90 years of Mt Cheeseman Ski Club
2019 marks 90 years of Mt Cheeseman Ski Club. The club boasts 4th generation Cheeseman skiers as members and has a rich history of hard work and good times accumulated to the ski area facilities enjoyed there today.
Cheeseman has a distinctive club spirit and laid-back atmosphere. The club is run by volunteers and staff are employed to operate the ski area in winter. The ski area and lodges are open to the public as well as members. Originally named Canterbury Winter Sports Club, the club was formed in 1929 with nine members. At the time recreational skiing was at its very beginning in New Zealand and founder Allen Giles was adamant the club should be open to everyone and include skiing, ice skating and tobogganing. In the year after establishing the club, a walking and toboggan track were formed, and the skating rink and bottom hut built.
The determination to ski in these times is admirable as there was a lot of hard work involved just to reach the snow. Equipment was extremely basic, and technique passed on from slightly more experienced skiers to learners. On top of this, as always, weather played a significant role in ease of access as well as maintaining good conditions to ski and skate.
Over the years the club has grown and thanks to a lot of hard graft it is now very easy to enjoy the snow and superb views at Cheeseman. There are two T-Bars as well as a learner tow, beautifully wide groomed runs, a lovely day lodge and two accommodation lodges. There is also the convenience of equipment rental on the mountain, professional lessons and delicious coffee and toasted sandwiches. The ski weeks are legendary, staying at Snowline Lodge, participants are fully immersed in the Cheeseman experience.
For more on the history of Mt Cheeseman Ski Club there is a great book called 75 Years on Cockayne by Margaret Rich which was used as a reference for the information here.
There is also a DVD to watch “Cheeseman – the making of a ski club”, available from Mt Cheeseman.