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Hotham / DP brickbats and bouquets

Discussion in 'Hotham & Dinner Plain' started by Ziggy, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    what a crock of s$%#

    1. thinner tyres are better in the snow, as the tread doesnt fill with compacted snow as much, or is more easily expelled
    2. in the good old days, with poor quality cars, wheel chains and actual snow, we all seemed to make it to Mt Hotham
    3. modern cars may have more torque/horse power, yet they apply that to the drive train much more evenly than the old manual 3 on the tress holden with a dodgy clutch and ladder chains
    4. No they are not heavier, do your research, I would bet that the average weight of vehicles has come down considerably
    5. The alternative products are not inferior, as many of them have been used in Europe and Nth America and work a treat
    6. Its all about the driver 100%. And the simple throwaway line "drive to the conditions" eg not fast, even/light breaking etc etc.

    It doesnt matter what 4wd system you have, what tyres you have or what chains you have, if you dont drive to the conditions you are in trouble. And if you start sliding, then your $500 snowflake tyres and $300 set of diamond chains made of hardened steel aint gonna help
     
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  2. plink01

    plink01 Hard Yards

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    Hey I saw that! It was wild, there was about 3 seconds when I was watching it fly down the mountain and I was amazed then all of a sudden it clicked and I realised it was heading straight to the lift line. I was the guy who screamed look out from the lift. Was the lady ok?? That was one of the craziest things I've seen on a ski hill, that board must have been going over 50kph! The lady went from standing to on her back in about. 1 seconds! I thought she would have had a busted ankle for sure, if it hit above the boot I rekon that would have snapped her leg clean in half.
     
  3. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    good reason to telemark then, no heel binding to smash! :)

    i agree though, runaway boards farken scary
     
  4. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    a board went through the heavenly load yesterday
     
  5. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    Hit the nail on the head. The FCRMB CEO wrote an article in last weeks local whats happening newsletter which was directly in response to the discussions about AWD, snowtyres, excessive fitting of chains on 'black' roads on here and FB. In reference to 4WD vs AWD (of which there is no standard definition) he referred to a youtube video! Imagine that, legislation based on a youtube video. In nearly 2 pages of words he failed to mention speed once.....apparently if you've got difflocks you're good to go. What he failed to acknowledge is that at Falls, prior to 2014, there was no recommending AWD fit chains, when chains were required it was not for a minimum of 5 km when the first 4+kms of that is 'black' road and the snowclearers priority was to clear the road to enable access to the resort without the need to fit chains....'get the road back to black' was their mantra.

    The number one issue is that people are driving too fast, regardless of 4WD, AWD or chains fitted....followed closely by too heavy on the accelerator and brake pedals. I observed a car the other day heading up hill with chains fitted going sideways on the Howman's Gap corner...simply they were going too fast.
     
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  6. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I dispute... New cars are heavier than old cars due to all the extra safety features and the general shift toward SUVs.
    E.g. VB-VL commodore 1,220-1,350kg
    VE - VF commy 1,620 - 1,800kg
     
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  7. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've seen plenty of vehicles in trouble but uphill there is a new one for me. gentle corner in a 40 zone with reasonable expectation of stopped traffic and pedestrians. we are evolving a better strain of idiots
     
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  8. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Those thing should be banned. They’re like missles and they cause nothing but problems.
     
  9. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Howdy, a good point, this might be so but lets remember that the Commodore evolved greatly over its lifetime. The first (5?) models were based on a smaller Euro platform and noticeably smaller than Falcons of their day.

    They Subsequently evolved into a the full ‘Aussie sized’ vehicle
    For next? 28 years? And obviously a much heavier/ better beast than those early Opel jobbies.

    In fact a big enough for Chevrolet to rebadge in the US.
     
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  10. Echo Base

    Echo Base Hard Yards

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    The skier was rather startled but ok, her binding and boot took the force of the impact. I was facing the other way and heard a bang behind me, to see a loose board, a skier on the deck, a loose heel binding and a large absence of the board's owner. It took him five minutes or so to emerge from the Brockhoff run ridge
     
  11. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Herminator, I was referring to the proliferation of small compact vehicles and SUV's, where as 20 - 30 years ago most people had a large commodore or falcon. Although yes that is an interesting point!
     
  12. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yes.. but those small compacts and SUVs are heavier than you might think.

    So compared with 30y ago (in general), the cars are heavier, the fatties driving and riding in them are heavier and so the GVMs are heavier. More weight = more inertia = more propensity to slide off the road
     
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  13. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    LOL you may well be right
     
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  14. Idoitmyway

    Idoitmyway Early Days

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    Remember the old Hotham sticker, "Hotham - Powder Capital of Australia"?
    Should bring it back for days like today, or any time it snows these days actually.

