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Previous Issues:
Issue 19 - 11 June 2008
Issue 18 - 28 May 2008
Issue 17 - 15 May 2008
Issue 16 - 26 Feb 2008

corner Smart & Riflerange Rds
The Valley Mega Centre,
New Plymouth
ph 7599300

ISSUE 20            THURSDAY 26 JUNE 2008 ....

The good news - We are all go for 2008!
Wednesday the field opened for the 1st time this season.
Best we all get up there!
So keep checking the webcam and snow report.

Finally winter has hit with a vengence. A cooler wintry spell is upon us for this week. It is looking good for building the snow levels.

Remember to get it while it is on at your local - you never know how long the snow conditions will last and how the weather will shape up.

A general lack of winter storm cycles, up to this week, had seen snow levels at real low levels for all of the country.
However this week we are experiencing a continued winter blast and it looks like all the ski areas are getting topped up nicely - in time for the school holidays.

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
06-759 5192 b/h
06-752 7140 a/h
027-290 6636 m


Contact Us:
06-759 4609
New Plymouth


Manganui Webcam
Tuesday 24th 4:21pm

GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski Area

Manganui Opening Day Wednesday 25 June

Wednesday 25th saw the field operating with a good soft snow cover in moderate NW winds, with rain/sleet prevailing most of the day. One of those days where you get wet, but the snow was soft and forgiving. Towards the end of the day sleet was coming down hard, so all looks good for the snow cover for the next few days at least. The top tow cover is building nicely. The learners tow has a good cover although maintenance is being carried out at present - we hope to have it running asap.
And I can attest to the fact that the canteen's hot pies are great!
JK 6 day forecast for Manganui

Personal Belongings security at the DoC Shelter and Manganui Lodge

A reminder to all that please be vigilant in keeping personal items in sight in both the Public and Manganui Lodge. We regularly have issues with personal belongings being taken from both the lodges.
So please remember to keep the important stuff close to you at your day visit up here.

SMC Membership Card
- please display on lanyard when in the Manganui Lodge

SMC are attempting to create a culture of members wearing their membership cards around their neck on a lanyard or neck cord (as you would with Commercial Area season passes).
This season you should see your committee members leading the way with this initiative for other members to follow.

It is intended that this culture will easier identify members moving in and about the Manganui Lodge (and hence the general public), as well as providing a name badge for easier introductions.

The Manganui Lodge is for use by SMC members, who pay for the privilage, however visitors are most welcome to inspect the club facilities - as we do make the lodge available to  the public to utilise our on-mountain accommodation.

Safety Services Coordinator's June report

A new freezer has been brought for the canteen as the old one had run out of gas. 
There is food and drink in the canteen and pies will be up there this coming week. The pies are coming from Le Dejeuner “The Real Pie”. We are getting two sizes of pies as the big pies may be too much for some people.
Investigating lease or purchase of coffee machine. Good coffee would buy a good coffee if it was available.  In summer it could sit in Manganui Lodge and is coin operated, and in winter it goes in the canteen and we could operate so the money goes though the till.
Ski Field
The ski doo has had several steering issues the last few years so I have had some new steering rods made up and adjusted one of the bent steering wings. Hopefully this will fix this problem. Thanks to Trout at Fitzroy Engineering.
I have made up a couple of new top safeties for the tee bar after the original was taken. The new safety is in place now hopefully it won’t get taken.
Have spoken to news talk ZB on the up and coming season. Are talking with More Fm about the daily ski report they do. Also Rob Needs from Kiwi Outdoors will advertise the ski field in this spot on Classic Hits.
We had 5cm of snow on the night of Saturday the 7th. Almost enough to operate.
I have a new snow report fax form which will be going out to the radio stations and several stores. This will go out on operational days and several days after.
I have made a good start on rewriting the Operations Manual to bring it in to line with the recommendations from Peak Risks audit. Along with the operations manuals I have updated the avalanche response instructions to bring us in to line with what the Police have in their folder. This should make it easy for everyone to follow.
Upcoming dates
Next snow forecast according to Ken Ring
25th-26th and the 29th-30th

Todd Velvin, Safety Services Coordinator 

Obituary - William George Brown (1926-2008) 82yrs

Bill became a member of the Stratford Mountain Club on the 7th November 1945, he was 19 years of age. He had previously been a member of TAC but decided skiing was his passion. Other members of note joining the club at the same time as Bill included Bob and Wade Stokes. Don Dorflinger was Club Captain at that time and Gordon Close was Club Librarian.

