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Snow Report Hotham 2018 - Trip Reports, Pics & Conditions

Discussion in 'Hotham & Dinner Plain' started by Richard, May 9, 2018.

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  1. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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  2. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    New favourite Hotham run



    Had to do it a number of times just to make sure :)
     
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  3. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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  4. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    Eat, sleep, ski repeat :)



     
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  5. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    You were a few chairs off though!
     
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  6. cookieman

    cookieman One of Us

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    It was nice on the weekend.
    Try the knoll, skiers right just before top of Spargos.
    Not sure if thats it correct name, but a little known drop with a nice mix of open and spread out trees . Snow was also holding really well on Saturday.
     
  7. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    Scoping out the line :)

     
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  8. stansi

    stansi One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Grassy Knoll?
     
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  9. cookieman

    cookieman One of Us

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    Yep, thats how i know it.
    Doesn't seem to appear on trail maps?
    No grass at the moment.
     
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  10. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    It’s not named on trail maps because it’s not patrolled, if I’m thinking of the right area.
     
  11. MHzMe

    MHzMe Addicted

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    Dargo Bowl and H Gully were pretty good on Saturday. But it was warm work climbing back up.



    My line was a bit untidy - first day of tele this year.

     
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  12. Rush

    Rush Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    After ski-school drop-off at Big-D I headed over with my fellow parents for some warm-up runs of Summit and Sun-Run before I hit Sundowner, which was already very soft by 10 am.

    A couple of laps of Heavenly (Brockhoff/Imagine then Purgatory Spur) and then I played tour guide to take them over to the Orchard and back again before ski-school pick-up.

    A few more runs of Summit after lunch before heading back to Dinner Plain.

    Extreme area was closed until about midday, but which point it was too late for me to have a crack.
     
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  13. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah it was still very icy at the bottom til quite late apparently

    When orchard opened zirks etc the first few runs i saw some power slide the bottom section pretty hard into swindlers ck. One guy i saw hit the trees on the other side

    Aspect dfferences were massive yesterday
     
  14. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh look its sunny again!
     
  15. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah nah...



    Fog has rolled in at the top of the hill.
     
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  16. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    Extreme zone closed due to ice.

    Spargos closed.

    Best runs of the morning were north facing, eg Keoghs Basin.
     
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  17. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    But in the afternoon, some excellent fun off the back of the Big D with @mr








     
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  18. Rush

    Rush Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Started with laps of Snake Gully, Twilight Zone and Purgatory Spur. Extreme Zone opened so I got to Gotcha Face and the ridge of Mary’s Slide on the skiers right. Amazing cover for late September. After ski school pick up I took the kids for their first trip over to the Orchard.

    They had a good crack of Russell’s Runway and then
    back to Village via lower Imagine and Slalom Gully.

    Moist now in Dinner Plain with fog/light drizzle. Not sure if it is snowing on the hill.
     
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  19. Rush

    Rush Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Snowing in Dinner Plain now
     
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  20. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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  21. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Drift and orchard todays picks imo

    Gonna get heavy this arvo.....12 degrees on the clock at central
     
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  22. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    So we went again @DidSurfNowSki :)

    Stickier today, that little snowfall last night wasnt kind to the corn but a good freeze tonight will sort it out

    Went as far as possible down the gully this time

     
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  23. Rush

    Rush Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Dust on a frozen crust this morning. I have the feeling that it snowed more in Dinner Plain than at Hotham. Had a go of Purgatory Spur/Canyon, Cornice/Black Snake and top of Gotcha (Extreme was closed all morning). Skied Keogh's into the Orchard to check out Russell's Runway, which yesterday had fun slushy bumps but they were still rock hard at 11 am.

    Had a run of Australia Drift which was fantastic before I picked the kids up from ski-school. Son is now Level 5 and had his first lesson with poles, daughter is now Level 4.

    Left the hill at 1:30 pm for the drive home. I had three cars pull over and let me through on the descent which has never happened for me before (thank you fellow courteous drivers). Maybe having a red Subaru with a big red bonnet scoop has that effect?
     
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  24. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Does anyone know if the gully skiiers left of twirligig and just outside patrolled area has a name? Cheers

    By the way the marys exit is still totally covered and good from the marys bridge, but higher up on the north side of the creek there are 2 skis-off points and a couple of sketchy sideslips needed, and that tiny bridge is sphincter clenching.....personally but particularly watching mr11 shoot it....
     
  25. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Plenty of snow and time.....loving spring up here
     
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  26. Slalom

    Slalom A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Was gonna head to Falls but just booked accom in Harrietville for tomorrow night. Escape the GF build up, grab a half day skiing Sat, watch the replay back in the room and then a final farewell to season 18' on the slopes Sun.
     
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  27. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Got to early openers on heavenly which was fast and great....then 2nd breakfast, last fling on the drift. Home time
     
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  28. jungfrau

    jungfrau One of Us

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    Looks a bit different than late August
     
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  29. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Haha yep i also sat on the table when it was that deep. Always take the kids down there. Hidden magic. Also good place to cross from GP area just at the shed there
     
  30. Slalom

    Slalom A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    And the sun will rise.........even for Pie supporters.
     
