Zirky in­ducted an of­fi­cial leg­end

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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