Back to Perisher Weekend (BtP) in 2019 marked the 11th year in a row of this very successful event held in the Perisher Range Resorts annually over the Easter weekend.
BtP encourages the use of Kosciusko National Park in autumn by promoting sport and community activities. It is a joint initiative of the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and SLOPES* (the Ski Lodges Organisation of Perisher Smiggins & Guthega Inc).
The format of Back to Perisher is a series of events held over the Easter Weekend. On the Saturday there is a Fun Run in the morning followed by a Duck Race on Perisher Creek in the afternoon. And the Perisher Fire Station holds an Open Day inviting kids during the day to climb over fire engines, sound sirens and play with live fire hoses. On Easter Sunday various events are held including an Easter egg hunt in the morning for kids hosted by NPWS and during the day guided tours for all-comers are conducted to places of interest like Blue Lake and a Perisher Village Interpretive Walk. Past years have included other events like the Guthega Super Sleuth Treasure Hunt and the Feature Creature exhibition (hosted by NPWS and including snakes, lizards, spiders and the only crocodile in Perisher!).
The Fun Run is the ‘highest (altitude) fun run in Australia’ and covers a course of around 7-8km. For the first 10 years participants starting as early as 7.30am ran from Perisher Gap along the Kosciuszko Road to Charlotte Pass. In 2019 at the much more civilised start time of 9.30am the Fun Run was conducted over a new course from the Perisher car park to the Blue Cow summit chair base via the lower Perisher road (past the North Perisher lodges) and returning via the upper Perisher road (past the Sundeck). With 125 registered runners/walkers (a new record) in 2019, the new course was judged to be harder and steeper in sections than the old route to Charlotte Pass and was highly rated by participants. Winners in different categories are presented with certificates. Held under clear blue skies this year, it is remarkable that in the 11 years of the Fun Run we have never experienced rain! The Fun Run attracts a wide range of participants from serious runners to families with strollers – but the main emphasis is on having fun.
On the other hand The Great Perisher Duck Race is ALL about having fun. The race starts at 4pm and involves coloured and numbered plastic ducks being cast adrift under one bridge over the Perisher Creek and moving in the water propelled by the current through the rocks and reeds to a finish line at the next bridge. The ducks are encouraged along the way by raucous crowds of up to 200 people that gather along the creek banks. The ducks are sold (to kids and some ‘big kids’) with all the proceeds (in 2019 $676) being donated to the Burns Unit at Westmead Children’s Hospital, the charity nominated by the NSW Fire Brigades. The local Fire Brigade set up wagons along the creek and hose straggling ducks on their way, especially if water levels are low – and sometimes use the high pressure hoses to create showers over the kids, adding to the fun of the event. After the race kids collect their ducks to keep as souvenirs. The Duck Race is followed by drinks at the White Spider.
BtP also benefits from the support of Perisher/Vail Resorts assisting with preparation of the Fun Run route, the Perisher Volunteer Ski Patrol members who provide First Aid and NPWS staff who close the roads and mark the route for the Fun Run and undertake various activities for the Duck Race eg standing in the freezing water of Perisher Creek and scooping up the ducks at the finish line to give to the kids!