An aerial view of the new Tekapo Ski Lodge and committee members at the official opening on Saturday. From left, Lindsay Eagle, Elaine Berry, Suvi Viljanen and Gendie Woods.
A Tekapo ski lodge damaged in an avalanche 34 years ago, forcing the club to temporarily relocate 200km away, has finally reopened.
The new Tekapo Ski Club Lodge was officially opened back in its old homeland on Saturday.
The $1.1million building replaced the original club lodge destroyed in an avalanche at the edge of the ski field in 1986.
By the time the insurance pay out came through there were no ski fields open in Tekapo, so the club established and used a lodge in Albert Town in Wanaka, about 200 kilometres from Tekapo.
The committee sold that building in 2001 in order to rebuild on the lake front in Tekapo near the ski field it represents.
Tekapo Ski Club committee member Genie Woods said it was wonderful to have the new building completed.
Though there had been a delay due to Covid it had not been too much of an inconvenience, she said.
The lodge sleeps 24, has two king bedrooms with ensuites, a kitchen, dishwasher, laundry, log burner, heat pump and free Wifi.
“We will use it for many club get togethers and rent it to the general public.”
Mackenzie mayor Graham Smith gave a speech at the official opening held at the lodge on Saturday afternoon in front of a small gathering.
A guide was dragged hundreds of metres downhill when he was caught in an avalanche on Aoraki-Mt Cook. (Video first published in October 2019)
“We got the speeches done in 12 minutes then it was bubbles and nibbles,” Woods said.
The committee chose Timaru builders to complete the project.
“It is built with energy conservation in mind, with gas heated water, double glazed and facing the sun.
“Everyone at the opening commented on how warm it felt, and inviting and spacious,” Woods said.
Once compliance documentation is signed of the lodge will be ready for bookings.
A group of Mackenzie Young Farmers established the Tekapo skifield on Richmond Station in 1958 as a club field.
It was taken over by Karl and Audrey Burscher who ran it as a commercial ski field from 1973 until it was closed in 1990.
The next generation of Buscher’s re-opened it in 2001 and renamed it Roundhill Ski Area, according to the ski field’s website.