    "Hotham - Powder Capital of Australia. Because we'll lock you out to keep it fresh"

    After over 30 years working up there, I get it that the road is a nightmare to manage, I don't envy whoever gets handed the job.
    I also recognise that the demographic has and continues to change (willfully, due to "successful" marketing), and that those changes are making the job even harder.
    Cars have changed, attitudes have shifted and I don't think any of it has made the road easier to manage.
    Lots more 4WD/AWD that go much better than 2WD, but don't make much difference when stopping.
    More drivers of said 4WD's who rarely drive on anything slipperier than a Toorak tram track.
    Tyres that look great and possibly are on bitumen or firm sand and dirt, but about the worst configuration possible for snow.
    More coaches.
    And way more traffic in general.

    I also get it that "lowest common denominator" pretty much has to apply. Once one incompetent driver (in the literal sense of "does not have the competency", I'm not criticising, necessarily) puts their car or coach sideways in the bank, or wraps a chain around the axle and jams the park brake on, it's game over for everyone else while the road crew try to get them out of the way and still keep the road clear.

    However - when I see things such as
    • Collecting 3 queues of vehicles in Dungey Hollow ready to un-escorted convoy up, then sending the last ones in up first! I'm sure I saw smoke, if not flames, coming out of the first driver's ears as they watched everyone pass them by. FIFO (F for First, not F for Fly) is an unknown concept apparently. Maybe it's deliberate - that driver may never return, so one less vehicle on the road to deal with;)
    • Fitting chains to all vehicles at bays that are patently incapable of holding all the traffic arriving
    • Providing no incentive or actual disincentive to do anything other than act like a sheep.
    • Refusing to even place signage suggesting drivers "Consider following vehicles", let alone signing pull-outs (apparently VicRoads can't create compliant pull out bays, or at least can't with the money available. Although I find it odd when you look at what signage is in place on other roads, eg BawBaw)
    • Holding for convoy in Baldy Hollow for half an hour, in clear blue skies, 1cm of beautifully plowed snow on the road, in a 4WD with snow tyres, with long term off-mountain driver at 7:30 am. I kid you not.
    • Year after year continuing with the same formula of "if it gets difficult we'll convoy, then close the road if it looks too difficult".
    • Convoys taking 8 hours to get from Buckland to Hotham! What a fabulous start to a holiday!
    If Hotham wants all these people up there, then get a plan.
    • More (effective) shuttle services from the valley,
    • incentives to fit decent tyres and drive appropriately,
    • perhaps a reward for not making an arse of yourself on the road. They know the weather & road conditions at all times, they scan your rego every time you enter, and they see pretty much every vehicle that gets in trouble - not too hard to correlate this data and weight the value of each trip. Then maybe a discount on your next entry permit if you've been a successful little punter on the road. Or a penalty if you've been a nuisance.
    • a plan to make convoys more effective - more lead vehicles perhaps.
    • a better means of clearing stuck vehicles (on-site, compulsory fee-for service tow truck. Agreed to in terms and conditions)
    • increased professional chain fitting service
    • maybe a return to something like the old "chain fitting exemptions" for highly experienced road drivers with appropriate vehicle with appropriate tyres. Driving test (and fee) applies.
    • if the RMB doesn't have the dollars to fund it, and don't want to simply pass it on to resort entry fees, let the operators decide how much they want their clients up there, and apply a commercial levy to fund some of these things. Flame suit on.
    And that's before we get into the village with it's parking and bus nightmare. I know there are projects in the pipeline to help alleviate some of this but let's face it, the highest ski village in Australia, sitting on a relatively sharp and exposed ridge is always going to have some issues fitting an ever increasing number of vehicles! Time to think creatively and work out how to reduce the incoming flow, not dicking about squeezing 5, 10 or a 100 more spaces in, especially when doing so is so expensive in financial, environmental and aesthetic costs.

    On a positive, personally I don't miss any of the old transport vehicles - the ski racks didn't fit all the skis and boards anyway and yes, pedestrians were collected by them. The new buses are more comfortable and the minor inconvenience of carrying my skis is offset by not having to deal with the chaos caused by people trying to get past each other going to racks. My only real complaint with them is the rubber matting on the floor being a significant hazard as it slips about & causes trip hazards. And the RMB staff are doing a better job organising the sheep onto them than in the past, so all good.
    The service itself is perhaps a different matter, but half an hour from Jack Frost to RMB workshop isn't so bad is it? I walked last time as it was actually faster than the bus.
     
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  15. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    You sound like you're in the know. Have you communicated any of this to BT or JH directly (at Hotham) or Vicroads directly?

