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Previous Issues:
Issue 1 - 28 March 2007
Issue 2 - 11 April 2007
Issue 3 - 25 April 2007
Issue 4 - 09 May 2007
Issue 5 - 23 May 2007
Issue 6 - 06 June 2007
Issue 7 - 20 June 2007
Issue 8 - 04 July 2007
Issue 9 - 18 July 2007

ISSUE 10            WEDNESDAY 01 AUGUST 2007 ....

Firstly, apologies for the late arrival of this issue, some technical problems with our server.

And apologies also for the webcam not being fully operational this week. We experience problems from time to time with the dial-up connection. We are working on a more reliable broadband connection for the webcam for next season.

Well,  a testing season it has been so far. Some top tow days have been had, with Saturday being the last, on good snow cover. The top tow is looking good, though now bit thin at the bottom from recent rain.

Meanwhile down south the club fields are still struggling. Heavy rain forecast on Sunday fell as snow in the ski areas, bringing some relief, though with no bases to speak of for it to accumulate on, you could say they are 2months behind. Despite being two-thirds of the way through winter, none of the smaller Canterbury club fields were open.

Locally, We are planning a winter get together for SMC, on Saturday evening September 22.
A chance for members to shoot the breeze and mingle with like minded people/families. We will have some snow DVDs in the background to keep you in the mood. We'll keep you posted as things develop.

In this issue

Lars Binsbergen
17 Curtis St. Okato
phone 06 7524424
Major Sponsor
of the SMC E-newsletter


Contact Us:
06-759 9943 bus
06-752 7697 a/h


Proud to be supporting the Stratford Mountain Club.
Buying or selling Real Estate, call Clive Saleman AREINZ
06-758 7113 b/h
06-752 7140 a/h
027-290 6636 m

Mountain House Motor Lodge

Taranaki's Swiss Alpine Restaurant and Accommodation

Contact Us:
0800 Mountain
0800-66 86 82
06-765 6100
Pembroke Rd, Stratford



GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski Area

Taranaki Secondary Schools Ski/Board Champs
&  the Taranaki Primary & Intermediate Schools Ski Champs
(still awaiting favourable conditions to run this!!)

The Secondary schools hold their Championships on the first suitable day of next term and the Primary and Intermediate schools follow on the next suitable day (a suitable day means adequate snow cover and fair weather).
The events are held at the Manganui Ski area on Mt Taranaki. Please refer to the events section on our website for the latest info as it comes to hand. We will work towards having resources available from the website such as entry forms and whatever we can do to assist you all. information will also be posted on the Snowphone 7591119 around the scheduled days.

The SMC Junior Ski Racing & Training Ski Coach Christina Binsbergen will attend to set the race course, and we will have a Ski Patrol on hand for any first aid requirements.

Please feel free to contact Clive Saleman if you have any queries
Clive Saleman
Stratford Mountain Club Racing Coordinator
mob 0272906636

Ray Priest at Oakura School is coordinating the Primary and Intermediate Champs.
Also contact  Mr. Richard (Titch) Turner at NPBHS for further details on Sec Schools Champs.


This is to be held this Saturday 4th August or Sunday 5th August 2007 if weather permits.
SMC have competed in the Christiana Cup for well over 50 years. If you are keen to represent SMC in a GS teams race then this is for you...

Venue: To be held on the Te Heu Heu Valley course No 1, Whakapapa
Event: GS teams race
Team: Juniors, Men's, Women's, Masters, Veterans & Super Veterans Juniors team 13 years and under, must have one girl in the team Men's team to consist of 4 Women's team to consist of 3 or 4 Masters consist of 4 team members mixed 35 to 50 years old (male/female) Veterans 50-65 years old 4 team members mixed (male/female) Super Veterans 65 and over Individual Snowboarder race as individuals

The results to be calculated from the three fastest times for juniors, Men's, Women's, Masters, and Veterans & Super Veterans Snowboarding to be calculated by fastest man and fastest woman.

Entry Fee: The entry fee of $20.00 per person

Rules: The NZSA Alpine ski racing rules will apply.

Race start: Race starts at 11.00 am

Prize Giving: Prize giving will be held at the Christiania Lodge commencing at 7.00pm on Saturday. This is open to team members and 2 officials, Entertainment (live band) and refreshments provided. Non-competitors can attend for a $20.00 cover charge.

