Piste de Resistance

BY JONATHAN CHANCELLOR

THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN, June 2017

There might have been good early cover at Australian ski resorts this winter but recent chalet sales activity has been little more than a snow flurry.

There is, however, keen interest in any luxury off the plan offering. Whitehorse Village at Mount Buller, a development by snow veterans the Grollo Group, ranks as the most exciting property project in the Australian Alps. Lorenzo Grollo, son of Rino and Diana Grollo, has been planning the $35 million development for the past decade.

Whitehorse Village sits next to the Bourke St ski run in the area known as the Toorak of Mt Buller. And Castran Real Estate agent John Castran reckons the project is the most exclusive drive-in, ski-out ownership opportunity in the country. Designed by Interlandi Mantesso Architects, it comprises six three-storey buildings with metal cladding above a stone and masonry base.

The three-bedroom apartments (pictured) typically span 120sq m of internal space. Stage one is 75 per cent sold, with prices around $1.7 million.

Nearby, RT Edgar agent Mark Woodsford is marketing Il Posto, four family chalets designed by alpine architects Salter Architects. Set near Abom chairlift, three of the four have been snapped up before upcoming construction. Each 240sq m residence has four bedrooms and four bathrooms and were priced off the plan at about $1.645 million.

Much of the ski property market has been on a downhill run since the global financial crisis in 2008, with prices on the rise but yet to fully recover in the most niche of second home markets. Over summer, RT Edgar sold La Grangette, a three-bedroom Mt Buller chalet on the slopes of Shakey Knees designed by Peter McIntyre that fetched around $1.285 million when sold for the first time.

Mt Hotham’s Blowhard, the 1999 chalet designed by his son, Rob McIntyre, on the edge of Swindler’s Valley, also sold over summer. It was listed in 2012 with hopes of $2.25 million but $2 million-plus prices have rarely been seen since 2008, when Under the Moonlight, the Dinner Plain chalet designed by the Rome-based architect Giovanni D’Ambrosio, fetched $2.05 million.

It’s no surprise the Thredbo record dates from before the global financial crisis. It was 2005 when entrepreneur Andrew Roberts paid $3.5 million for the five-bedroom chalet Tussock.

Melbourne architect Andrew Norbury and his wife Jane Parker, one of the founders of fashion label Country Road, sold the home. Norbury designed it to sit on Crackenback Ridge, one of Thredbo’s highest building blocks. The two-storey residence features remote-controlled underfloor heating, plus floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on snow gums and passing skiers.

There was the one noteworthy sale at Thredbo over the past summer – De Dacha lodge, which went for $2.25 million. Overlooking the duck ponds, the four-bedroom European alpine-style lodge ranks as the loveliest of the village’s private abodes.

Former society model Fiona Campbell sold the chalet, which has been an $8000-a-week peak season rental, to the ski-loving Punch family through local agent Doug Edwards at Mountain High Real Estate.

Lendlease resort manager Albert Van der Lee built it for a mere $28,000 and lived there from 1962 to 1984. It last traded in 1994 for a record $810,000 when Campbell and her then husband, publisher Matt Handbury, bought it from village developers Lendlease.

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