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Oz club tows

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Bogong, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    You have overlooked the lifts on Mt St Bernard, there's one serving a green run that you can partly see from the Great Alpine Road, but far more interesting is the tow servicing a very nice blue run on the eastern side of the mountain.
     
  2. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are actually a few runs on St Bernard.

    you need to look pretty closely now though with the regrowth.
     
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  3. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hi Bogong: I was thinking that snow depths aside, a Covid year is a good time to join a ski club and access rope tows - perhaps after one or two suitable working bees? Etc...?

    A shame there’s only two such clubs left operating with the cessation of the Mt Wills tow. I wonder how the ‘Ski-loving’ PV would feel about refurbishment of the lifts and resumption of operations? Not much if Buffalo is much of an example? :cry:

    Back to ‘Mt Bernie’: it seems the ski club missed their chance to clear a few poorly placed snowgums or lop dry & burnt branches post major fires since 2004’. I guess it’s hard to get approval even on a small ski run post fire? Pity? :confused:

    Then again, thinking of the big resorts, without some occasional summer grass/heath slashing, expanding snowgums aren’t the real problem. (I Wonder if any club or DELWP lurkers know any scuttle about these issues - It would (had) have affected Rover Scout tow and Mt Wills (others?, Lake Mtn? Mt Franklin?) over the years? o_O
     
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  4. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I suspect the biggest difficulties affecting clubs running ski tows away from the resorts are bureaucracy, liability insurance and the difficulty of finding enough volunteers with the necessary skills.

    A couple of years ago Snowy Hydro decided that they didn't like Cabramurra Ski Club operating a poma-lift and a handle tow on their land. So they ordered them to close down. No consultation, no right of appeal, just an order to get out. Over 60 years of ski lifts at Cabramurra closed down at the order of an official who probably knew nothing about the place. Then there's the extensive lift network at Cresta Valley on Mt Buffalo. In the summer of 2006/07 a bureaucrat at Parks Vic decided they didn't want to run ski lifts any more. So they ordered the place to be closed down. A group with the necessary money and expertise approached them wishing to take over the lifts, but the answer was still no. Some anonymous official had made the decision and there was no way of challenging it.

    Liability insurance is another problem. I have been led to understand that the insurance price was too high for little Tallangatta Ski Club to keep running their tow on Mt Wills. They couldn't run it without insurance because if someone slightly hurt themselves and hired the sort of 'ambulance chasing lawyers' that advertise on TV, then the whole club would be bankrupted. So when the insurance price went up, the Mt Wills tow closed down.
    I have no idea why the public have never been permitted to use the St Bernard tows, my guess is a combination of higher insurance charges than apply to the current members and their guests only arrangement, plus the extra bother of opening to outsiders.

    These lifts are all run by unpaid volunteer labour. Back in April or May 2016 (I think) I had the privilege of being on a behind the scenes tour of the Mt Mawson club field. The amount of unseen work involved in keeping their three tows running was amazing. They need mechanics, slope groomers, snow fence builders and a heap of other people up there on regular weekends over summer. But they manage to have all of the lifts ready to operate every year. On days the lifts operate, they have to find volunteer lift operators and ski patrollers (both are skilled jobs that require people to study and pass tests) plus people to sell tickets, issue belts, etc. It's no wonder that even when conditions are good enough, they sometimes can't find enough people to run the Rodway Tow. And that's at the 'relatively' large Mt Mawson. How groups manage to run the tows at smaller places like Rovers on the Bogong High Plains is beyond me.

    Perhaps this discussion should go in a separate thread? It doesn't have anything to do with DP.
     
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  5. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fascinating notes Bogong. Pretty sad all round. Everyone wants a free and unrestricted life until injured and then ‘someone must pay’!

    A terrible time for small sports clubs generally but especially ski clubs!

    Yes maybe start an Oz clubby thread?
     
  6. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Rodway tow is just "out there"! How did they get the motor up there, anyone?
     
  7. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes I’ve walked past it (through it) one summer - unexpectedly distant from the main field. Amazing stuff from builders. And the Club!
     