Registration: please contact our Racing & Training Co-ordinator Clive Saleman 7527140hm 0272906636 cell or

For more info see report/webcam now displayed on Manganui Ski Area Website

Our website now displays a full version of the detailed snow report and webcam.
You can access this by clicking the Snow Report/Webcam page on the left, or in the summary report top right click ...more... Snowpack Summary as at Thursday 2nd August

Contact Us:
06-759 4609
New Plymouth


Note that the competition was scheduled for 14-15 July, and was postponed due to lack of snow.
It is now re-scheduled for starting weekend revised - now 11-12 August, conditions permitting.
Please contact Vertigo or Cheapskates for confirmation.

Media & Marketing Contacts

If you have a question regarding marketing or press related issues please contact:

SMC Media/Website
Justin Keenan

Contact Us:
ph 06-759 6448 b/h
ph 06 752 7034 a/h
PO Box 3271
New Plymouth

Send Us Your Work

After your visit to Manganui Ski Area, please send us a copy of your finished or any other unused work.  Manganui would appreciate any photos, articles, film/video or other media that you have for our own library and files. 


Still waiting! One thing about Taranaki skiers - we are patient, and with the current patterns there doesn’t appear to be much on the snow horizon, although there have been some reasonable days on the top tow for those willing to chase it. Reports from other fields around the country is much the same and probably for the first time in quite a while the Australian ski fields have meters of the white stuff.

The huge high that broke away from Antarctica and parked up over the South Island caused all sorts of havoc in both Islands from hoar frosts and 19 consecutive days of minus temperatures, fine weather and frozen water pipes in the South Island to extensive flooding and wash outs in the far North and Auckland with tornados in Taranaki. The present weather systems coming from the Southeast whilst very cold don’t contain enough moisture, as a result little or no snow. The central North Island ranges tend to do better than we do when coming from that direction.

The clubs website has undergone further refinement check out the snow report page I am sure you will be impressed, it has additional links to the Met service with 5 days of barometric synopses which will give you a good idea as to current weather patterns. Fantastic effort and thanks to all concerned.

If things change we may still may get a month or two of good skiing on the T bar and top tow, I hope so everything is ready and it would be great to have some good skiing before the summer working bees commence,  so keep an eye on the sky and dance!

Chris Burr    

Upcoming Events…

Taranaki Secondary Schools Ski/Board Champs
&  the Taranaki Primary & Intermediate Schools Ski Champs
dates to be advised
Fri-Sat 03-04 August
NZ Mtn Safety Council Avalanche Awareness Course
3 August - Lecture/Seminar - Fitzroy Yacht Club,
4 August - Field Day - Manganui Ski Area

...check out our events page for info


The SMC committee is currently working on…

  • 2008 working bees strategy and coordination planning
  • summer/working bee social events
  • 10 year plan preparation for issue
  • Staff training - Level 1 avalanche course (Tukino)
  • weatherstation antenna and wind direction vane replacement
  • mail out newsletter issue (you should have this by now)

Recent Images…
Finnley Binsbergen

Tai Juneau

Jackson Braddock

Findlay Neeson (ex SMC, now racing for Turoa)

pictures by Jane Dove


Mt Ruapehu Regional K/J Race 20-21 July 2007

Three SMC Juniors competed in the Mt Ruapehu Regional K/J Race series at Whakapapa on Friday 20 & Saturday 21 July 2007. On day one Tai Juneau took out the silver medal in the K1 category with a 2nd & a 3rd in the two slalom races. Jackson Braddock-Pajo finished 6th overall in the K1 category with two 6th placings out of a field of 12. On day two Finnley Binsbergen completed excellent three runs as a forerunner in his first race series. Tai Juneau took out the silver medal in the K1 category again with a 2nd, 3rd, 2nd & a 3rd in the four slalom races. Jackson Braddock-Pajo finished 5th overall in the K1 category with two 5th placings and a 7th and an 8th. 

Results of Mt Ruapehu Regional K/J Races held in the Valley T-Bar at Whakapapa on Saturday in good conditions;
Day 2 - Slalom - 4 runs
K1: Tai Juneau 2nd, 3rd, 2nd & 3rd, Silver Medal
K2: Jackson Braddock-Pajo, 8th, 5th, 7th & 5th.

Findlay Neeson (ex SMC, now racing for Turoa) was in blazing form with three 1sts and a 2nd to win the gold medal and lead the series in the mens K2 division.

