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Previous Issues:
Issue 6 - 06 June 2007
Issue 7 - 20 June 2007
Issue 8 - 04 July 2007
Issue 9 - 18 July 2007
Issue 10 - 01 Aug 2007
Issue 11 - 15 Aug 2007
Issue 12 - 29 Aug 2007

ISSUE 13            SATURDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2007 ....

Welcome to another issue of Manganui Notes, the e-newsletter of the Stratford Mountain Club.

Well, our T-bar days total just 3 for 2007, although the top tow has had some great skiing of late, albeit from the rollover, above the bottom get on ramp. Chris Burr an interesting comparision with this season and previous, check it out in the President's Report.

There has been recent press surrounding the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 that has come into effect from the 5th of this month.
SMC does need to take precautions in the case of legal action raised against SMC for sending of unsolicited spam via email.
We do promote other websites and/or sponsors websites throughout our e-Newsletter; some could view this as Spam; we like to think of it as passing on ski/board relevant information!
SMC accepts your registration to receive this e-Newsletter as proof of consent for any promotional material for Manganui Ski Area and it's supporting websites.
We provide an unsubscribe function on each e-Newsletter issue that is sent out (link on top left of this intro section).
Enough said!

On more convivial matter, the SMC Spring Social has been re-scheduled for Saturday Evening October 8th (Note the change of date!), at Fitzroy Surf Club.

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

Cinderella comes to Manganui - Mixed up Ski Boots!

Does anyone in the club think they may have taken the wrong boots from the drying room?
They are silver Tecnica boots and were taken from the lodge drying room by mistake about 4 or 5 weeks ago. They are the same as mine in every way. I have the other persons boots at my place; tried to ski in them but they just don't fit me!
If anyone can help please call Colin Woodward 067532095 or 0272823439 or email

the boots in question... not quite glass slippers...does that make Colin the hansome prince, or because they don't fit, the not so lucky prince?

Obituary - Sir Roy Allan McKenzie (1923-2007)

Sir Roy McKenzie was a very strong supporter and member of the Stratford Mountain Club from the late 1940s onwards. Roy and the likes of Bill Hunt were members of other ski clubs but they joined SMC because at that time SMC had the strongest core of races in the North Island, if not New Zealand and they came to Manganui for that competition.

Roy was a skier of note. He was a member of the 1951 New Zealand Team to various events in Australia along with other club members Don Doflinger, Terry McKeon and Bill Hunt. In 1947 the New Zealand Ski Champs were held at Manganui, Roy won the Men’s Slalom and finished 3rd in the Men’s Long Distance. He was a member of the 1952 New Zealand Olympic Team to Oslo but was injured, therefore was unable to compete, he did however take a movie of the event which he later used as a fundraiser to start the McKenzie Scholarship.

In 1951 Roy generously donated £500.00 for a new lift to be installed on the Policeman slopes-this is affectionately known as the Top Tow. The donation, which was unexpected caused a flurry of fundraising activity and the project was subsequently completed by club labour over the summer months turning a 35-40 minute walk into a ride of less than 5 minutes.

In 1952 the McKenzie Scholarship commenced. This scholarship was open to clubs in the North and South Island. The various clubs would nominate racers to attend a qualifing race in their respective islands. Once the race and other tests were completed the selection committee would choose the eight recipients who would receive a week of race training at Ruapehu or at one of the South Island fields with the Head Race Coach. This scholarship was pivotal in young racers advancement with many going on to claim National ski honours.
Many SMC racers were involved in this scholarship and it contributed in no small way to the strength of SMC racers, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Stratford Mountain Club has been in existence officially for 78 years, unofficially closer to 90 years and Sir Roy’s legacy has been a lasting one. His enthusiasm, generosity and support for SMC over many years has helped create the great club we have today.

He is survived by his wife Lady Shirley and sons Peter, John and daughter Robyn.

Chris Burr    

SMC staff training - Avalanche Management Level 1 at Whakapapa

There has been a lot of work in the past 2 years toward running a more profesional operation on the mountain. This work has had many facets, including several documents, external audits of the fields operations as well as getting staff and key club members trained for the job.
2 weeks ago Whitireia Polytechnic from Wellington ran Avalanche Management Level 1 at Whakapapa. The course was attended by Brooke Fletcher, Mario Padrutt and Lars Binsbergen.
This is a 7 day course and covers things like Avalanche phenomena, terrain, hazard forecasting, rescue. Weather observations and forecasting. Snowpack analysis and stability evaluation. And if thats not enough, Heuristic traps.
The course was led by Bill Atkinson who has a huge amount of knowledge and experience. Check out his website,
Our own Todd Velvin was also an instructor. It was clear from the start that knowing the teacher wasn't going to get a pass on the course.

