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The Annual General Meeting was held on 20 March 2017 at Lower Hutt, Wellington; and Remuera, Auckland – with both meetings being linked by skype. This went very well, and a big thank-you to all those members who either attended the meeting or, because they were unable to attend, forwarded their apologies. Special thanks to Robyn and Ash Sparks for hosting the Wellington AGM; and to Ann and Richard Turnbull for hosting the Auckland AGM at their homes.

President's report

Good evening everyone and welcome to the 2017 Tauwira Ski Club AGM. Once again we are running a dual venue AGM in Wellington and Auckland after it’s successful trial last year. The committee hopes that it enables more people to attend.

The 2016 ski season was not a great one. The snow failed to arrive for the July holidays, and only Happy Valley was open. This meant that all those who booked into the lodge did not go. On top of this there were a lot of very poor weather weekends and then very average snow conditions for the September/October holidays. All of this impacted on our bookings for the season.

It is said that if the Northern Hemisphere has a good snow season then NZ goes on to follow with one as well. So hopefully 2017 will be a good year. Things are looking up at Ruapehu.

RAL has appointed a new CEO Ross Copland who was previously running Coronet Peak. He has announced a whole new range of initiatives, including replacement of the Happy Valley access chairlift with two 26 person high speed elevators and Happy Valley will be the first and only ski area in New Zealand with a Techno Alpin SF210 All-Weather Snowmaking system. This state-of-the-art technology can make snow in above-zero temperatures guaranteeing that Happy Valley Snow Park will open in time for Queen’s birthday long weekend on 3 June 2017, a month earlier than usual.

On top of this they are adding 3 new surface lifts in Happy Valley. Two of these will be covered so the skiers/boarders remain dry.

Snow making capability is getting doubled at Whakapapa including Tenants Valley which is getting snow makers to enable an alternative run to the Rockgarden.

The Waterfall T-Bar has been replaced with a new Delta Quad chairlift which will allow intermediate skiers to enjoy skiing/boarding at the higher level. Hopefully a new higher chairlift will replace the Knoll T bar in time for the 2018 season.

RAL are also in negotiations with DOC to allow Mountain Biking on the mountain in the summer. This is a very exciting initiative which potentially could open a whole new membership source for Tauwira.

You will remember at last years AGM I mentioned that DOC were looking to close the down road. It would appear that after all the submissions and feedback that was received, that the proposal has been quietly shelved for now.

Financially the club has held up very well considering how poor the snow season was. Revenue was down slightly on the previous year to $35309.00. This saw the club post a deficit of $1908 after depreciation of $4574. Expenses were largely the same as the previous year except for repairs and maintenance at Iwikau at $2361 due to our 50 year old water pump finally giving up life during the season. Many thanks to new member Greg Durrant organizing a new pump overnight for us saving the club a lot of money with his generosity.

DOC rental increased by $1528. Most of the other costs are fixed such as rates, insurance and power which we have no real control over. RAL are proposing to become a power provider for themselves and the clubs on the mountain. They have invited the clubs to be involved and have guaranteed that the power will be cheaper than what we are paying currently. Tauwira has indicated our interest along with the RMCA but have not committed yet to it.

The bathroom block was renovated before the start of last winter. Once again Nigel Neilson was at the forefront of organizing this. A new extra toilet replaced one of the old showers. The whole area including the work room was plastered and painted. New lino was laid in the bathrooms and kitchen area which has made a big difference. There is some finishing up work still to be completed but overall the club is looking fantastic.

Ohakune continues to get good weekend use, but like the lodge is a bit slow mid week. This year the committee listed the cottage on book-a-bach for the summer months as we continue to search for ways of extra income from our assets. There have not been a lot of bookings to date and we continue to monitor it.

Membership although fairly static is looking to rise this year. We have 17 prospective members who are in varying stages of the application process. On top of that we have another 3 or 4 families who have contacted us to make initial enquiries. I think our membership drive has started to pay dividends.

I would like to thank the committee. Especially Bronwyn for her role as secretary, Michele as booking officer, Nigel as our maintenance guru, Kirsten Stevens as Treasurer, Ant Sabiston as Vice President, Robyn Sparks and Rick Stevens. These roles do take time and are essential to the continuation of the club. They are all undertaken on a voluntary basis. I can’t thank them enough. Bronwyn as always, keeps everything humming along. Letters get dealt with, emails sent and meetings organized. Michele continues to juggle the difficult role of booking officer. It is very difficult to keep on top of when members are continually changing their bookings. Michele tries to accommodate all requests but a late cancellation is difficult especially when food has been ordered. Nigel once again keeps the club in working order often popping up to the lodge or round to the cottage to fix whatever is broken. Ant Sabiston and Robyn Sparks provide plenty of wisdom and energy to help the committee. Kirsten has decided to step down from the committee. For the last 2 years she has undertaken the treasurer role. This has meant a lot of work which she manages to fit in with her busy life. I can’t thank her enough and would hope that she might come back onto the committee one day when time allows. We need a few more young people helping us oldies!! A big thank-you to Rick Stevens for all his contributions. Rick is stepping off the committee after a 2 year stint. Rick spent many years as club president and so has been a wealth of knowledge. I would also like to acknowledge Miles Lambourne and his team at Business Works who still oversee and prepare the annual accounts a s well as attending to the GST etc. This is all non-charged and the club is very grateful. Once again a big thank-you to Anna Sabiston for all her work as food officer. She continues to do an out-standing job with this role which is not without its challenges.

I would like to encourage members to put their names forward for the committee. We meet about 6 times per year and those not in Wellington participate via skype from our homes so you don’t have to travel. It is enjoyable and good to contribute.

Fingers crossed for a 2017 winter season of good snow, lots of fine weather and a lot of bookings at Tauwira. As I said last year, it is not many people that get to sleep and ski on an amazing mountain. Let’s make the most of it.

Richard Turnbull

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