Up and coming Junior Ski racers from Taranaki will compete in the Rossignol Junior Race Series to be held at Turoa Ski Area 4-5 August - for details call Clive Saleman 0272906636 Stratford Mt Club Race Coordinator.

Snow Report from 27/07/07

July is almost over, and any Southern Hemisphere resorts that do not yet have a decent base get anxious about now. This year, all resorts in Australia and South America are in the clear with deep bases that will last through the season, but a few resorts in New Zealand still need more snow before they can open and many other resorts have limited or zero off-piste because the cover is too thin. Of course, if you are an off piste junkie there are always options if you don't mind putting in some leg-work - from the upper slopes of Ruapehu to Mt Brewster above Haast Pass and at several great Heli-operations in between, even in a mediocre season, New Zealand has fine snow beyond the confines of the resorts.

New Zealand

The past week brought a change in the weather with a fresh westerly wind blowing away the cold and frosty air from Inland Otago and for the first week this winter, nowhere seems to have been subjected to a Biblical deluge (apologies to any Kiwis who left for Britain last week - bad call…). The weather progressed much as forecast with bits and pieces of fresh snow about, but locals are still waiting for a big dump to kick-start the season at several club fields. It's not that these places don't have snow, they just don't have enough. The greywacke rock that erodes down to make the characteristic gullies that the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps are famous for really need about a metre of snow to cover the rocks. Places like Mt Olympus have half this depth and are still waiting, however closer to the divide, westerly winds have brought enough snow to greatly improve the upper slopes at Temple Basin and also enough to at least freshen up the pistes at Rainbow, Mt Lyford.

The Southern Lakes have typically benefited from 10-15cm of fresh wind blown snow and although this isn't enough to open up the off-piste options, it is very welcome - not least because it arrived much earlier than we had expected in last Thursday's forecast. The weather models didn't predict very much of the NW moisture getting over the Southern Alps and into central Otago which makes a change because they often predict more snow than actually falls by not modelling the rain shadow effect well enough. Let's hope that continues to be the case because for the week ahead, the same models suggest modest falls - a few centimetres now and again, but no big dumps. Mount Dobson is another casualty of the dry winter weather while at nearby Fox Peak (open at weekends) they suggest you only use old skis. Being located even further east of the Main Divide than places like Cardrona, these resorts are very sheltered from Westerly moisture. Hopefully a brief spell of NE wind forecast for Monday will deliver much needed snow.

Ruapehu managed about 25cm out of last weekend's depression, the best in NZ and it already had the deepest base too. However, the freezing level has drifted high enough at times to make the upper pistes icy and the lower runs soft whilst off piste is best avoided with a dangerous mix of ice and exposed rocks. Prospects are for a fairly similar week ahead and while there will be fresh snow about, and some sun too. Winds will be from a mild NW direction and freezing levels will be mostly above 2000m. Timing will be everything if you want to catch fresh snow and fine weather on the mountain. Meanwhile, over on Taranaki, the same system also brought snow last Friday but the warm westerlies that followed it have melted most of the new snow. There is not enough depth to open for skiing at Manganui and I’m sorry to say that the week ahead holds little grounds for optimism with yet more rain at resort level and no prospect of the kind of SW flow that gets things moving in this corner of NZ.

Yusawa Town

 Gala-Yusawa view





















Skiing in Japan - Yuzawa
(SMC was sent this from Patrick @

Love snow? Love Yuzawa.

With over 700 resorts, Japan has more ski fields to choose from than any other country. Add in the great facilities and affordable prices and you have a ski and snowboard paradise. With so much to offer there is only one problem – where to go?

The resorts around Kansai are fun enough for a day trip, but the serious action is further afield. Hokkaido’s reputation stretches the world over and the Olympic slopes around Nagano pull in the biggest crowds, but if it is deep, deep snow and loads of variety you want, the northern region of Niigata is the place to be.

The outstanding aspect of Niigata is the sheer amount of snow. The town of Yuzawa, around which the area’s ski activity is based, is known as “yukiguni” (snow country) and the title is well earned. Snowclouds come over from Siberia and pick up precipitation on their way across the Japan Sea. The Yuzawa area of the Japan Alps is the first mountain range they reach, dumping tonnes of snow there every winter. In January and February, it snows about 80 percent of the time, which makes for the most amazing powder days on the slopes, and the snows continue to fall well until mid-spring.

