Olden days at Buller...

VSG

Crayon Master
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Before most of you were born...

1982..

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skiflat

Old n' Crusty
Aug 10, 1999
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WOW - Nice read ! Orange and blue lifts
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23 lifts then and 25 now, so I guess the two magic carpets ?
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Bogong

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A few of the things written there aren't quite right. The Buller Chalet wasn't built until 1929, and the road was built earlier than it says.

If wonder why they pulled the Sun Valley Poma out after only six years (1980 - 1985), it had a great location around Mens Downhill - Womens Downhill.
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EDIT. Mmmm Moguls.
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Those were the good old days before they groomed the crap out of everything AND before snowboarders.
 
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hongomania

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true anddee im an idiot.....
yes i agree Bogong. no snowboarders. and in regard to grooming....there is a need for some groomed slopes to rip it up on for some fun.....but dont groom wood run, fall line, etc, unless they REALLY need to once to pack down the base. speaking of which, (off topic), why was fall line never opened this season, even with awesome cover.?
 

skiflat

Old n' Crusty
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christianf: Nope not an idiot, just didn't check before you typed !
 

Planks & Sticks

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Found this on my hard drive. Can't remember where I got it from though. I think it was some historic photo archive website. Oh well, here are the pictures of the double chair lift that serviced Bourke Street.

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PS: I was only born in 1988, so I obviously never skied Mt Buller the time the photos were taken, consider me a late comer!
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Hedrive fastcars

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Ah the good old days, I can remember it as if it was yesterday. As a kid we used to ski Orange lift most of the time, so a walk up to Helicopter flat to buy lift tickets was required. I can remember my old man making us walk up with all our gear to save buying a one way ticket on the Bourke St chair, every now and then we could con him into it.

Riding the Baldy duplex poma was a crazy experience, getting launched into the air as it takes off and even getting lifted off the ground midway up for no apparent reason. The Summit access poma was a great way to access the Koflers area, Howqua was serviced by a poma and if memory serves me correct Koflers T-bar ran down to the current chair load, summit had a duplex poma, you could catch Tyrol all the way up to baldy and ski off down toward Howqua.

Skiing wombat bowl was great, skiing through the trees until you hit a rope line, then you would traverse across to Little Buller spur, going past the rope required walking out. Federation, Grimus and Burnt hut were all new. I can remember falling of the Chamois poma and taking people out as I slid down the thin steep tree lined lower section of the lift. The old Abom restaurant, having to walk down those steep thin stairs for pancakes or minestrone for lunch.

The last time I skied Buller Bull run chair was new, would love to get back up there on day!
 

Sandy

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The Bourke St double chair is where BB1 is now.

I wouldn't bother yearning for the old days though....

The queues at Helicopter flat just after lunch, for the Baldy pomas, and the Summit Access Poma were around 30 minutes.

And on any weekend the line for the Koflers T-Bar (at the bottom of Howqua & the Family run) was about 40min!!!!
 

currawong

Old but not so Crusty
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Ah the olden days at Buller: I remember queues over 30 mins at Koflers T-bar, up to an hour at Tyrol. The wonderful return poma from Howqua. Grooming almost no-existent. Skiing in the white-outs on summit staying close to the pomas so you didn't get lost. Staying in the condemned leaky shack that was MUSKI.

Actually I had a ball at Buller in the 70's but I could probably count the days since in one hand. Must get back for a play one day.
 
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PolePlant

Guest
WOW
Great pics

A real blast from the past for me.
I remember those old chairlifts on Bourke Street well.

Started skiing age 4
1965

Went every year up to the 80's
My parents were originaly in YHA when it was down at Skating Rink and was the only digs on the Moutain. (it was called "Shiver Shanty")
They all used to go up in a Bus they had to YHA, Ive got some pics of it.
Then they'd hike up the the Summit with Skiis and lunch.
Spend the day up there skiing down and walking up.
Got some pics of that.

No tows back then up top.

The first tow was a Rope tow on Bourke Street, it belonged to Ski Club of Vic
I think we've got some pics of that somewhere too.

Eventually they moved the YHA lodgings up to where the village is now
The "farass" brothers next door had another lodge called Kooroora.
There was also Ski Club of Vic up the hill (the rich toffs)
Basically 3 lodges on the mountain at that point.

