I’m watching with interest the outside air temperature display on my car dashboard. As I go up, it goes down, dropping 12C as I drive the Great Alpine Rd from Harrietville to Mt Hotham, Australia’s highest alpine resort. But even here at 1750m it’s telling me it’s 17C. The thermals will stay stowed.

It’s been a warm, wet summer across the Victorian High Country and the vegetation is growing with the gusto of a North Queensland lawn. Winter ski runs are clad in lush alpine tussock and thick, flowering shrubs. Sporadic basalt boulder fields somehow defy gravity to stick to the mountain, and chairlifts are denuded, their chairs plucked from the cables and spooned together on the ground, like interlocked trolleys at the entrance to the supermarket. It feels eerie.

While many major overseas ski resorts are now just as busy in the green season as the white, attracting visitors to Australian resorts in summer is still in its infancy. But it’s quickly growing, and with ski seasons shrinking, it simply must. Mt Hotham might not have the mountain biking bedrock of Thredbo and Falls Creek, but it does have an ace card of exceptional hiking up its sleeve…

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