Newsletter March 2024

Whanganui Ski and Snowboard Club
Hut Phone: 07 892 3870

75 years strong
75 amazing years
But this year, could be, the last dance in the last chance saloon!

The 2024 season is all go!

Great news! We are all go this winter at Whakapapa ski field. The Government has provided loan funding to RAL so Whakapapa can operate for the 2024 season!

It is also the ski club 75th year Anniversary! There are plenty of events this season. The NIPS is back on! (the primary and intermediate school ski champs week).
Season Passes go on sale in April. Life Passes are accepted this season. We have completed the working bee and the club is looking great. A big thank you to those who made it to the club working bee. We are in the El Nino weather pattern which means south westerlies and snow for Whakapapa and Turoa. There have been three very good snow dumps already to cool down the rocks.

However, this news is tinged with a big pint of reality. Unfortunately, Whakapapa Holdings has now pulled out of the purchase of Whakapapa due to the short lease length. There is no other bidder in the wings. The Government has now said, that is it! There is no more funding past 2024! RAL is still in receivership, and the message is, the mountain must stand on its own financially or it is gone. So, we are, for all intense and purposes, in the last chance saloon.

If we have a poor season at Whakapapa, it is very likely, that this season could be the last dance, or the last ski and snowboard season at Whakapapa. But changing that scenario, is entirely up to you…

If we all turn up in numbers, bring your mates, tell them to bring their mates to ski and ride, buy season passes as that makes the commitment. Together we can help the ski field to become successful, then we just might be able to save it! If we don’t, it will be gone in 2025. Then skiing and riding for most of us will be but a distant memory. Our mountain will be stripped of the lifts. Remember, a new chair lift is about $25million USD, so a fully refurbished second hand lift is a bargain that other fields can afford. A field like Cardrona would take the Gondola, in a heartbeat, especially at half price (say debt clearance)! There are rumours they are sniffing around already. Lift clean up is easy with a few strategically placed rocks over the concrete lift foundations and you wouldn’t even know it was there.

If there is no operational ski field at Whakapapa, it will also mean the permanent closure, and then potential demolition of the Chateau. Listed building or not, it means nothing if you can’t afford to maintain it, and DOC simply don’t have the funding. The choice is simple, a new hospital wing, or refurbish the Chateau? Derelict buildings over time become a serious hazard, and DOC will simply play the safety card and tear it down. As landlord DOC, will not strengthen the building so it can be commercially used, if there is no ski field operator in the wings, as the Chateau is not a viable year-round proposition without it.

But hey, forget about the doom and gloom and just turn up this year! We have at least one more year, and what is the worst thing that can happen in 2024? You have a great season skiing and riding. If you really turn up to the club and ski field in numbers this year, we will all have an amazing season. You will have an awesome time with your family, your kids, your partners and your friends.

So put your southern plans on hold for at least one more year, and commit to Whakapapa and the ski club, so we can truly hand it on to the next generation.

To paraphrase the immortal song by Fred Dagg…

At the dawn of the day, in the great Southern Ocean
Where the world's greatest fish was being landed
And the boat they were pulling it into was sinking
And the sea was quite lumpy, and the weather was foul
And the bloke with the map was as pissed as an owl
And the boys called out "Maui, ya clown, let it go"
In the noise he reached down for his grandmother's
And he winked at his mates and he said
"Boys, we don't know how lucky we are"
"I have a feeling I have stumbled on something
Substantial. "

We don't know how lucky we are
We don't know how lucky we are
We don't know how lucky we are (at the Whanganui Ski and Snow Board Club)
We don't know how lucky we are (at Whakapapa)

The message is simple, come skiing and riding this year at Whakapapa, bring your mates and save it or it will likely be all over, and as is often the case: you don’t know, what you’ve got till it’s gone...

See you on the mountain!
From the Committee and Gordy Horsley Club President 027 431 6348.
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