Bill was a very practical person; he could do everything and fix anything; he would never throw anything away and as a result he had a treasure trove of spare parts and associated items stored in his garage. Bill's practical capability suited the club very well at the time as just about everything on the mountain, tows and flying foxes were built by members using rough sketches of what someone had seen or photos. The results were amazing and the friendships forged during that time remain to this day and go along way to explaining the camaraderie and the commitment that exists within the club.

SMC has a long history of ski racing success and up until the late 1980s SMC racers dominated the NZ ski racing scene. However you cannot have a race without officials and Bill for many years during race days could be found with stopwatch in hand at the race course finish line. He loved being there as he could keep an eye on proceedings and he was always up with the play as far as times and placings was concerned.

Bill loved young people and he always got a thrill seeing SMC racers excel. He was always willing to transport in this various work vans, racers to Ruapehu. They were great trips and for many young racers of time those memories will last a life time. The last few years Bill's skiing activities had been restricted to Ruapehu with a group of friends and teaching his grandchildren the art of skiing with the odd driving lesson thrown in.

The last three years George Mason, Vern Newell and Bill had been landscaping around the Manganui Lodge after the rebuild, along with another one of his pet projects the track from the tunnel to the Lodge. Every time we went to the mountain Bill would have jobs planned, generally they involved filling holes with shingle unblocking drains or dealing to what is now affectionately known as 'Bill's Rock', a rock so hard we made virtually no progress in reducing its size at all-all we could do was leave chisel marks on it.

Bill's last trip to the mountain was about a month ago with his mates George and Vern. The day was perfect- clear, fine no wind with a perfect view to Ruapehu. Bill loved the mountain and skiing and he went as often as he could and I know his spirit will be watching over us all as we continue to enjoy an asset that is unique to Taranaki.

Bills achievements

1950 Carryer Cup First Place
1952 Joyce Beale Silver Award
1959 Joyce Beale Gold Award
1997 Life Member- Services to the Club. 

Chris Burr.

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


Dry run of new timing gear...

Clive, Christina, Lars, Justin and Mark had a 'dry run' of the timing gear at Oakura Boardriders skate park recently.
Once a few teething problems were overcome (ie reading 5 manuals of instructions!) the grommets were put through their paces running and skating through small courses. An impressive piece of kit with the start wand and infra red finishing line.
Clive has since had a good play downloading software and running mock races, so weather and snow permitting we will have the gear up and running for the Primary and Intermediate, and Secondary Schools ski champs, scheduled for After the July school holidays (more info to follow).

Race Gates have arrived and are now on the hill...

Lars delivered the new race gates to the ski area. Now we await the snow so we can get some training underway with the flash gear!

We are arranging sponsors patches to be sewn onto new kit bags, acknowledging the support of Pub Charity and NZ Community Trust.

Upcoming Events…

NZ Mountain Safety Council Avalanche Awareness Course for Skiers and Snowboarders, Taranaki Area
Fri 19 July(evening)- Lecture/Seminar - Fitzroy Surf Club
Sat 20 July - Field Day - Manganui Ski Area


Top Tow skier
pics thanks Manos


By the looks of the weather the snow isn’t to far away and with the school holidays approaching a dump of snow now would be perfect to fill up the club “coffers”. The canteen has reverted back to the public shelter and the selection of stock on sale has been increased so you should find something to suit your tastes. All pre-season work has been completed with Todd Velvin tidying up our SASP in preparation for this year’s audit. If you want to join the ski patrol or wish to be a volunteer operator please contact Todd.