The photo shows students undertaking the final assesment on snowpack analysis. The conditions were a little challenging with the snow pit constantly filling up with blowing snow.
It was a great week and we would recommend it to anybody who is serious about having fun up the mountains.
Oh and we did get to ski and board a little too!

Lars Binsbergen

Top Tow lift pass rates increase

SMC has adjusted the lift pass rates for when only Manganui's Top Tow is operating. They are now

  • $30 for non-members
  • $20 for members

Note that there are no 1/2 day rates for skiing when only the Top Tow is operating (our policy at the start of the season).

2007 Season Pass holders - your skiing is free!


Tai Juneau, 6th intermediate boys at NI primary & intermediate ski champs

Meyer Neeson skiing to 3rd place in junior girls


The North Island Primary and Intermediate School Ski Championships
were held at Whakapapa Monday September 3 to 6.
They are now the largest single (sport) primary schools sporting event in New Zealand and the largest skiing event held on Mt Ruapehu with 333 competitors.

Monday practice day was fine and sunny, but a storm came in overnight and racing was postponed Tuesday as the upper mountain was closed. Wednesday morning was fine with a chilly -4c plus wind chill to around -10c. Skiers' googles were completely icing up riding the Valley T-Bar. On Wednesday all skiers completed at least two runs on giant slalom courses, with a head to head dual slalom race for team points on Thursday. 

Taranaki was represented by three teams: Oakura School, a combined Coastal Schools team with skiers from Coastal, Oakura, Omata and Woodleigh and a team from Francis Douglas in the intermediate section.
In the team competitions Oakura school placed third equal in the Senior Primary Schools with Kings School, but moved to fourth place after their fifth skiers time was counted in to break the tie. Kristen School teams took first and second place. The Combined Coastal team placed 5th in the Junior Primary section behind National Park, Ohakune and Diosesan. The Francis Douglas intermediate team was placed 26th.

In the individual placings Meyer Neeson from Oakura was on the podium with 3rd place in junior girls, and Elsa Linders of Combined Coastal was 22nd. Finnley Binsbergen from the Coastal Combined team took fourth in junior boys (missing out on 3rd by 0.01 of a second!) and Angus White 25th.

Finnley Binsbergen, dual slalom

In a tightly contested race in the intermediate boys Tai Juneau was 6th, and Max Hardie Boys 29th both of Oakura. Lucy Brankin (Oakura) was 19th in the intermediate girls.

Lucy Brankin

Oakura Team: Lucy Brankin, Toby Brankin, Max Hardie Boys, Tai Juneau, Meyer Neeson.
Combined Coastal: Elsa Linders, Finnley Binsbergen, Cole Hareb, Isa Mather. Angus White.

For more images of Junior Ski Racing, see  
Photos - Junior Ski Racing and Training in the Photo Gallery section on the website.

Recent Images...
last week at Whakapapa

Finnley Binsbergen in his element, loving those jumps!!!


A very strong supporter and club member Sir Roy McKenzie (84) passed away on September 1. An obituary to Sir Roy is included in this newsletter and it outlines how he along with the other club members of the time helped to create the club and facilities we are all so proud of.

Browsing through the Clubs History Book as I tend to, quite often I came across a piece from the Club newsletter in 1953. We tend to think that bad ski seasons are only a relatively recent phenomenon-however I can assure you they aren’t and I quote...
“The winter snows were very light and very little activity could be carried out on the hut slopes (T Bar). This of course deterred the skiing confidence of our younger members who were not able to become proficient before the spring skiing on the steeper Policeman slopes. In fact the Hut Ridge ski tow was only used on one weekend.”
(extract from 'A History of the Stratford Mountain Club' by Bob and Nancie Stokes)

I am only guessing, but maybe they had a lot of southeast winds that year - the same as we are having this year, cold fine and no moisture. Yours truly has had only one day this year on the top tow, loading from the roll over the snow above there has been very good. P.Q and I took a hike to the Policeman which is about the same distance as from the roll over to the tow shed ramp. The snow was firm but it did soften during the day, but the southeast conditions do keep conditions firm through too damned hard. Having said that there have been some excellent days up there - I guess that a trip off the summit before Christmas could be on the cards there is a lot of snow on the upper part of the mountain.

We do have elections coming up at the AGM in late November early December. The list of available positions are:

  1. Treasurer
  2. Secretary
  3. Lower lifts/ fox
  4. Machinery
  5. Lodge Convener
  6. Racing and Training Coordinator
  7. Financial Planning
  8. Social
  9. Newsletter & Publicity

If you think you have what it takes and want to contribute please put your name forward. We need you.

Chris Burr

Upcoming Events…

Taranaki Secondary Schools Ski/Board Champs
&  the Taranaki Primary & Intermediate Schools Ski Champs
to be advised - latest thought is that Sec schools may be held at Ruapehu, and the Primary & Intermediates may be cancelled for 2007. 
SMC Spring Social
Saturday evening October 6. Fitzroy Surf Club.
A chance for members to shoot the breeze and mingle with like minded people/families.