YHA crew all used to go over the the Kooroora chalet to socialise and drink themselves stupid, eventualy the brothers got a licence to have the alcohol at Kooroora which was the beginings of it being a Pub.

My old man was a public servant and so joined API and they built a ski club behind Kooroora called API, Australian Postal Institute.
Now called APIRA ski club.

when I started in 65 my old man made us pay our dues.
We had to walk up Bourke Street and ski down.
By the time I was about 6 we got on the lift.

So in 1969 there was
Bourke Street Chair (Blue Lifts)
Bull Run T bar (Blue Lifts)
Summit Access Poma (Orange Lifts)
Baldy Poma (Orange Lifts)
Whittaker Poma (Blue Lifts)
Skyline T Bar (Blue Lifts)
Chamois Poma (Blue Lifts)
Federation T bar (Orange Lifts)
Tyrol T bar (Orange Lifts)
Shaky Knees T Bar (Orange Lifts)
Summit Poma pair (Orange Lifts)
Boggy Creek T Bar (Orange Lifts)

Howqua Poma (Orange Lifts), which was the other end of Summit Access Poma from Bourke Street, so Howqua operators had to constantly send Poma's back to Bourke Street.

Essentialy, Blue lifts ran the bottom half, Orange lifts ran the top half.
The dual company thing was inasane, bad, wrong, stupid.
And good riddance to it.

81 I worked there, it was a huge season.
July 1 it came down and didn't stop

Worked in Blue lifts for a while for Hilton Wood.
He was an [auto-censor] of a man.
The living quarters at Bull Run house where crap, so was the food.
Working Bk St chair sucked, but Top of Baldy sucked more which was the point I went to Orange lifts.

Better digs at Tyrol House, better food.
Better lifts.
I got stuck down at Howqua sneindg Pomas back to Bk Street to begin with, being from Blue Lifts I was a "Blue Lifts Bludger" according the George the Mad Fat cook which was a reflection of the rivalries between the two companies.

However, came time for the Ziggy Zaggy, (do not ask me to descirbe this drunken Austrian madness)
A few of the staff that where not into quaffing beer like me excused themselves from it, big mistake for them, but I had the inside on that.
I said the Hans Grimus, I dont drink Beer Hans but Ill show up and give it a go.
He said "Good, you do that"
Which I knew refered to the unwritten law of Orange lifts, ALL STAFF attend Ziggy Zaggy.

So anyway I managed to down 13 pots of beer, as in tossed down the throat.
It was about then Hans dissapeared and everyone dispersed to crawl home
From Kooroora to Tyrol House, hands and knees.

Unfortunately that night someone turned off the porcjh light at Tyrol, which was always visible and the guiding light home up the hill.
But not this night.
In addition to that, the wooden poles marking the way from Arlberg to Tyrol house had all been mowed off at the base by some mart dick in a snow groomer.

Anyway the next morning we all got up and Hans Grimus turns up to read out the Roster, who's working where.
A few adjustments of those who did not attend the Ziggy Zaggy to the shite lifts.
I got top of Grimus Chair.

Moving from Howqua sending Pomas back all day, to top of Grimus Chair sitting in the hut gazing out the window toasting the feet on the gas heater.
Or outside on the stool with the lift controller getting some sun.
Things where looking up from that point on.

I think all the new chair lifts on the mountain are fantastic in the last 20 years there.
Horse Hill was the best thing that ever happened at Buller, nothing compares.
From that point forward, the day trip to Buller became worth the hassle and cheaper.
No trip the the village via the rip off priced jeeps.
(no free bus back then), the wait for the jeep, getting in the ticket que with the overnighters from lodges all taking their sweet freakin time.

So from my twenties onward due to Horse Hill chair I did day trips for 90% of my skiing.

But the one downside to chair lifts on places like Bull Run and Federation is it allows intermediates to get out of the run on the lift, which means they can ski down the run.
(Walking out once cures of them going there ever again)

But they do not ski down the run, the traverse back and forth accross it ruining the lines.
No, their shoulders are not facing down hill.

Turning what was once runs with downhill skiing lines in moguls, became runs of speed humps.
Bull Run, Federation (luckily they couldnt even find Mens Downhill to ruin it) and pretty much anything around The Bluff.

