Interesting history behind lift system
THE lift system here at Mt Buller is certainly the best in the southern hemisphere, and arguably as good as anywhere in the world.
In fact, the very first chair lift ever established by the Doppelmayr company anywhere in the world was our very own Bourke Street chair lift.
We have a unique environment, with low altitude, warmer temperatures and humidity all contributing to above average icing. Plus wind, rain and fog. It means we need stronger axels and bearings to carry the extra load.
Mt Buller skiers benefited from the competition created between Orange Lifts and Blue Lifts.
For years, it was a game of chess between them.
Essentially, in 1959 a deal was struck by the Forest Commission when Orange Lifts assumed responsibility for Kofflers Hutte, and in return were allocated terrain ‘above the tree line’, while Blue Lifts owned ‘below the snow line’.
It was cat and mouse… Orange sneaked down, Blue pushed up.
In 1963 Orange acquired the Tyrol Lodge, a move driven by their desire to block Blue from pushing into the Shakey Knees terrain.
Actually, Shakey was to be called Swanston Street, on the back of Bourke Street being just around the mountain.
And Skyline was to be Little Collins Street.
However, skiers got very upset.
They wanted to get away from Melbourne, not have ski runs named after busy Melbourne streets.
They protested and it all changed.
Boggy Creek T-bar was built in 1967.
The summit area was extremely popular with intermediate and advanced skiers.
Soon large queues became the norm with waiting time up to 60 minutes.
So led by Hans Grimus, Orange soon began looking into a chair that would run from the base of the Boggy Creek area up to the summit.
Identifying the best line for the lift generated heated debate, with a range of opinions voiced loudly.
Some wanted it to run up McLaughlin’s Shoulder, where it would be far more exposed to the elements.
Others wanted it to finish down by the Boggy Creek pumping station.
Such decisions would have impacted in all different ways.
The Grimus Triple Chair was built in 1979 - the first triple chair in Victoria.
It changed the face of skiing at Mt Buller, allowing intermediates to enjoy a nice long run, but still provided advanced skiers with access to some of the most challenging terrain in Australia.