...check out our website events page for more event info


The SMC committee is currently working on…

  • T-bar area tidy up for DoC handover
  • committee job descriptions and nominations for AGM 
  • pre-AGM mailout newsletter
  • Manganui Lodge heating system review
  • SMC 10 year plan
  • work on extension of top tow
  • top tow 'no-snow' get on ramp extension feasibility


The Snowco Ski Area Service Award

Awarded for excellence in service and safety offered to snow-users in New Zealand.

This is a people’s choice award.  Voting is done via an online survey which can be found at:

Your vote will determine the People's Choice 2007 SNOWCO SKI AREA SERVICE AWARD and, the People's Choice 2007 SNOWCO SMALL SKI AREA SERVICE AWARD.

The voting form consists of 32 simple radio buttons covering ten different aspects of ski area information and operations. It should take about 5 minutes to complete.

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. 



And what does the Moon Man predict for the spring?

More from the moon man!

September for NZ
This month the N Is may be wetter than average but the S Is drier than average.  For the N Is. the most rain may come  8th-11th and 16th-19th and least rain around the 12th-16th. For the S Is. the wettest may be around the 5th and 19th, and the least rain around the 12th-17th. 
Sunshine hours should be less than average for the North Island, and just on average for the S Is. The northern and southern ends of the North Island may be warmer than normal whilst BoP to Hastings may be cooler. In the SI, warmer than average districts may be the W coast, inland Otago and Southland..September may be a month without much wind, as frequent NE’s may keep temperatures above normal over much of the country, especially Westland. 


Experienced skiers, of every country that gets winter snow, say snow comes around a Full moon. Does it?

Down here in the southern hemisphere the South Pole is below us, the equator is above. Cold air comes from the south and warm air comes down from the north. Warm air NEVER comes up from the far south. So..something drags air in those directions. What could that something be? There are only two things in the sky with any capability of a sizeable gravitational pull on the air - the Sun or the Moon. But the Sun is ALWAYS in the north, so it can't be the Sun. On the other hand the Moon treks from north to south every 27-days, and at its peaks reaches about 28-deg on either side of the Equator. Scientists know that the Moon has two and a half times the tidal pulling power of the Sun. It is not too far-fetched, therefore, to conclude that what pulls water in the oceans and thereby creates the tides, also pulls air, especially when so much of the world's surface is ocean and the sea-surface is in actual contact with the bottom of the air layer. So when, say, the Moon travels from south to north, the cold air must be pulled from the South pole northwards over NZ. This 27-day north-to-south-to-north-again moon-cycle has been known to astrologers and astronomers for thousands of years. It is called Lunar Declination. So I say go figure. The Moon has several cycles, and the 28-day phase cycle (new-full-new moon again) gets slowly out of synch and then back in synch again with the 27-day declination cycle, through the course of any year. The two cycles come into synch in winter. So when is the Moon, year in and year out the furthest south right in the middle of winter so creating a time when it is MOST likely to snow? Amazingly - exactly on the Full moon.

Snow can come at other times too, but not quite as often, on a New moon night, a 1st Quarter morning and a Last Quarter afternoon. Snow will also come when the so-called "cold" planets are in special angles to the location, as described mathematically by the astrologer Sir Isaac Newton. Snow will form on a slightly rising temperature after a near-freezing point minimum if there is precipitation around. Wind direction plays a part in temperature formation as does Moon phase, because the phase controls the airtide and the time of the day when temperatures will be more likely to rise or fall.

If weather is about the Moon and snow is about the weather, it follows that the Moon must be responsible for snow.


Winds are very important when working out which snowfields will get the best snow.  Whakapapa can get good snow from just about all winds, including northerly, while Turoa gets best snow from wind coming from the south.  Treble Cone needs westerly or north-westerly winds and gets virtually nothing from southerlies.
Mt Hutt needs southerlies or south-easterlies, also easterlies if they are cold enough.  Coronet Peak needs southerlies or south-westerlies, although not many southerlies carry precipitation. If Treble Cone is getting snow, Coronet probably isn't.  Ohau needs southerlies and westerlies. From south-easterlies the Southern lakes just seem to get cloud.  Cadrona gets snow from south-westerlies and southerlies, but nothing from the west or north-west.

Snow, natural that is,  is possible only with precipitation: and if skies are clear you will just get extra cold. It often snows as temperatures are rising slightly - this is because to make a snowflake you need the warmer air to expand the ice crystal. Also, it often helps when fine periods mix in with wet, because the ground is made cooler which means the snow can stay longer.

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.


Oakura school ski team, 4th in intermediate section of north island primary and intermediate ski champs: Meyer Neeson, Toby Brankin, Max Hardie Boys, Tai Juneau, Lucy Brankin.

Title image supplied by
TNL Graphics

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