Skiing Australia

Two of Australia’s most popular alpine pastimes, skiing and snowboarding, feature in a new stamp issue coinciding with the 150th anniversary of skiing in Australia. The stamp issue comprises one domestic rate stamp (60 cents) and two international rate stamps ($1.60 and $1.65), and is available 19 July 2011.

Skiing Australia focuses on recreation rather than competition, and the three stamps indicate a range of proficiency on the slopes, from learners to advanced skiers and snowboarders. The stamps also provide a sense of place, Australia’s snowfields being unique for their open vistas and alpine gums.

“Australians’ love of outdoor activities has been beautifully captured in this winter-themed commemorative stamp issue. Skiing and snowboarding are very popular and we hope that this stamp issue will inspire people to send greetings to friends and family this winter using stamps that celebrate this recreational activity,” said Australia Post Philatelic Manager, Michael Zsolt.

Recreational skiing in Australia began in 1861 with the formation of the Kiandra Snow Shoe Club. It has also been suggested that this makes it the first ski club in the world. Located in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, the club was renamed the Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club in 1929.

Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain at 2,228 metres, was recognised in the early years of the 20th century as being ideal for skiing. This led to the formation of the Kosciuszko Alpine Club in 1909. The following year a chalet was built at Mt Buffalo in Victoria. The mid-century development of the Snowy River Hydro-electric Scheme opened up the alpine region, leading to the establishment of Thredbo and Perisher – two of Australia’s key winter resorts.

Today, skiing and snowboarding are undertaken in three Australian states: New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Statistics from the Australian Ski Areas Association estimate that just over two million lift passes were sold across the country’s resorts in 2009.

Australia’s 14 alpine resorts vary in size and sophistication, with the most popular being Perisher and Thredbo in New South Wales, and Mt Buller, Hotham and Falls Creek in Victoria. Tasmania is home to two alpine resorts, of which Ben Lomond, in the north-east, is the more developed. Each resort has its own character and culture, and so tend to inspire loyalty among visitors, who trek to the mountains from the opening of the ski season, in June, until its close in October.

The Skiing Australia stamps were designed by John White, of the Australia Post Design Studio. John’s recent stamp designs include The Gallery Series – National Gallery of Victoria: Flowers and Royal Australian Navy 1911–2011.

The Skiing Australia stamp products include a first day cover, stamp pack, maxicard set of three, self-adhesive sheetlets of 5 x $1.60 and 5 x $1.65 stamps and a self-adhesive roll of 100 x 60c stamps.