    Other things to note: Vicroads puts out a community consultation for the GAR in the off-season when none of these issues are front of mind or are forgotten about 8 months later (cynicism leads me to think this is to avoid criticism and tick the 'consultation' box). The RMB annual report (e.g. with stats on prop'n of days with 'chains all vehicles') now comes out after the stakeholder briefing at the MCG, thereby denying another opportunity to give valuable feedback.
     
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  16. euexp

    euexp Hard Yards

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  17. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Would be interesting to know how Vail sees the whole situation...
     
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  18. N0frilz

    N0frilz Hard Yards

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    It is what it is australians as a hole just don’t know how to drive to the conditions. If people learnt to drive to the conditions you’d find the road control would be more relaxed as less cars would be getting stuck or ending up in the ditch.
     
  19. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've driven all over the world in all sorts of snowy conditions but seriously, Hotham road in a blizzard is easily one of the worst. Punters don't stand a chance. I'm fine with it but don't even bother in these conditions...which is almost the only time I go atm.
    I just go via Omeo, but that's an easy decision for me from southern bayside Melbourne.
     
  20. sbm_

    sbm_ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Compared to the insanity that is the Colorado Interstate 70, I reckon they see it as rather quaint and have a chuckle.

    Imagine if, instead of the GAR, the Hume Highway went over Mt Hotham complete with dual carriageways, and all the Sydney-Melbourne traffic and B-doubles and trucks. That's the I70.
     
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  21. PG2736

    PG2736 Hard Yards

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    Agree...I don’t mind putting the chains on - takes all of 5 mins but now it has got absolutely ridiculous. They are catering to the lowest common denominator... but There has to be some sort of common sense approach going forward. The traction is actually worse driving on the black top with them on than it is with a proper 4wd fitted with winter tyres.
     
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  22. sbm_

    sbm_ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    You think to yourself, surely you're exaggerating sbm. If the Hume Highway got conditions like the Hotham road, there'd be be pileups with like five trucks and twenty cars, it would almost be completely impassible in a bad storm, you'd wait for 2, 3, 4, 5...six hours!? There'd be burning vehicle wrecks everywhere and tears freezing instantly on children's cheeks as they cry in the flickering light of burning hazardous goods trucks half buried in landslides and debris!

    Yes, the I70 is that bad.
     
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  23. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Silly comparison imo.
     
  24. Idoitmyway

    Idoitmyway Early Days

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    "I know nothink", as Manuel from Fawlty Towers would say.

    Some of it I have passed on, but it's one voice in many, and those in the hot seat have to balance a lot of issues.
    Some I've passed on and people thought I was joking - a common reaction to my best ideas :)
    I don't think there's any hidden agenda despite my natural cynicism.
    I just think it's a natural consequence of management by committee (Police, VicRoads, RMB, MHSC & probably some more I've forgotten about). Committees aren't usually much good at coming up with new and innovative solutions.
     
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  25. Idoitmyway

    Idoitmyway Early Days

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    Q. Where do they learn to drive to the conditions of the Hotham Road?
    A. The Hotham Road.

    Catch 22.
     
  26. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    No other road like it in Australia.
    Although the steepness on the Baw Baw road in a low level event brings a similar set of problems with the inexperienced
     
  27. Idoitmyway

    Idoitmyway Early Days

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    I'm guessing you're suggesting a gondola up from Harrietville or somewhere?
    De-icing time - long.
    Cross wind limit & exposure - not looking good.
    Return on Investment - not much unless over a very long time. Global warming anyone?
    It might work nicely on the sunny days, certainly wouldn't work at all on a day like today.

    Difficult.
     
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  28. N0frilz

    N0frilz Hard Yards

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    Driven way worse roads around the world that the Hotham road. Try going into mt o in Nz.
    knob response, do you take a learner down a double black run for there first ever run on skis or a board?

    There’s plenty of places in nsw and vic to head to drive in the snow with out going to Hotham. Learning to drive these routes will give some one the basics to tackle the Hotham and not make stupid decisions.

    There’s plenty of ways that people could educate themselves before heading up here. for example day tripping to other resorts/
    Snow areas. going and doing some driver training. Even going up with Some one who has experience and can explain what to do.
     
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  29. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    As if that's a realistic option for people on an annual ski holiday/ odd weekends. Etc
     
  30. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I wonder how they deal with treacherous conditions like this over there?
     
  31. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Things seemed to work a whole lot better back in the old days when there was heaps more snow, heaps less traffic, and a dirt road. And no fairy lights on the orange poles.
    Oh, and less meetings, committees, risk averse proactive dithering, and chitter chatter. Just plenty of ballsy blokes with big machines that took pride in keeping the road open. And my dad who’d put me on a leash aged five in heavy fog in front of the car to navigate.
    These days we have 10 cents and a stiff breeze, everybody suddenly seems to crap their dacks, and road gets closed. It’s the only affirmative action they know.
     
