Zirky inducted an official legend
MT HOTHAM legend Peter ‘Zirky’ Zirknitzer has been inducted into the Snowsports Industries of Australia hall of fame in the off season.
Zirky was a 30-year-old instructor when he arrived at Hotham from Austria in 1963.
In those early days at Hotham, Zirky immediately became involved with the Alpine Ski Club where he started instructing the die-hard skiers and boosting instructor ranks to two.
“I think it’s wonderful, I just don’t quite know whether I deserved it or not, or if I did enough for it,” he said when accepting the award.
The resort installed a poma lift to the Summit in 1965, snow ploughs were introduced in 1966/67 which opened the road and club lodges started opening in the 70s and 80s.
He started building Zirky’s in the 70s, starting as a snack bar and ski hire and visited banks to borrow money where they all thought he was mad.
A $2000 loan kick started the building.
Zirky continued to build in between returning to Austria to teach skiing, make money and return to expand his hotel.
“It just grew and grew, and then they built the apartments in 19992000, so there’s about 200 beds there now, so it is a reasonable size place, it’s good.”
Zirknitzer met Heather McTyre in one of his ski classes where they fell in love and married in 1971.
They have three children who all grew up at Hotham and who were also at the awards ceremony.
Today daughter Anneleis runs Zirky’s, a thriving après bar and restaurant with 30 self-contained apartments, ski in ski out access, a boutique shop and ski hire.
Zirky and Heather still ski regularly at Hotham during local winters and overseas.
“I love skiing, it is the only thing I can do reasonably well, I may as well do it,” he said.
You will still find Zirky on the premises during winter
“I make sure they drink enough,” he said.
Zirknitzer from Zirky’s fame at Hotham, Bert Leibetseder, a long time wholesaler who introduced Carrera to Australia, and Geoff Sawyer, who is regarded as the founder of snowboarding in Australia, were added to the select club.
They join Vivienne Green, Hans Grimus and Larry Adler who were inducted in 2015.
HALL OF FAMERS: Peter Zirknitzer (left), Bert Leibetseder who introduced Carrera to Australia, and Geof f Sawyer, regarded as the founder of snowboarding in Australia were inducted into the select group.