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  31. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Magic spring day skiing
     
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  32. Slalom

    Slalom A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Out of interest. When you head up Australia Drift T what are these snow capped mountains looking out to the left.
     
  33. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    I’m guessing that’s Stirling on the right and the long one on the left is the crosscut saw. From Hotham Buller is just visible when you look through the saddle on the summit of Stirling.
     
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  34. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep agree

    Left is howitt crosscut speculation

    Right is a combo of stirling buller
     
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  35. Skiain

    Skiain Addicted

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    the sunset views towards Buffalo Plateau (apologies for the light flares) and, across the Razorback towards the Fainters, from just beneath Bon Accord Hill. Sept 27 27 Sept
     
  36. stansi

    stansi One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Looked pretty good goin' down there at sunset last night too.
    A few vehicles stopped to take in the view.
     
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  37. cookieman

    cookieman One of Us

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    Been a great season at Hotham.
    Inside word is the the old girl (playground double chair) has turned for the last time.
     
  38. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Certainly didn't turn at any point this season when I was up there. RIP old gal
     
  39. skiman81

    skiman81 Hard Yards

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    I couldn't understand why it was spinning yesterday, but makes more sense now. Maybe getting one last run. On a different note, I would have thought Hotham should be looking at more lifts, not less.
     
  40. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good luck with that.
    I have been saying for a long while now, Orchard was the last chair that’ll ever be built at Hotham!
     
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  41. skiman81

    skiman81 Hard Yards

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    I know. I believe the bean counters view is that there is already more lifting capacity on the mountain than there are beds on itso it makes no commercial sense to construct another lift. Sounds fine in theory and in years like the last couple where the whole mountain can be opened quickly and disperse the crowds. But in others where the only lift open is HV, the crowds are infuriating. Sad if Playground is going. Was always a good way to escape the build up at Road Runner when the lessons come out. Perhaps shift the whole lift to Avalanche Gully!!!
     
  42. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    Better to keep doing what they’ve been doing; making the most of what they’ve got. Snowmaking, summer grooming and glading (if that’s a possibility). And do what they can to lengthen the season on the Orchard and Blue Ribbon.
     
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  43. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Does anyone have a good photo of Playground? A "friend" runs the Australian ski lift directory website and would like to attach a photo of the lift to the report of its demise. I'm assured that the photographer will be credited.
     
  44. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    I'll trawl through the photos I have of it and send him some. I've got a great one of the summer of 93 when the Village went in and it has both the bottom station of the village and the playground next to each other. My old man will have some from the first few years it went in.
    Some fun facts which I know about -
    - For the first season in 69 it only loaded from the mid station.
    - The mid station was removed at a guess the 76/77 summer when the Sun Run t-bar went in.
    - The original load was a platform above Swindlers Creek. In the late 80's after Heavenly went in there was a huge storm that sent so much water down Swindlers Creek that it destroyed the bottom platform. So Swindlers Creek was further flumed where the platform was so you now loaded on terra firma. The change in levels required a new shorter tower at the bottom. Hence why the first tower on the current shorter lift is round as opposed to rectangular like the rest. The same storm washed so much debris down imagine and slalom gully (they had recently been bulldozed to make the runs they now resemble today), that the cable at the bottom load of HV was only about 1m above the ground.
    - In the summer of 92/93 it was shortened with the installation of the Village chair. It got new chairs that same year. One of the old chairs is currently welded to the DWA container at the bottom of the summit. The pylons upon which the current bottom load sits on are the old towers from the Brockoff and Summit pomas.
    - At some point in the mid 90's they reintroduced the mid load again by pushing out snow only (no structure). They only did this for 1 season, 2 max.
    - For the winter of 96 or 97 they rebuilt the mid load structure due to the Sun Run t-bar being replaced by the longer Road Runner chair.
    - For the last 5ish years it's only ran on an 'as need' basis when Road Runner isn't open or to deal with excessive crowds. I guess what sealed it's fate was snowmaking on the Summit meaning that the Road Runner chair was now completely covered by snow making.

    Th bolds are just my best guess, if anyone knows the real years then pipe up.
     
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  45. stansi

    stansi One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jesus, just give "Bongon" the video of those Orchard towers being lifted in, He'll have an erection for a week.
     
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  46. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    Bottom load in 1990. 30 minute waits were the norm at 16:30 once Heavenly shut. Note the new 'Tower 1' which replaced the old ones when the old load was washed away in the late 80s. Note the old chairs. I believe they used to have foot rests on them and were removed at some point. The thing on the ground to the left of the hut was mounted on the back of the chair to put the rescue sleds on - it used to hit the towers as it went up. The bottom of the Village chair being constructed in April 1993. Photo taken from Tower 1 on the Playground. I never understood why they just couldn't have separated them a bit more and have had both chairs loading from the bottom. There was sufficient snow for the Village to run on opening weekend that year - only about 8 weeks after this photo was taken.
    The construction of the new bottom load of the double chair in April 1993. Those pylons are the towers from the Brockoff and Summit pomas.

    Just found the cd which has that video on it. I'll hold off for a few more years.
     
