What are the top takeaways you look for in a family holiday? Happy family memories? A bit of adult time? A bit of self-care and me time? Happy busy kids? Trackers Lodge at Falls Creek ticks all the boxes and then some.
When: from mid-June – mid-September (basically whenever there is snow!)
Where: 16 Schuss St FALLS CREEK
Cost: from $500/night in high season, book here.
Back when I was 13 one of my favourite cousins was managing the Nissan Patrol Ski Machine Race Course and working at the Falls Creek ski school. She convinced my dad that it was time we learned to ski – and so began a life-long love affair with snow sports.
Skiing was one of the few activities that my brother and I equally loved as we moved into our teens. And, lucky for us, dad loved it too, so it became an annual family sport – we were even lucky enough to get slope time in Europe and Canada.
My last ski trip with my dad (don’t worry he’s still around, he just decided to hang up his skis) took place 15 winters ago and we returned to where it all began – Falls Creek. And we stayed at this gorgeous lodge called Trackers – which I have since remembered fondly for not just that time with my dad, but also for the comfortable surrounds, absolutely gorgeous host Janette and the amazing dinners. While I was there I also made a mental note about the kids play room and early dinner time. I thought to myself “if I have kids one day, I would love to bring them here”. So what an absolute pleasure it is to be writing this blog post – and having ticked a bucket list dream!
Added to that – my ski instructing cousin (who has since done 30 seasons running ski programs in Whistler Canada) flew to Australia the day before our trip and joined us… double whammy on the bucket list wishes.
Trackers Lodge is located at the top of Schuss Street which means you can ski in and out – and when you ski out you can go in either direction, so both Hailey’s Comet and Eagle Chair are options. For the complete beginner, there is a free shuttle bus that stops outside every 20 min that can take you down to Hailey’s Comet (and return you) where you set off to ski school. Trackers location also affords you some breathtaking views – looking across at the Summit.
Trackers inside is comfortable and modern – our room had everything you could need, and most importantly our beds were really really comfortable.
Like a hotel, all the linen, housekeeping and ensuite bathrooms are taken care of – but like a lodge, there is a communal feel with everyone congregating in the dining room area and kids room upstairs.
Standout highlights for us included:
- kids eat at 6pm, they are supervised by the in-house babysitter (which means if they are old enough to sit and eat without assistance you don’t have to be present – very handy if you’re wanting to have a shower uninterrupted for 5 minutes!). Kids dinners are kid-friendly – for example during our stay my guys enjoyed a pasta dinner, a rice dinner, party pies and a roast dinner. Dessert was ice cream with sprinkles. Serves were generous – and after a big day of skiing, most of the meals were polished off!
- adults enjoy a separate dinner with canapes and drinks at the bar at 6.45pm, as the kids finish off their dinner. It allows for families to mingle (if they want to) and all the guests of the lodge to get to know each other (if they want to). As the kids finish dinner they are invited to head to the Kids Room for games and a movie – and adults move to their tables around 7pm for the rest of their 6-course dinner (canapes, soup, entree, sorbet, mains and dessert). During our visit we got to share our dinner table with three different parties – the last night we had a table to ourselves. It was a really jolly atmosphere and sharing our skiing stories was a lovely way to meet people. And the dinners were just as I remembered them – absolutely delicious.
- the kids room is a wonderful space for the kids to find their friends, play games and just have a space they can cavort about in. Charlie (9) really enjoyed having somewhere to escape to where he wasn’t under anyone’s feet… and I also enjoyed him having that space!! Immi also enjoyed having some time in the room alone to watch TV and read (while we had grown-ups dinner). And being a lodge of about 15 rooms meant that while there are people around – you know all the faces and quite a few names, so it’s a comfortable size and not too many people all at once.
- Daily yoga class – the complimentary yoga class was really what got me back on the slope each day. I am not what I would consider a very fit person – I don’t go to a gym and I hate running. My exercise is largely in the form of walking as much as I can (which goes in waves depending on how organised my life is at the time). In the lead-up to skiing, I managed to fit in a Bounce Fit class (which only highlighted to me how unfit I was!). Skiing with kids does have the perk of being at a gentler pace – but thanks to having my cousin as their personal ski instructor, by day four they were ticking nearly all the boxes for completing level 4 skiing… so not only has the pace picked up, but it’s about to pass me. So yes, 4pm yoga saved me. Janette is famous across the mountain for her yoga and I soon found out why – we focused on muscles and a quietening of the body, to put us in repair mode.
- After yoga we made a beeline for the hot tub and sauna – if the hour of yoga wasn’t enough already we then slipped into the spa and toasted off our muscles completely. The kids joined us for this component (and Immi even joined in on the yoga – Charlie got his relaxing in the form of his iPad with a bunch of other little boys). Afterwards, it was shower time and off to dinner for the kids, my cousin and I would slowly get
organised and make our way to the bar for our pre-dinner drink… all in all an extremely delightful way to round off a very active and exhilarating day on the slopes.
- Meals are included, which means you don’t have to think about meal prep or planning after skiing. As mentioned above the dinners are amazing, but before we set off each morning we had a breakfast buffet and cooked breakfast. For lunch, you fend for yourself (and there are plenty of options on the mountain so you don’t have to leave the slopes) and when you return at the end of the day there is afternoon tea set up at about 3.30pm. Hot drinks are self-served and you can help yourself to those anytime you want.
- Ski in and ski out is such a luxury – this season we were spoilt with an insane amount of snow (150cm when we arrived) but I recall when dad and I visited 15 years ago that it was fairly average coverage and we still managed to ski in and out. Being able to ski home is wonderful because when you’ve spent the day all over the mountain sometimes lugging skis home and walking in ski boots can be a killer – add to that carrying your kids skis and motivating them to walk that last 50m can take the edge off what was an otherwise awesome day.
- Happy staff who know the mountain can help you on your way when you’re unfamiliar with how things work. It’s been 15 years since my last visit to Falls and nearly 30 years for my cousin – so things have changed since then (for the better). Janette has been running Trackers for 16 years and so she knows the mountain (and most of the people who live there) well. Her team is enthusiastic and passionate about the snow (with a few who were ski instructors by day).
Immi made a little video tour of Trackers, you can watch it here…
After 4 days of skiing and being so well looked after it was hard to say goodbye. Janette was at the door waving us farewell and giving everyone hugs before we headed out to the over-snow taxi… there were others leaving at the same time and they were first to volunteer (after we had taken our seats in the taxi) that Janette and Trackers Lodge is just the best. I couldn’t agree more.
Disclaimer: Meetoo stayed for four nights as guests of Trackers Lodge. All views are my own, all details were correct at time of publishing.
Want more? Read our blog post 9 Tips for a Happy Family Ski Trip