Club history

Ngauruhoe Ski Club Inc. was formed in 1964 by a band of dedicated enthusiasts, some of whom are still active members today. Responding to a notice in the window of Tisdalls Sports in Queen Street, Auckland, inquirers were astonished to learn that the ski club they were being invited to join had no members, no skis, no lodge to stay in, and no money!

Ngauruhoe Ski Club Inc. got its name in the most simple way: The club wanted a name recognising the unique alpine environment of Tongariro National Park. As there was already a Ruapehu Ski Club and Tongariro Ski Club, the only mountain left without a namesake ski club was Mt Ngauruhoe so Ngauruhoe Ski Club we became.

The early years of the Club were spent in fundraising activities typical of the era: parties aboard ferries floating on the Waitemata Harbour, raffles and benefits, donations and auctions. Legend has it a furious bidding war erupted over a stainless steel spatula. Never was such an exorbitant price paid for a humble kitchen implement!

The first officers of the Club were President Michael Coup (because he was the publisher of the monthly ski magazine which had run an advertisement for members to join a new ski club), Sally Cassels-Brown as Secretary (because she could take short-hand), and Derek Speer as Treasurer (as a BCom at Auckland University it was assumed he could probably count pennies). They have been followed by a succession of dedicated volunteers who are elected each year at the Clubs Annual General Meeting.

The first lodge was built entirely by Club members and was officially opened in 1965.

Throughout the 1970s Ngauruhoe Ski Clubs reputation was largely built on the fame of its parties. Mountain legends of the feats of Miss Ngauruhoe abound, as does photographic evidence of members creativity at costume parties, The Clubs logo, designed in 1964 by graphic artist Rheyn Morath, has stood the test of time and has not only appeared on ski club clothing, but also hangs in many lodges on Mt Ruapehu in the form of plaques awarded for teams racing in the Ngauruhoe Trophy Race.

Unfortunately the original Whakapapa lodge burnt to the ground in 1987, but like the Phoenix it rose again from the ashes a year later to be an architectural award winner and the most modern club on Mt Ruapehu. Nestled in a small valley above the overnight carpark, the lodges most distinctive features are the wall of glass facing toward the mountain summit, and the gently curving roofline.

Ngauruhoe Ski Club has had a presence on the Turoa side of Mt Ruapehu from the commencement of the Turoa Ski field, first with an old house in Burns Road and now the Glacier Lodge in the Turoa Alpine Village. The current Turoa lodge was purchased from a consortium of Australian employees of AHI Industries, which developed the Turoa skifield. The lodge was designed to cater for four families at a time - hence the mix of double bedrooms (for the parents) and bunkrooms (for all the kids).

Ngauruhoe Ski Club has always been a family oriented Club and unlike many others on the mountain, we welcome members of all ages. The impressions made on a young person whose winter experience is wrapped up in communal living on or near the side of an active volcano can be profoundly rewarding and lifelong. The links that many of the children and grandchildren of the Clubs original band of members still have with Ngauruhoe Ski Club are testimony to the vision and perseverance of those hardy few in the early 1960s.

The passion for the mountain and for the club is evident in the high participation of members in social activities and work parties, held to introduce prospective members to the club.