I used the ski the funnel and wood run pretty much all day.
I cant do it now, few hrs of speed humps and I get sick of it, having to keep stopping and slowing to find a decent line among all the speed humps.

I tend to just move around the mountain these days.
Last time I was up 2 weeks ago the weather was crap, I had a newbie with me so ended up skiing with him on Wombat to avoid the gale winds.
I enjoy skiing those runs when they are pretty empty, quite relaxing and I can have a cuppa on the way down.
And I do just because in my lifetime it would be unthinkable to have a Kiosk on a run somewhere away from the Village aside from Kofflers.

Ah! the bad old days.

Someone asked why Sun Vallley Poma went West.
It was a new toy of John Hilton Woods, he bought a new lift and wanted somewhere to put it other than his back yard in MtEliza.

So he puts it in Sun Valley because that's about the only place left Blue lifts can put a lift. the rest is Orange lifts and the snow line isnt getting any lower at Buller.

Anyway, its not called Sun Valley for nothing, it get the first Sun and turns to slush and is a crap run after about 10AM.
The man's an idiot and the lift vanishing is is a testament to his stupidity.
Everyone said Sun Valley was a white elephant back then in 81, time has proven it.

He put up Sun Valley, while Bull Run T Bar was spitting bolts and nuts out the side and falling to bits, pretty much the same for the rest of his run down lifts..
Many people got seriously injured and some killed due to this.
No padding on lift towers back then, a woman died around that time when she slid down the sheet ice T Bar lift line and ploughed into the old latice type tower..

So it is great to see Buller that way it is these days
One company, no Lift Natzi's running the place.
Lift operators now that don't look like the just escaped from Prison.
Snow grooming, snow making.

Fantastic facilities by comparison to the bad old days, heaps more runs that should have been developed decades ago.

Anyway.
Ill see if I can get some real old shots from Buller together to post here.

Cheers
Dave

 

The Juggernaut

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great post VSG, I do remeber those days well and they bring back great memoties. Luckily my folks always bought me Orange and Blue tickets!

I was 6 years old when that was produced and had skiied Federation for the first time that year, but the year before was amazing snow cover, who could forget '81

I skiied Fall line this year ChristianF when was it closed, poor bumps on it though....
 

FixedGrip

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Sandy said:
PoleCams, that WAS a great post!!!!!
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+1

thankyou VERY much for taking the time to post it!

My earliest Buller experience was in 1990 as a 5yo, and I read this history with great interest

More pics pls!!!
 
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PolePlant

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Here are some pics as mentioned before.

These are taken in the 1950's

Images noted
No tows at the time these shots where taken.

API ski lodge
Now APIRA
Directly behind Kooroora Chalet, looking across the roof is Chamois.
APILodge.jpg


Back then you had to walk up anything you wanted to ski down at Buller

Walking out of Boggy Creek toward Summit
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Walking up Bourke Street
Note back then the method of ski haulage uphill was optional.
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Looking down from Summit
(I suspect this is from baldy, but not sure myself, no lift landmarks)
BullerFromSummit.jpg


Top of BullRun
Mum in lace up boots, cable bindings, and wooden skis off to womens downhill.
BullRun.jpg



Buller road Mirimbah and the YHA bus they all rode up in.
BusMirimbah.jpg

The road was dirt back then, but it was graded as you can see.

Kofflers Hutte
KofflerHutte.jpg


Kooroora Chalet
(This was the one that burnt down.)
KoorooraChalet.jpg


Moose Lodge
Later became a block of flats I beleive.
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The snow pole marking the way to the summit.
Near top of baldy from the looks of it ?
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The summit cornice.
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U.S.C. ski club and Alpine Ski club
Both now considerably larger than the orginals in the image.
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Enjoy

Cheers
Dave
 
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Planks & Sticks

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Dec 23, 2005
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Great Pictures!
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I would think that the state library of Victoria might like to have the copies of the pictures to store in their massive archives, so have you thought about something like that?
 
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snowflake girl

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Awesome pics! Has the Mt Buller Museaum got copies? You should definately send them on to Marg Franke-Williams, the manager!! She would love them!
 

hongomania

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anyone know where i can get a copy of that buller fires magazine/photo book thing published after this yrs fires?
 

snowflake girl

First Runs
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contact the Marketing Manager at Buller Ski Lifts. She will help you out as she was instrumetal in putting it together. Just shoot an email to info@skibuller.com.au attention to Sharon
 

Bogong

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I know the fires book is at the Mansfield hire outlet of the lift company (the big blue shop near the bus depot). There don't seem to be any copies left on the mountain.