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  8. Boodwah

    Boodwah A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    This year aside, Wang is s as ready on a knifes edge. A few years ago someone stole the rope from the Mt St Bernard lift, cost a fortune to get another, and every year compliance becomes increasingly difficult. There’s less than a dozen club members who have the « qualifications » to operate it, which now include such idiotic notions including needing your ‘fork lift licence’.
    Added to the bush fire and environmental overlays, and receding snowpack, it’s almost a fire gone conclusion amongst club members that it’s days are numbered.
    Sad, have fond memories of firing it up after midnight in Uni days when we were frequently inebriated, and sometimes nude.
     
  9. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Video, please, or perhaps it didn't happen. You've been known to make a good film.
     
    #9 chriscross, Aug 18, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
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  10. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’m not totally convinced about the merits of using a rope tow, with all the moving parts, in the nude.

    Especially as NZ club fields warn about Securing, um loose clothing and hair (& things!)

    Youch! :eek::confused::D
     
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  11. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, at the very least male users would require a codpiece, of which one would imagine Boodwah has an extensive collection.
     
  12. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fetch The Black Russian, Baldric!
     
  13. mattyv

    mattyv Hard Yards

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    I very fondly recall learning to "ski" on the rope tow operated by the Upper Murray Ski Club, located at the junction of Jagumba Creek Fire Trail and the Cabramurra Road, only a couple of k's from Tooma Dam. I'd XC ski in the morning, and downhill in the afternoon. Rope tow can't have been any longer than 100m, but we had a few different decent options through the Alpine Ash and low lying shrubs. Competing against Cabramurra ski club was an annual highlight given they had a much linger poma on what felt like super steep terrain. They even had night skiing there!!
     
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  14. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    There were a lot of these small tows operating around the Kings Cross - Tooma Dam area and I've attempted to record them all in section 13 of the list of Aust ski lifts. I'm trying to work out if mattyv's tow is one of those described below, or a new one that isn't on this list. Any suggestions (or corrections to the existing list) would be gratefully appreciated.

     
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  15. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Really good info Bogong, cheers.

    I can’t help but look at what we’ve lost collectively and think we’ve gone backwards in ski development, not forwards.

    I like to think I’m reasonable ‘green’ but I done see these few low key fields/tows being all that bad for the bush as long human waste was managed?

    Now the we have 5 super-sized (Oz std) resorts with all the power, 3 Smalls (one which is burnt out), & one, BB, on Govt. life support. Plus two club rope-tow fields left out of a say a dozen+.

    Our downhill resorts have lots of snazzy appointments which is great, but beyond these, we have less choice than ever - other than pure BC - nothing wrong with the latter but I like the smaller fields existing as a low cost option. Like NZ.

    I guess that’s a ‘half empty’ option - maybe if I was seeing some snow action I might have a sunnier view of Oz skiing? o_O
     
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  16. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sorry Tas ; and one commercial, 1 club. Meant to add :cool:
     
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  17. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Perhaps we have different talents? I'm good at digging up obscure dry and dull facts and you have a way of describing that dull stuff in a way that makes it sound interesting.

    Anyway, in NSW (& ACT) there are no surviving backcountry tows, :( In Victoria the only survivors are one on the Bogong High Plains and two at St Bernard. In Tassie there's still the Mt Mawson 'club field' with 7 lodges and 3 tows including Australia steepest ski lift.
     
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  18. mattyv

    mattyv Hard Yards

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    @Bogong
    The rope tow that I speak of is definitely very close to Tooma Dam. There was a hut just near it too, I would need to look at a map to see if it was Montagues. The era that I skied there was late 70's through to '83. I understand it wasn't used much past '85, perhaps '86? I know we called the area Round mountain, but I never knew of lift that far up the road. In '81 we couldn't get near the lift, and in other years we had to drive much further up the road to find snow to hold the club races.
    I understand the club used to ski on Mt Pinnabar many years prior, but shifted to Tooma Dam as access was as sealed road and would sometimes be cleared by snowy hydro.
    I was only primary school aged, so my knowledge may not be that accurate. If you are really interested, I could perhaps link you up with folks that know more than me.
     
