News and Events

Mt Hutt ‘all systems go’ for 40th season opening (13-Jun-13)
Immaculately groomed slopes and a genuinely warm welcome await avid skiers and snowboarders.....

Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area first to open in Australasia (10-Jun-13)
Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area today (June 8) celebrated in style as the first Australasian ski field to open for winter....

Coronet Peak first ski area in Australasia to open on Saturday (05-Jun-13)
Queenstown is officially open for winter as the 2013 season kicks off at Coronet Peak on Saturday (June 8).

Ski Areas Go Out With A Bang! (27-Sep-12)
Season extension and half price passes

The End Of An Era; Ski Hire At The Mountain House Is No More... (22-Jul-08)

Stratford Mountain Club, NZ, July 22, 2008 - For sale: Ski equipment at the Mountain House.

For sale: Ski equipment at the Mountain House.

It's the end of a long and slippery slope for Mt Taranaki's only ski hire business. Ski hire began at the Stratford Mountain House 70 years ago and is being sold up and closed down by the resort's new owner, German businessman Karl Reipen.

He says the equipment is old and worn out and he's not prepared to risk being blamed for personal injury by hirers. He's putting it all up for sale on site this Sunday: 40-odd pairs of skis, poles and boots, a few snowboards and boots, along with bedding and furniture that is also surplus to requirements at the comprehensively revamped lodge.

Berta Anderson, the woman who sold the ski hire business to him this year, says it never made a profit over the 23 years she owned it and she only kept it going to attract lodge customers.

Despite the closure of the mountain shop, there is one ski hire place and it was opened just six days ago at the Kiwi Outdoors Centre in New Plymouth's Ariki St.

Owner Rob Needs inspected the Mountain House gear last week and says it was unsuitable for his purposes. "I have invested in 40 pairs of boots and 20 pairs of skis and poles, and hope to be hiring snowboards later," he said. "It's always going to be a small sideline though. The snow is so unreliable on our mountain that you cannot run a profitable ski business based on it. This is why I run a shuttle transport service to Ruapehu and why I am encouraging people to hire in New Plymouth if they are going to ski at a Ruapehu field."

The ski hire charge is $50 a day, or you can buy your own gear for $1000 upwards. Mr Needs says don't buy secondhand unless you know what you're doing; the gear has to be matched to your level of ability and fitness.

Mr Reipen was unavailable to comment on why he is not reopening the ski shop but his resorts manager, Monique Modlmayer-Henn, said it was a safety issue.

"Karl told me the ski gear is old and in bad condition. He's concerned that if he hires skis and someone breaks a leg he would feel responsible. He prefers somebody else provides a ski hire business away from the lodge."

Ski hire was started at the Mountain House during World War II by John Hennessy. His son, John, inherited the business and relocated it into a Pembroke Rd building. It went back to the Mountain House when he sold it to Snow Mace, and Berta and Keith Anderson acquired it in 1985.

Mrs Anderson said they had good years until the early 90s. "We had some good snow years and ski hire went well enough to be self-supporting," she said.

"There were three other ski hire places in Taranaki and ours was the only to one survive, but we could only keep it going with support from the main business. Over 10 years, maybe only three or four were financially successful. It was too dependent on snow and good weather."

"We kept it going because it helped attract customers to the Mountain House and ski field where they would buy tow tickets. The ski club has never operated a hire service."

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