Tasmania’s premier Alpine skiing operations are located, is east of Launceston in the Ben Lomond National Park. It provides downhill skiing facilities in the State. With the resort’s accessibility from Launceston, about 47km, Ben Lomond makes it an all-year-round favorite for tourists and hikers. Besides several walking tracks, the Jacobs Ladder, a zig-zag road, can access the village and the mountain’s summit. This spectacular ascent is quite possibly the most hair-raising and impressive alpine road in Tasmania. A series of switchbacks on the famous road creates a spectacular journey to a breathtaking destination.

Ben Lomond’s locality about 64 kilometers east of Longford’s town is in the local government of Northern Midlands in the Central region of Tasmania. The resort is indeed a stunning area during winter, boasting one of Tasmania’s two ski fields, where snow sports enthusiasts can enjoy various winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and tobogganing.

During summer, when the snow melts, the alpine landscape’s captivating beauty is revealed and the views of the rocks set against stunning views. What more beautiful to see is the abundant wildlife with some rare species that you can watch during the day. With its ski area, Ben Lomond National Park is Tasmania’s off-the-beaten-track gem – sure to surprise and delight!

SKIING History of Ben Lomond

a view of a lake, village, and the mountain in Ben Lomond

In 1929 the Northern Tasmanian Alpine Club pioneered and formed trips to the mountain and improved the access track. In the same year, Fred Smithies, Ben Lomond’s pioneer skier, accompanied the Tasmanian government’s Tourism Director on a field trip to the plateau to establish a ski field’s feasibility.

They took the routes via English Town, Ragged Jack, and the headwaters of River O’Plain Creek. This route comprises an extended walk to reach the plateau but was less steep than the alternative access from Blessington. However, with a local farmer’s help, a route from the north was subsequently selected after a suitable route was found, beginning from the Upper Blessington road at Wattle Corner.

A chalet named ‘Carr Villa’ was built under the northern escarpment in 1932. It has facilitated access to the summit ski slopes. The chalet’s name came from a sign taken from the Carr Villa cemetery tram stop in Launceston.

More skiers came to the summit, so, after four years, a summit hut was built to allow them to spend overnight on the summit. There was also a smaller hut constructed at the head of the pass to the plateau to store ski gear. Only some parts of the hut can be seen from the walking track as it crests the pass into the Borrowdale Valley.

Initially, visitors can only access Carr Villa, at 900m elevation, on foot. In 1959 despite the road construction, the summit was still a 500m ascent on foot from this point.

The NTAC donated Carr Villa chalet to the Rover Scouts, who operate it in 1963. The access track of skiers is part of the Legges Tor circuit walking track.

The resort’s fate was in a significant twist when a Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended that Ben Lomond be developed as a ski resort in 1950. After five years, the Australian National Championships were held at the site. There were more road developments in 1963. The access road was extended up to the plateau’s top via the steep and scenic “Jacobs Ladder”, and new ski lifts were added, visitor facilities, a licensed inn and accommodation, sewerage system, and improved access.

In 1995, the resort’s Skifield Management Authority was formed to manage the Skifield Development Area. The Department of Parks and Wildlife proposed in 2010 for the Ben Lomond ski area recommending snow-making machines, enhancing snow play areas, and developing a possible snowboard park.

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