The club lost one of its strongest supporters last week with the death of Bill Brown. Bill had been unwell for the last 3 weeks after a couple of strokes. His funeral was huge and many members both former and present were in attendance. The guard of honor was fantastic with many varieties of ski poles forming the arch. My thanks to all that attended - Bill would have been delighted. An obituary is included in this e-ewsletter.

Please keep the subscriptions coming in and if you have any problems or you wish to correct any information please contact our subscriptions co coordinator Jenni Fletcher  on 7588879, or better still email her at

See you on the snow.   
Chris Burr
President SMC




The SMC committee is currently working on…

  • Metservice Weatherstation replacement and relocation to Top Tow Shed Area (mid-mountain: 1420m).
  • Webcam/Modem replacement.
  • General T-bar maintenance. 
  • SKi Area Operations Manual re-write.

A History of Skiing...


July 5 1900
Heavy snow fell in NSW Australia with elevations as low as 800m receiving nearly a metre.

July 7 1937
North Island NZ recorded its coldest night on record with a low of -13.6 at Chateau Tongariro.

July 21 1983
The world's lowest minimum temperature of -89.6degC recorded in Vostock, Antarctica.

   history facts sourced from























ACC's Snowsmart Fitness Plan website

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BlackDiamond Powerboards

We received product info for this over summer.
A new product developed in USA and being pushed by the country that manufactures and copies anything - China of course!
No, not Viagra, or GPS mobile phones, but Powerboards! (also known as Snow Snakes).
Cost approx US$1400...their correspondence makes for interesting reading...

This is Mr. Sunny Wang saying hello from a powered snowboard factory which located in China. I got your contact information from website.

I know your company is operating a big ski resort [Yeah right!]. Your reputation and business range make me to contact with you. In last year, we developed a snow machine, it's motorised, track propelled , traveling over the snow like a snowboard. It's a US developed product. We are an American-Chinese joint venture is named Aleutian Mobility. We are in charge of production and sales about the product. 

We are the only manufactory which can offer you this new product. We spent last year on improving it, now the performance is quite good. Anyone who drived it will like it very much. It's cool for fun.  So I think, as a ski resort, it also can be your new snow machine for rent.

the lastest 2008 model

Anyway, I am pleased to offer the details information about the new product if you reply me. If possible, I am glad to get in touch with your marketing or sales manager.

Thanks for your time, my regards to you.

Aleutian Mobility LLC is an American-Sino Joint Venture Manufacturing and Research & Development Company focused on providing mobility solutions for the most challenging travel conditions and serving unique mobility needs.

Parent Companies
Mattracks International Inc. - the manufacturer of the original rubber track conversion system for 4x4 vehicles Sold world wide, MATTRACKS are at work and at play on all seven continents in over 55 international markets.
Kacpo Vehicles Co., Ltd - established in 2003 and is now located in Wuyi City, Zhejiang Province China. Kacpo is an American / Chinese joint venture company that has emerged as an industry leader in the Research, Development and Production of ATV’s, Utility ATV’s, Motorcycles, Gasoline and Electric Scooters for all Ages.

NZ Mountain Safety Council Avalanche Awareness Course for Skiers and Snowboarders, Taranaki Area

Fri 19 July(evening)- Lecture/Seminar - Fitzroy Surf Club
Sat 20 July - Field Day - Manganui Ski Area

Offered subject to numbers, this course starts in the classroom and then moves out onto the mountain.

This Avalanche Awareness Course is for skiers and snowboarders, and provides a first step to gaining an appreciation of the avalanche phenomenon and what is needed to make decisions about personal safety when travelling in avalanche terrain. The course involves both a lecture and a field day and covers:

Mountain weather
Identification of avalanche terrain
Basic route finding and decision making
Companion rescue
Safety equipment (including use of transceivers)

To register and for further course details,
Contact Gayle Tricklebank






















Media & Marketing Contacts

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

SMC Newsletter/Promotional/IT
Justin Keenan

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

Want to Contribute?

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. 


friday 20 June

Ever wondered why your lift ticket costs so much? That was certainly the subject of a heated debate in Australia and New Zealand this week when a report showed that a day pass at many of their modest sized resorts were now the most expensive in the world - even more expensive than Whistler or the mighty Three Valleys. Part of the answer is to do with the changing climate.