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  47. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well stansi, someone has to record and document stuff like this or knowledge of it will be lost.

    Thanks for all that Timmosy. 1969 was (apparently) a very poor year for snow. Over at Falls Creek there wasn't enough snow to operate the brand new International Poma for even one day. So Playground may have only operated from the mid station because it wasn't entirely finished, or it may have been due to lack of snow lower down. I have no idea which.

    BTW. Was it always called Playground or was it given that name later on? The recollections of a few old timers just call it "the chairlift".
     
  48. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    I'm looking at a BP Ski Guide from 1974 "with the compliments of Mt Hotham Heating Services Pty. Ptd" which has it named as "CHAIRLIFT" on two separate maps. It shows a middle station.

    A map from 1984 from the Department of Crown Land and Survey has it labelled as "Playground Double Chairlift". It doesn't show a middle station.
     
  49. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks again Timmossy. I knew a lot of that, but nearly half of what you wrote is new to me.

    Here's a draft history of Playground. It's a bit rough at the moment and the phrasing is awkward in a few places, but any comments, feedback, corrections, etc would be appreciated.

    Playground chairlift
    Ski Tows Limited was a non profit company that ran most of Hotham’s lifts from 1952. However operating on a cost recovery basis meant that after building the Blue Ribbon nutcracker tow, it barely had the money to build a few short surface lifts in the years that followed. The under capitalisation of the lift company became a serious impediment to the development of Hotham at a time when Buller and Falls Creek were booming. This changed after the 1968 ski season when a controlling interest was sold to Des Schumann who immediately began planning new lifts.

    At the time Hotham had a few shortish beginner lifts but the Blue Ribbon nutcracker tow was the only lift that served longer slopes with more challenging terrain. However the mountain had huge potential with a wealth of challenging but unlifted slopes. It seems Schumann wanted to make a splash in his first season of owning the lift company, so he ordered a Doppelmayr chairlift, something that Hotham skiers had hardly dared to dream about. It was originally planned to install the new lift on Australia Drift, but late in the planning process, it was moved to the slope north of Zirkys leading down to Swindlers Creek.

    In 1969 the brand new chairlift only operated from the mid station. This may have been because it wasn’t quite finished, but 1969 was a very poor ski season without much snow and the brand new International Poma at nearby Falls Creek ski resort never operated at all. So for whatever reason, the new chairlift only operated from top to bottom from the winter of 1970. Initially it was simply known as ‘the chairlift’ but after the Blue Ribbon chairlift was opened in 1981, it was given the name Playground.

    The original base station was built almost on top of Swindlers Creek and in the late 1980s a flood destroyed the base station. As there had recently been a lot of earth works upstream to improve runs served by the new Heavenly Valley quad, and the disturbed area had not had time to revegetate, the flood also washed a lot of dirt down the creek, slightly raising the ground level of the Playground chairlift. So after a bigger channel was built for the creek, a new base for the chairlift was installed that required a shorter first tower. While original lift towers had a rectangular profile, this newer tower was round.

    The chairlift was successful in its first years of operation as it served a variety of runs. It also permitted development further up Swindlers Creek Valley and when Brockhoff Poma opened in 1972, it accessed a huge area that had previously required long climbs on foot. Both lifts were heavily used and in a way became victims of their own success. Long queues meant that more lifts were required to relieve crowding and in 1987 Heavenly Valley quad chair replaced the Brockhoff Poma. This placed even more pressure on the double chair as it was used as an access lift for Brockhoff and later Heavenly Valley, with queues up to 30 minutes long after the quad closed at 4.30. So in the summer of 1992 - 1993 the Village quad chair (later renamed Audi Quatro) was built close to the double chair.

    While the top stations of the two chairlifts were over 200 metres apart, it was decided to build the Swindlers Creek base station of the new Village quad right next to the base of Playground, meaning that the loading point of Playground had to be moved. As the slope immediately above the creek was particularly steep, the old double chair had a new base station built further up the hill above the steep section, the new bottom load platform was supported by reused towers from the former Brockhoff and Summit pomas. At the same time the revamped lift got new chairs. As there was space for the bases of both chairlifts near the creek, it is unclear why a route was chosen for the new quad that did not allow Playground to continue operating without being shortened.

    After the Sun Run T-bar was built in 1979, the mid station was removed as the new T-bar duplicated the upper section of Playground. An improvised mid station made from snow was utilised for a year or two after Sun Run T-bar was replaced by the much longer Road Runner quad chair before a proper mid station was rebuilt around 1996 or 1997.

    However the new base of the double chair was never terribly popular and in its last two decades Playground probably loaded most of its passengers from the mid station adjacent to the base of the new Road Runner quad. In a way it operated as a replacement for the Sun Run T-bar.

    From the turn of the century the old chair was used less and less and in its last few years it was only used occasionally, mostly when Road Runner was on wind hold or to move skiers when things became crowded. Playground ran for the last time on 7 October 2018 at the end of its 50th ski season. A video of a ride from the mid station can be found at this link.
     
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  50. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Any chairs for sale (a la BB1 @ buller)?

    Dibs on #69
     
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