Yuzawa has long been a favourite with Japanese and international skiers, and in the last few years, boarder have started to catch on. Its reputation was sealed by the popularity of the novel Snow Country (1948), by future Nobel Prize winner Kawabata Yasunari. The fraught love affair of the story is set against the long and silent winters of the isolated mountain town. Kawabata wrote the book whilst staying at Takahan Ryokan, which is still running, although he might not recognise the bustling modern ski town that exists today.

Spreading out from Yuzawa are over 20 resorts within a 20-minute drive of the station. With so much variety, each resort tends to specialise. For a wide open resort with oodles backcountry powder, the connected fields of Mitsumata-Kagura-Tashiro or Naeba offer some beautiful long runs. Beginners will find the spacious pistes of Iwappara a terrific spot to build up their skills. If you are a skier who doesn’t want to have their slopes carved up boarders, then ski-only Naspa Ski Garden is the spot to go, but if you are a boarder, Kandatsu, packed with terrain park jumps, has all the thrills and spills you could want.


This being Japan, the infrastructure at all the resorts is top quality and Yuzawa has some of the best facilities in the country. The Tashiro-Naeba “Dragondola” is the world’s largest ropeway, stretching over 5.5 kilometres and offering some long runs. Meanwhile, the Yuzawa-Kogen ropeway carries a hefty 166 people, making it another world beater.

If you don’t want to bother checking in to a hotel when you arrive, the Gala Yuzawa resort takes you straight from the station to the slopes. It was built by Japan Rail, who also built the shinkansen line and station here to service the resort. The thinking behind the plan was that if JR built a ski resort, more people would take the train to get here and boost business. The result is astounding. After catching the bullet train from Tokyo, it is possible to walk through the ticket barriers and on the same floor of the building, pick up your gear and passes, and catch the gondola to the slopes.


Whilst Japan can match most places in the world for the quality of its resorts, the après ski here lags a bit behind the cooler towns of Europe and North America. Still, if you have energy after the day’s activity, there is plenty to do in the evenings around Yuzawa. In particular there are some good restaurants and bars which make good use of the specialities of the area: rice and sake. The big snowfalls supply the region with incredibly clean and pure water, which in turn make the prefect conditions for growing and brewing these Japanese staples. Koshihikari rice from the Uonuma area is the leading brand name in Japan, while Jozen sake has a similar reputation for its Nihon-shu.

At Yuzawa Station, the Ponshukan shopping district houses the wonderfully named “Wall of Sake.” In return for ¥500, you receive a small returnable cup and five tokens. Slide a token into one of the 116 labelled metal box-like sake stations and your reward is a glass of one of the local brews. Ponshukan run tasting competitions, whereby if you correctly identify the same two types of sake from four different cups, you can have your picture taken and put up on the sake wall of fame. They even have a sakaburo or sake onsen, which is said to be good for the circulation and metabolism and a great place to easy tired limbs after a hard day  on some of the best slopes in Japan.

If you’d like to get buried in Niigata’s deep powder, the people at would be happy to be your guide to the area.

The company name should be taken literally. It was founded by some Tokyo-based expats who were inspired by their passion for skiing and boarding to give up their day jobs and pursue a lifestyle dedicated to the slopes. Now they hope to bring their love of the area and the sports to a wider audience.

Through the welovesnow website you can make arrangements, in English or Japanese, for all of you skiing and accommodation needs in Yuzawa. They offer something for every budget for cheap and cheerful B&Bs to top-of-the-range luxury hotels. They can also sort out your travel in Japan, passes, rental as well as backcountry tours, ski instruction and even babysitters for those that want them. Highly recommended are their weekday special deals which, if you are able to get time off outside the weekend, offer a great chance for cheap accommodation and miles of empty pistes to enjoy. All you need to do is log on.

Advertising/Sponsorship with SMC

SMC is always open to and interested in advertising or sponsorship from companies, organizations and clubs for winter and summer opportunities. We appreciate any offers for potential sponsors and are always looking for other organisations, companies and clubs that might make a good fit for SMC and our guests.

If your company, organisation or club is interested in submitting a proposal please feel free to submit it to:

Subject: Advertising/ Sponsorship Proposals

If you would like to post a classified advert (buy/sell gear etc), please post it on the 'Garage Sale' page of our website.


Todd Velvin by the 5 Dollar Hut Weatherstation (1680m), July 24

Title image supplied by
TNL Graphics

See you on the snow,
SMC Management
© copyright 2007 - Stratford Mountain Club