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How New Zealand skiing works

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
One unusual aspect of New Zealand skiing is the many clubs which operate snowfields. They not only run the lifts, they provide simple accommodation where everyone chips in to run the places. It all adds up to affordable skiing tailored to the ski community, in a place which faces its own challenges - one of which is volcanic eruptions!

It all sounds very friendly and informal, as this interesting article from today's New Zealand Herald explains.

Do we have any Kiwi Snowheads, or anyone who's joined a NZ ski club or used its facilities?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well, here's my experience from long ago - it picks up what I wrote earlier this year in the SCGB forum.

I first skied near Arthur's Pass in the 60s, with a school party. Had a great couple of weeks. Wooden skis. Hired ordinary worker's boots, with grooves gouged in the heels for the bindings. Single rope tow - with little clips tied to your belt. You flicked the clip over the rope, clutching the 2 halves together, and up you went - or didn't if you were a beginner. You fell over.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
P.S. I wouldn't want to imply that most NZ skiing is run as above. Quite a number of the ski areas are run commercially. Maybe one thing to explore here is the split between club and commercial operations. The article points out some concern among clubs that their membership numbers are declining.

New Zealand is, of course, a country of very low population compared to Europe or the US. So its ability to realise the potential of ski slopes in a European/US way is modest.

The Scottish experience (and, as reported by Peter on this forum, the current Pennines experience) - where ski slopes were originally used by clubs and then developed by lift companies - is interesting to compare.

As explored on the Australia thread, maybe climate change will force marginal ski areas back into club operation to survive. I guess the old rule applies - where there's a natural resource to expolit (not oil in this case) people will want to make money, and may operate better lifts than a club would risk investing in.

So it'll be interesting to see whether New Zealanders keep their ski clubs going.

Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Mon 14-06-04 10:32; edited 1 time in total
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
In fact, I think my memory has been playing tricks. Digging around what information I still have, it looks as though I stayed in a club hut near the Hermitage hotel (then a much less swanky building than it is now) in the Mount Cook region - well away from Arthur's Pass (which I have also visited).

Beginnig to wish I had kept proper records. But I never have for skiing.

Skiing opportunities now seem to be heli-skiing (let's not thrash that one again!) or, I guess, ski touring.

I'd love to go back again.
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