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Previous Issues:

Issue 26 - 26 September 2008
Issue 25 - 08 September 2008
Issue 24 - 20 August 2008
Issue 23 - 07 August 2008
Issue 22 - 23 July 2008
Issue 21 - 09 July 2008
Issue 20 - 25 June 2008
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 27            WEDNESDAY 15 OCTOBER 2008 ....

Spring Skiing is still a happening thing in the North Island.
Having just been to Ruapehu over the weekend, I can attest to the fact there is still some great spring skiing to be had. Plenty of snow remains, even after last week's rain event, and by mid-late morning everything is softening...which means you can pretty go much anywhere... which means lots of options on a record snow year like this one!

Back at Manganui, we still have a great cover up there - getting thin on the ridges but still plenty in the valleys. With the top tow extension now running well, the extra vertical gained opens up some great runs down. Check out the pics in our Snippets of Interest section to see what I am talking about!

We are now recording website snow report as closed for the season. 
We are now running the top tow operating status via the snowphone 06 759 1119 - so please check this if you are heading up - the snowphone will be updated if a volunteer crew is heading up to run the top tow and extension lift.

In this issue


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

Contact Us:
06-759 4609
New Plymouth

Rent Your Skis Local and avoid the Ruapehu cues!

Kiwi Outdoors Centre
18 Ariki Street,  New Plymouth
Phone and Fax (06) 7584152

GOINGS ON’ Around the Manganui Ski Area

Safety Services Coordinator/Ski Area Managers
End of Year Report

This past month (September) has been a little slower on the mountain, but we have had some great weekend days on the Top Tow.

Field Audit
Over this winter one of my jobs was to develop a snow safety program and bring the clubs paper work up to scratch for our second audit.
On Wednesday the 25th of this month Peak Risk came to the field to re audit our operation.
They were impressed with how far we had come from 2006 and were happy with the direction. 

Randonee Race
Unfortunately this was cancelled due to lack of support.

There several options we can look at for the lodge if we want to make it more secure.
Bookings have started to pick up with school holidays have several nights fully booked and bookings in November and New Years Eve is booked out.
The lodge has been keep pretty clean thanks to everyone doing their bit. We have the cleaning lady coming through soon when her family stay at the lodge and she has been give a list of things to do like inside of cupboards, light switches, door handles, etc.

As most will be aware I have been trying to get rid of stock by selling this cheaper on the Top Two days. This has had a good response which may require a working bee to build a small canteen locker in the shed for next year, even a small cooker would be nice save the trips back down to get the pies. Once the financial year finishes some stock will end up in the bar like the drinks and chips. While I have returned some stock to toops. The feedback on the canteen this year has been good with some improvement suggestions been given which may take place over summer - another working bee.

Top Tow Days
We have had good numbers during the weekends and a real mix of season pass holders and paying public. Saturdays are the busy days where Sundays have been.

Snow safety
the new avalanche atlas is progressed, as is the new operations manual. These have both been requirements from the last audit. The avalanche advisory has now ended, so please remember there is alot of snow high on the mountain still and large spring time avalanches are still possible.

A few problems here lately; it is not the internet connection it seems to be the camera ( are sending a replacement for summer install). You may have also noted that the picture has been zoomed in on the Top Tow a little more for this time of year.

Clean Up
I have started to have a clean up around the field with a truck load of rubbish ready to go. A crew of terrain park folks is needed to collect their wooden features off the slopes. Otherwise the place is looking not too bad.