Despite the threat of global warming, and also because of it, people continue to invest heavily in skiing infrastructure - especially in resorts where snow conditions are often marginal. This week we learned that a Dutch firm is reportedly planning to invest 40 million Euros in the leading Czech ski resort of Pec Pod Snezkou. Middle Europe Investments apparently wants to upgrade facilities in the northern Bohemian ski town. Meanwhile, The Belleville Valley, one of the French Three Valleys (the world's largest lift-linked ski area), has announced new snowmaking installations being added this summer above the resorts of St Martin de Belleville and Les Menuires at a cost of 850,000 Euros.

Having already invested heavily, Coronet Peak in New Zealand now prides itself in having some of the most sophisticated snow making in the world but that did not save the staff from taking a forced unpaid vacation last week when warm weather kept the canons switched off as the base melted away. Australian resorts have also traditionally had to work hard against nature to deliver good snow conditions. Yet despite all the investment, two weeks after the grand opening weekend there is very little skiing on offer. Snowmaking can solve the problems caused by lack of snow but can't mitigate against warm weather. It is still very early in the season and we are sure things will soon improve on both sides of the Tasman but it provides food for thought - if the ski season gets shorter at resorts that have invested in snowmaking, how much will they have to charge to stay in business?

  • In New Zealand, unseasonal warmth forces Coronet Peak to close 
  • Coronet Peak temporarily laid off staff
  • Mt Lyford and Mt Hutt have had good snow conditions and sunny days
  • All resorts to see a return to winter conditions from Sunday 22nd
  • An unsettled and often snowy week on its way

New Zealand

We sympathize with the owners of Coronet Peak. After investing in some of the best snowmaking equipment in the world they confidently expected the early opening day of the season to be a triumph. A mild norwester the day before brought heavy rain to the lower slopes and stripped away a fair portion of the 40cm base that had accumulated in the run-up. Weeks of regular snow falls and perfect snowmaking conditions were undone in a few hours. Fresh snow from a southerly soon got them back on track the very next day and a week of great skiing was the result. Things took another turn for the worse when warm NW winds brought temperatures of more than 10C to the slopes. This was in remarkable contrast to the same time a year ago when parts of Otago endured temperatures of minus 20C and a frost that went on for weeks. With their state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment the cold and clear conditions of last June would have suited Coronet Peak perfectly if there had been a repeat, but instead it simply became far too warm for snowmaking.

Things got so poor on the slopes that the manager had to lay off more than a hundred staff and close the resort. Yet another mild NW wind will visit on Saturday. However, the good news is that we confidently predict that everyone will be back at work very soon. Sunday 22 June heralds a change in the weather with winds switching to a disturbed SW quarter. Beyond Sunday, the week (this week!) looks pretty unsettled for all of New Zealand with a string of fronts and weather systems lining up in the Tasman. We expect a lot of snow, especially on the east side of New Zealand and certainly at Ruapehu where skiing is very limited at present. The wind alternates between West and South so there will be large variations in the freezing level and when that wind comes down from the mountains it may turn briefly mild on the leeward side of the Southern Alps, but mostly we expect it to be cold enough for the snow canons to run. At Ruapehu, snow starts falling on the upper mountain at the weekend and there should be a notably heavy fall mid-week to low levels. Overall this is exactly what we need to jump-start the Kiwi ski season. The price we will pay for plentiful new snow next week will be high winds at times.

At Mt Hutt and Mt Lyford the pre-season snowfalls we heavier than elsewhere and the mild norwesters less damaging which means that they have just enjoyed a great week of sunny skiing on good bases for the time of year. Mt Lyford is currently the only open resort in New Zealand covered by the excellent value Chill pass. 

Want to Advertise?

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.


Riding the Top Tow in the epic season of '06.
pic: thanks Robbo - AgentR

Title image supplied by
TNL Graphics

See you on the slopes - real soon!
SMC Management
© copyright 2007 - Stratford Mountain Club