WHY LOCALS LOVE MT BULLER
We asked the regulars how they make the most of the mountain they love
There’s a lot to love about Mt Buller. Three hours from Melbourne is one, a thriving and friendly local community of die-hard Mt Buller stalwarts is another.
Nat Segal, Big Mountain Skier
“I love the passion for skiing at Buller” explains Segal who spends her northern winters in Chamonix and her southern at Melbourne’s favourite ‘local’ mountain. Her mother used to volunteer for Mt Buller Ski Patrol back in her university day and she brought Nat and her Olympian sister, Anna, to Mt Buller as a regular right of passage.
“You can get all kinds of conditions and everyone will still be stoked. There is a real love for the sport, the mountains and a fun. I tend to spend my time skiing all day, lunching at Tyrol restaurant and watching the sunset from the Summit.
My favourite event is the Victorian Interschools Championships, they were the first competitions I ever participated in and from the age of eight we looked forward to it every year.”
Watkin McLennan, coach Team Buller Riders
“When you go anywhere for long enough you begin to love it” and McLennan should know he’s been coming here since birth. “I love how the village is small and pedestrian focused. I love that Mt Buller is a mountain. This is unique to Australia, where the other ski resorts are a part of a much larger mountain, ridge system or massif. Buller stands alone, isolated. This is fantastic for skiing because you can ski on all aspects and the views are magic.
The town on a mountain creates a unique community, all a little crazed by the testy weather and all too appreciative of the special environment - an island in the clouds that we are lucky enough to ski and drink cocktails on.
I make the most of Buller by skiing from sunrise until sunset. Then finish the day of skiing with a bar hop. If on skis start at Koflers. Then head to Tirol for schnapps and Italian hospitality. Following Tirol, ski down into the village for a beer at the Whitt (Ski Club of Victoria - historic ski club). Afterwards Grimus for some Austrian charm, thought cutting schnapps and wheat beer. Finally head down to Kooroora and anywhere else if you can still walk.
My favourite event is FreeBOM for sure. This event celebrates skiing as the coolest way to get around mountains (and maybe the coolest way to get around Earth). This year it will be held on Saturday the 19th August with an amazing après ski after party to follow. All welcome. All encouraged.
My fave local character is Toby Fleming, the heir to the Koflers empire. An amazing man that is a joy to ski with or a chat over a cup of coffee. He’s also a wizard at serving nachos.”
Katie Balfe, ski patroller
The Balfe family have been bedding down at their lodge at Mt Buller for three generations.
“As part of the volunteer patrol some of the best people I know work and play together delivering a benchmark community service” says Balfe. “I also love Buller because of the skiing when it's on its tiptop and it's a fab Aussie ski experience.
You can't beat Koflers for a spaghetti or lasagne mid morning to warm up and there are plenty of great coffee options in the village, Anton Grinds offers a particularly good brew at Grimus in the morning.
Skiing wise there's plenty of excellent terrain from the chutes to men's and women's downhill, Bull Run to the Fast One. For me I just feel happy when I'm there. I can't wait for my twin babies to grow up, winding the windows down on the way up the hill on a Friday night giggling with excitement and anticipation of the fun we are going to have over the weekend playing outdoors together and falling asleep in the car exhausted but happy on Sunday after a potato cake in Mansfield. I still do that every weekend.”
Andrew Percy, Buller Race Club Past President
“I love the fact that it's only three hours from Melbourne and once you get to your house you can leave the car in the garage and walk everywhere” says Percy.
“My favourite time on the mountain is early morning race training, beautiful sunrises, no one else on the hill. The best run, is Dam Run when the weather is awesome. Best Restaurant is traditional Pension Grimus, best breakfast and lunch Snow Pony, dinner the Black Cockatoo under the stewardship of the Maisanos and the best event Mt Buller Race Club King of the Mountain of course.”