Working Bee List
Below is a list of some things i thought we could attack before next winter (subject to committee approval):

• Canteen refit – Redesign for ease of use. Stand up freezer. See Rob or Todd for plan
• Tee Bar lift line – flatten and level out track and place half rounds down. Track needs to be at least 3m wide.
• Towers painted or removed for galvanizing.
• Heli pad next to lodge – This should be part funded by DOC and SAR plus the club. This may be a good time to build a bigger groomer shed underneath the Heli pad. Should be no issue in getting DOC approval as I have spoken to them about it.
• Water tank – This project is to be run in conjunction with DOC, as we will have one water tank for both buildings. Half and half costs.
• Meadows fence – Remove fence and build new one lower down with a comeback trail to the access tow.
• Phones – Get telecom to have a look at the radio unit as the line guys have told us this is why our phone has poor quality. Radio guy has not been to the ski field but has replaced something at the exchange. Radio unit is getting on in years.
• Terrain Park – small lift for rail park location to be decided.
• Terrain Park – rails to have gaps filled by wood - safety issue.
• Move lockers around in basement and add more. Floor plan needs to be developed.
• Build or buy ski and snowboard racks for basement. Ski industries have freestanding stands.
• Heat pump install
• Boot rack for drying room to make for more space.
• Touch up paint job in lodge where dings and marks are on walls.
• Look at recladding and roofing Warrick Brown building. There are small leaks in the roof over office.

(look for some of these to be actioned in working bees this coming working bee period)

My Job
It has been a good year for the club to employ a fulltime person as we have had 22 days of operation on the T-Bar with good money coming in. I have enjoyed my time but it has been hard work.  There are several problems which the ski field will always have, the main one is staff. Trying to make sure we have staff for the open days when we cannot guarantee fulltime work is tough and they do need to be able to work at a moment’s notice, no snow today and snow tomorrow. We have been lucky with some club members having flexible day jobs and picking up a couple of young guys who just lost their other jobs.

I suffered some criticism on not standing around waiting for the weather to clear on the marginal days. This is a problem every ski field has in New Zealand and I have been at the bonus end of Managers decisions before.  We are a small field and I made the judgement that it was not financially viable for the club to be paying staff and running cost for maybe half a dozen people if the weather was to clear late in the day and we could open. Of course weekend days are another story as we receive more skier numbers and I could send staff home and rely on club members to help out which happened several times.

This year myself or Brooke were picking up the staff members on the way to work which worked really well. It meant that we were all there at the same time to get stuck in to the work and were not waiting around for people to turn up. This maybe an issue in the future depending on what happens with staff next year.

I am unavailable for this role next year as I have a fulltime job to go to. I will however like to stay in the safely services role and assist the Level 2 person the club employ for next winter.

All in all it’s been a good winter and apart from a few negative people I have enjoyed working for the club. If it was possible for me to return I would but having a young family requires a steady income stream. I am still going to be involved and I am motivated to help move the club forward with all its projects. Looking forward to the 09 winter already.

Todd Cations-Velvin

SMC Committee Nominations for upcoming AGM

Positions up for election at this years AGM are:

  • President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Accommodation Convenor (Lodge)
  • Lower Lifts
  • Machinery
  • Racing and Training
  • Newsletter/Marketing/IT
  • Safety Services
  • Events/Social

AGM is due in November.  We will issue a notice of meeting and financial statement to all members, by way of a mail out newsletter.


Peter Quinn, 1st 70-74 Age Group
NZ NI Masters Ski Champs

pics thanks John Neeson


Taranaki Masters win at Ruapehu

Members of the Stratford Mountain Club competed in the North Island Masters Ski Champs on 20 September at the Whakapapa Skifield.

The competition was run in the Valley Ski Area on a very fast Giant Slalom course.

Peter Quinn took out 1st place in the 70-74 Age Group and came a very respectable 3rd placing overall.

John Neeson also placed 2nd in the 50-54 Age Group (9th overall). Also in this category Graham Gilkinson placed  4th (15th overall).

In the 45-49 Age Group Mark Braddock placed 10th (55th overall).  


70-74 Age Group, 1st, Peter Quinn, 38.25, 37.09, 01:15.34

50-54 Age Group, 2nd John Neeson, 35.12, 34.47, 01:09.59. 4th, Graham Gilkinson, 36.62, 35.92, 01:12.54.