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  32. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bloody oath.
    Less visitors though too.
     
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  33. euexp

    euexp Hard Yards

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    Agree , might have a limited use in this part of the world
     
  34. gettingtooold

    gettingtooold One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've always thought the road was much better to drive on when unsealed and under snow.
    The dust at times was a pain.
     
  35. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Gravel and snow are great.
     
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  36. The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I LOVE putting chains on 15 KMs from the actual snow on the road for a 200 metre stretch....
     
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  37. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    No namby-pamby breath testing either. Get blotto at the Snowline then let her rip up the hill in the Kingswood. And don’t get me started on seat belts.
     
  38. Idoitmyway

    Idoitmyway Early Days

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    Fair enough.

    How many of the currently common Indian families, for instance, coming to Hotham for a toboggan and snow play do you reckon will take up that plan?
    They are choosing to day trip to Hotham because it's being marketed to them that way. I don't think Hotham marketing is about to say, "Come to Hotham for your second snow play, after you've been to one of our competitors". Personally I agree with you - there's too many people up there already, send some elsewhere. Good solution for me.
    And which of the people that they know has the experience to help them out?

    Sure that's only one segment of the market, but it does illustrate the problem I think. Despite risking political incorrectness, I'd humbly suspect that segment is likely over-represented in the traffic incident stats on Hotham.

    I have thought along a similar line - train volunteers to act as "road pilots" for coaches and maybe even private vehicles. When the weather is very inclement only vehicles with knowledgeable pilots alongside the driver are permitted up. These pilots will advise speeds, likely icy corners, how to correctly fit chains etc. All the locals who want to get up on a powder day will become volunteers!

    Sadly Hell will become a ski area before that could happen in our litigation-paralyzed society.
     
  39. Idoitmyway

    Idoitmyway Early Days

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    So here's your Hotham chain challenge.

    Both passenger and driver must be seated in the front seats. The doors may be open and seatbelts off. Chains may be on their laps.
    On the signal, both fit their respective wheel chains.
    The clock stops when both doors have slammed shut.
    If chains need to be refitted or tightened, or if they fail to remain correctly fitted for the remainder of the journey ("journey" is defined as not less than equivalent to Baldy Hollow to Corrall Car Park (I use traditional whitefella names), the team is disqualified.
    A third party must conduct the timing (it is acceptable for this to be another member travelling in the same vehicle if necessary).

    30 seconds flat is the current time to beat.

    If you get close to that then you'll find that fitting chains is barely a blip in the journey, you might even look forward to it!

    Perhaps this could be part of the Hotham Access Pass permit application. LOL
     
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  40. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter One of Us

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    best post on this forum ever! :emoji_clap:
     
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  41. mattyv

    mattyv Hard Yards

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    30 seconds is bloody impressive!!
     
  42. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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  43. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    and lets not forget who manages the road = Vicroads and their designated snow clearing contractor.

    So the determination of an unsafe road would be 1. Contractor and/or VicPol, 2. VicRoads Thats it no one else has any jurisdiction over the road, not RMB, not MHSC/Vail.

    The snow clearing on the Great Alpine Road is kindly paid for by the tax payers of Victoria, not Resort Entry charges. The RMB do not "make money" from Resort Entry, this is a cost recovery mechanism to pay for visitor services that the RMB provides within the designated resort boundary.
     
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  44. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    yes 30secs is awesome, I can really only do about 2 mins a side
     
  45. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    From Facebook, only at Hotham do you get this in AUS resorts (maybe Buller?)
     
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  46. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Could be interpreted liberally... they don't "make money" but $$ from fines doubling YoY (but i suspect the amount of wrongdoing not doubling)... Not "making money" but blowing the budget on marketing... Not making any attempt to find savings in the cost of operations and pass on to the gate entry payers or the leaseholders. BRICKBAT
     
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  47. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    695
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    Hermannator I didn't say it was used in the best way or could be done better :):), I was just stating a fact.
     
  48. hongomania

    hongomania One of Us Ski Pass: 30 Day

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,940
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    Location:
    Melbourne
    After a lift from DP to Hotham this morning if anyone is around?
     
  49. N0frilz

    N0frilz Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
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    Bus service is a joke at Hotham.
     
  50. MHzMe

    MHzMe Addicted

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2001
    Messages:
    280
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    111
    Location:
    Marouka Lodge
    Thumbs up for Hoff Hut, as Joyce Brockhoff has been branded this year. Great ambience and friendly staff, and I like the soup.
     
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