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  19. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    This is the whole problem and leads to bureaucrats making decisions on behalf of everyone.
    I dont think mtbiking has such wealthy entitled people as skiing and the public liability thing isnt as bad.
    If it became like that , lots of places would be officially closed.
     
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  20. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Gotta love NZ , lots of rope tows , small ski areas, and people are more stoic.they have ACC and fewer opportunities for ambulance chasers .
    Even if the ACC was 50% abused it is still way ahead of our US style scheme.
     
  21. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    From what I understand of Governments, they (Ministers) own the popular ideas and disown the bad - “they are all the bureaucrats’ fault”.

    All these hut closures, ski tow & field closures: while totally accept the Govt. of the day would have been ‘guided by the expert advice’, the majority of Ministers are quite happy to ‘override their advisors for the greater Public good’. (This all side of politics!) :rolleyes:

    I reckon Buffalo’s lift closure (and removal?) fitted neatly into this category.

    PV are still coping the blame - from me including - but the Minister(& Cabinet, Premier) approve everything - and sidestep the blame. The ‘George Costanza’s’ of the world! :confused:
     
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  22. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks for that. I think I'll just make your lift a new entry on the list. I'm normally fairly careful about adding hearsay lifts but you have given enough detail to confirm that it existed, like who owned it and some rough dates. In the past I've put details of something obscure on a web page and out of the blue a few years later someone sends me photos and all sorts of detailed information. So having it mentioned on line may prompt someone to contact me.

    With archives closed for the foreseeable future and about 480 other Australian ski lifts to keep tags on, I'll just add it to the list without further comment or research and tackle that sort of thing later.
     
  23. mattyv

    mattyv Hard Yards

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    I'll see if mum can dig up some photos of the lift and or runs..
     
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  24. CIRCA1962

    CIRCA1962 Hard Yards

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    The Cabramurra Poma, was built no later than 1973, as it was definitely in place when my family returned to the club in 1974, and was not new that year. It replaced a nutcracker rope tow, which I recall riding on in the from 1968-1970. (Very scary as a primary school age child) . The handle lift was the rope tow from the old Cabramurra school and was relocated, around 1976. The Kings cross rope tow was a temporary lift built for the National championships (1961? ). It was relocated after the event, and certainly was not used in the late 60s. Hope this assists.
     
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  25. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Sadly, if you want to be part of a club field, you probably have to go to NZ these days...

    It's hard enough (and expensive enough) running a club lodge...
     
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  26. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Definitely. That's exactly the sort of information I'm looking for. Memories like that, especially with dates, allow a fairly accurate picture of the old tows in that area to be assembled. It also gives me some good starting points if I ever get the time to research through old magazines and archives to get a perfect idea of a particular lift.

    Except for the NSW backcountry section, early Perisher and earlyish Buffalo, I think I'm close to accurately recording details of almost every one of the 480 odd ski lifts to operate in this country.
     
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  27. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Insurers are a bigger risk than hospital chasing lawyers.
     
  28. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks so much to Circa1962 and MattyV. This is the latest revision of lifts in the area based on their information and I've included Kiandra this time. Any further additions or corrections would be appreciated a lot.

    I wish I'd contacted Cabramurra Ski Club for info on their tows when they were still operating, but I guess no one expected them to be suddenly closed down in 2016.

     
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  29. Boodwah

    Boodwah A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    @Bogong
    Presume you have the original blue ribbon rope tow in your research? The original rope was still there in the years before they installed the contemporary triple chair, we used to use it to edge down to Plains of Heaven through the thick scrub back in the day, and the top hut station is still standing along with a couple of the original pylons. There was another down women's downhill on the other side of the Big D, some infrastructure of which also still remains.
     
  30. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, that's included in the Hotham section of the lifts list. While I know it first operated in 1952, I'm not totally certain when it closed, it seems that in the early 1970s it was used less and less until one year (1975?) they didn't get around to opening it. After that it appears that nothing happened for about 6 years until it was rebuilt as triple chair on a slightly different path. There's also a slightly rough profile of the original Blue Ribbon beneath the table, one day I'll find the time to make it a bit more slick.

    Here's an ad for it before its second year of operation.

    [​IMG]
     
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