45-49 Age Group, 10th, Mark Braddock 41.71, 42.52, 01:24.23.






Spring is finally upon us and there has been some very good skiing on the Top Tow for the keen ones.

Todd Velvin our Area Manager for the season completed his contract at the end of September. At our last committee meeting, we discussed at length the season completed, and we did identify areas where we could improve the operation. But the main consensus was that it was a success and with the changing nature of operating a ski field in NZ we will do it again next season - the only change being that we would like to hire a Level 2 Avalanche person to look after the snow safety programme only. They would also train and educate the Level 1 avalanche personnel we have more regularly.

In this respect we will be endeavoring to contract a level 2 person from Canada who wants experience on a mountain with a maritime aspect on contract for 3 months. This would leave the Mountain managers to run the field. The committee has set this as a priority for the incoming committee to implement. As Todd isn’t taking on the role next year- he is still going to be active on the committee - I would like to thank him for his efforts this season. He certainly made life easier for all.

The AGM will be held in November - a date will be set at the next meeting - the middle of November is looking likely. Therefore we will be looking for keen people to fill vacant roles on the committee. If you think you can contribute in any way please apply-we need new blood and idea to keep improving our club.     

(Once again those positions up for election this AGM are:

  • President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Accommodation Convenor (Lodge)
  • Lower Lifts
  • Machinery
  • Racing and Training
  • Newsletter/Marketing/IT
  • Safety Services
  • Events/Social)

Chris Burr  


The SMC committee is currently working on…

  • Accounts for audit/AGM presentation
  • AGM organisation 
  • mailout newsletter issue 
  • Lower field tidy up

some snow to move onto the ramp and staircase in front of the ramp.





Top Tow and extension lift...

Great top tow and extension skiing was had on Sunday just gone, by about 15 keen souls.

The extension lift was running smoothly, and with the speed at about 60% of the top tow, it is a great little ride (on 35deg slope!) to gain that extra 60m vertical. This lift is very much a spring lift - installed as the snow line retreats up the mountain and the upper snow conditions soften with the increasing solar radiation that the longer spring days give.

Apparently the extra vertical makes all the difference - being able to access some great skiing higher in the Manganui area, and betwee the Policeman and Little Policeman.

The top tow is still able to be ridden still from the bottom ramp, with the odd walk across the tussock or mossy ridge to get back, valley skiing to the ramp made for lots of vertical and great skiing/riding.

The snow itself was getting a bit dirty (the 'corn' needs a wash? or fresh snow on top).

Word is that the plan for next year is to anchor a permanent extension top bull wheel in the policeman rocks - making the set up of the extension an easier proposition for top tow operators Biggie, Jay, and other keen club volunteers.

all pics thanks Gerald Hood








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. 


SMC in Electrical Trade Company Newsletter... 

...The Stratford Mountain Club is a club run ski field and is situated on the Manganui Ski Field on Mount Taranaki near the township of Stratford. The field is at an altitude of 1260m above sea level.

There are four electric driven DOL ski lifts on the ski field and an electric driven DOL (Direct on line starter) goods lift. The T-bar and Nutcracker rope Top Tow also have VSD drives (Variable Speed Drive). All lifts have safety monitoring circuits that protect the towers and also have Emergency Stops top and bottom, and personnel Emergency Stops in the unlikely event of a skier/boarder being caught in the lift.

The club have used the Klippon TB11 Ex IP rated range of enclosures for their 24V DC SGR monitoring circuits, due to the altitude, moisture problems and harsh environment. Inside the enclosure pictured is a selector switch to change operation of the Top Tow lift SGR monitoring circuit to enable operation at the 3/4 get off. 

Ski fields are succeptable to lightning strikes so when the field is not operational these circuits must either be disconnected or earthed to protect the complex safety circuitry.

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.


pic thanks Gerald Hood

Title image supplied by
TNL Graphics

See you on the Top Tow slopes!
SMC Management
© copyright 2007 - Stratford Mountain Club