It's pricey though, $25 for a stapled A4 book, but I think profits go to the local CFA.
 

Oldie

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Two things I remember from the early eighties, at Buller (apart from the mega-snow of '81), was the beginners platter lift on helicopter flat which was completely free!! You didn't have to have bought a lesson or anything. It even had a helpful attendant, dispensing useful tips on how to ride it sucessfully! The other was that Orange lifts had a "limited lifts" ticket for about two thirds the cost of a full ticket. It covered about six lifts across the resort, including some blue and black runs and for a newcommer to skiing as I was, was good value. It's a pity that those sort of encouragements for beginners and those not so well off don't exist these days! They certainly helped to get me hooked.
 
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PolePlant

Guest
Thanks all for the comments and glad you enjoyed the pics.

Guess I should send a note to the Buller Museum and see if they want copies.

wikiski
Ill have a peek at that.

Oldie
Yes the baby poma or trainer poma was a good idea.
Being free to ride meant it didnt have to have any run gates or ticket checks which made it easer for newb's to get to and on the thing.

As I recall it started off next to the Baldy Duplex on Bk Street when I lived there in 81, just installed around then.
Later moving to underneath blue chair just below twin towers I think.
Then who knows.

I recall the limited tickets, have to say it makes it a bit complex for operators to check tickets.

And the probability of some poor bugger going down a run they had no ticket for is a risk too.
Get a hard [auto-censor] towie and they have to walk out.
Makes for an unhappy buller experience.

The later occupants of buller lifts wised up to all this I think, seemed to have streamlined some things to ensure they didnt have these situations arise.

Notably the appearance of resort guides in late 80's at the Horse Hill Chair greeting people and providing help.
I could tell buller had turned a corner then.
No more service with a sneer.

But one thing that seems to have gone I don't not see the sense in is the reduced ticket prices according to number of lifts open, as in the long gone past.
They seem to whack the full price right up to the last day now.

I look at the snow now and the full price for lifts for the day is not worth it.
May be better to use some of the saving to fly to NSW and go Ski Perisher.
Which I am considering this week the way it is looking there compared to Buller right now..
Ive only had one day this year, need one more at least..

Cheers All
 

Bryonski_aka_Bryan

Hard Yards
May 10, 2003
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PoleCams, mate thats unreal! thoroughly enjoyed the read and the photos and the photos from u as well VSG,
been 4 years since ive skiied at Buller, and wouldnt mind going back there for a gander, next season probably. ill have to go sus out the Hillclimb set for the first week of NOV tho!
again fellas, Cheers!
 

Planks & Sticks

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Dec 23, 2005
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SimonInAustralia said:
snow-pixie said:
sensational pix(and depressing dave...all that snow!!)
Yeah, great pics.

Why don't we get as much snow now...global warming/climate change?
There has been bad times in the past from what I have heard from other long term skiers on this board. It just happens every now and then, so patient my friend, I am sure we would get that "once in 50" year kicker season again eventually!
 
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somebody else

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Apr 3, 2007
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Although we don't get as much snow now, there is more summer grooming and technology now, so we don't need quite as much snow to match the quality of the slopes in 1981. I think we will get another 2000, but only after a massive volcanic eruption happens in indonesia and cools the planet by a couple of degrees.

That would be nice.
 

Planks & Sticks

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I forgotten about this picture! I took a picture of a really ancient trail map of Buller outside the BP petrol station in Mansfield. Interesting to see all the changes! (Big image, but size reduction kills the image)

DSC00011-1.jpg


And the name of the lifts. I can't make out the last one though, "H--- Quad"

DSC00012.jpg


I think the trail map has been removed shortly after the photo was taken. Maybe the managers of Buller Lifts saw my report and realised how out of date the map was?
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Planks & Sticks

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I wouldn't really say that...this is the picture that I took this year in July.

DSC00034.jpg


Compare it to the one you posted..
BullerFromSummit.jpg


It is not that much more than what we had this year. Also it may be due to the camera used to take the picture creating an impression that the snow is brighter making it look like that the cover is better at the time the photo was taken.
 
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