In­ter­est­ing his­tory be­hind lift sys­tem

Mt Buller News - - NEWS - with ROB AIVATOGLOU

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.

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