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Wintersports in Australia just got more accessible

Are you already missing the colder weather? Dreaming of next year's trip to the snow? Here's some good news for you: Alpine Resorts Victoria (ARV) is improving access to alpine resorts for people with a disability.

Are you already missing the colder weather? Dreaming of next year’s trip to the snow? Here’s some good news for you: Alpine Resorts Victoria (ARV) is improving access to alpine resorts for people with a disability.

A new hub has opened up at Falls Creek in Slalom Plaza, specifically dedicated to Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA). It provides a central and convenient meeting point for DWA members and volunteers, and increases DWA’s visibility throughout the area.

DWA Chief Executive Officer Tony Murray says that they are working to make alpine resorts accessible for all, so that more Australians can take advantage of our alpine regions.

“We know that access and cost are the main barriers to disabled people and their families enjoying the snow,” she says. “Wheelchair accessible transport from the carpark, accessible bathrooms, change rooms, and an area to fit and store specialised adaptive equipment are critical.”

Representatives of Disabled Wintersport Australia in front of the new hub at Falls Creek
Top L-R: ARV CEO Amber Gardner, Jeremy Limpens (DWA Resort Services Coordinator), Lincoln Budge (DWA Resort Services Coordinator), Min Middleton (DWA Camp Manager), Stuart Smythe (Falls Creek COO)
Bottom L-R: Ross Passalaqua (DWA Board Member), Jenni Cole (former DWA CEO)
DWA members will be making most of the new accessible hub at Falls Creek. Credit: DWA

One exciting planned change to come with the Falls Creek hub is the construction of a Changing Places facility. ARV has been awarded a $180,000 grant from the Victorian Government to build the facility within the new lakeside development site at the Rocky Valley foreshore. The Changing Places bathroom will sit alongside change-room and storage facilities that will make Falls Creek more accessible for wintersports enthusiasts with specific mobility needs.

Mr Murray said the new Changing Places facility planned at Falls Creek will serve as an exceptional addition to the resort, fostering a vibrant hub for summer and winter activities including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, and watersports.

Other planned accessibility improvements for the region include improved accessible accommodation, equipment storage areas, undercover accessible parking, accessible Village busses, and instructors trained in adaptive skiing with sit-skis for visitor use.

Participation is expected to double this year, with increasing numbers of DWA members planning to take advantage of the improvements. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

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