CSC Bunkum #1 2023 - Dates, Stain-the lodge work party

March 6 2023

Welcome to 2023, what a year it's been so far. I hope none of you have been too badly affected by weather events. My thoughts have been with those that have...

The committee met last week for the 2023 season planning meeting. There has been some uncertainty around RAL's operation, but last week they announced the release of season passes for 2023. So we have decided to take an optimistic approach and plan for a normal season. Some important dates on the club calendar:

Provisions Work Party: 15-16 Apr TBC
Pre-season cleanup Work Party: 24-25 June
Mid-winter Xmas - TBC
Juniors Weekend - TBC
Men's Few Days: 14 & 15 Aug
Ladies Few Days: 28 & 29 Aug
Christiania Derby: TBA
Club races: Sept 23
End of season Work Party: 18-19 Nov
AGM: Nov 23

In addition to the work parties above, we're planning to stain the lodge on the weekend of March 18 & 19. This is an overdue and important piece of work. We're looking for a handful of volunteers who know how to wield a paintbrush and aren't afraid of getting stuck in for a couple of days. Backup weekends will be Mar 25-26 and Apr 1-2. If you're available on any of these weekends, and keen to help, please let me know - It will of course take care of your membership work party levy, so save you $190 on this year's subs. Due to the nature of work, unfortunately it's not a suitable weekend for Juniors.

The Provisions Work Party is tentatively scheduled for April 15 & 16 and is dependent on helicopter availability. I'll confirm this date as soon as possible.


CSC Bunkum #2 2023 - work parties and subs

18 May 2023

As winter approaches it looks like "... a deal is close to being settled on who will be taking over Ruapehu ski fields." A bit short on detail but we're confident that Whakapapa will open in some form and, as I've said previously, we're planning for a normal season.

There's been a flurry of activity at the lodge over the past couple of months. Most of the lodge has been re stained, the dining room parquet floor has been repaired, cleaned, sanded and sealed; provisions and firewood have been helicoptered up and stored, and a bunch of miscellaneous maintenance tasks have been completed. After one last cleanup weekend (see below) we'll be ready to roll! A huge thanks to Steve McLennan and Mark Young for driving this pre-season work along, and doing a fair whack of it! Thanks also to Kerry Jones, Mark Farrell, Bart van der Bijl, Michael Lamusse, Phil Lawton, Keith Holmes, Sean Young, Andrew MacDonald, Nick Plant, Andrew and Charlie Hart, and Pedro Smith for getting stuck in and helping out - we appreciate your commitment to the club and lodge.

The pre-season cleaning work party will run on June 24-25. After summer, and the recent inside work, the lodge is in need of a comprehensive top to bottom clean. Juniors welcome! Please let me know if you'd like to help out - attendance exempts you from the Work Party levy in your annual subs – a saving of $190 per Senior member.

Subscription invoices will be prepared and sent before the end of May. If you think your membership status has or will change, please let me know asap - this saves me a lot of time!

Remember, last year we introduced a Tertiary membership category, for Juniors who have become Seniors (i.e. are now 18+) and are in full-time tertiary education. Tertiary members pay a $0 annual sub but are subject to the standard work party levy, which will be waived if they attend a work party. If you think this may apply to someone in your family, please let me know asap to have their membership updated.

We're in the unusual situation this year of holding a pre-season work party after subs have been invoiced. Anyone attending the June 24-25 work party will have their work party levy refunded.

Due to the uncertainty of on mountain events and ski programs this year we have decided there will be no priority booking period, and we won't enforce the normal school holiday booking restrictions. The booking system will open mid June, date to be confirmed in a future Bunkum.

Time to start dusting off the gear and thinking about the season ahead - I'm looking forward to it!


CSC Bunkum - Life Pass Holders and the RSSA

5 June 2023

If you are a Mt Ruapehu Life Pass Holder and registered with the Ruapehu Skifields Stakeholders Association (RSSA) you will have seen the recent communication from RSSA Chairman Jason Platt regarding the upcoming Watershed meeting to decide the fate of Whakapapa and Turoa.  As a result of extensive work by RSSA, Life Pass Holders will now likely be the largest creditor class by both number and by value for voting.  A recent Newsroom article states: "A value has been assigned to each life pass holder, which makes them potential kingmakers in an upcoming vote on the ski fields' future."

"... your vote will be both meaningful and critical."

If you know any of any Life Pass Holders who have not been receiving the official insolvency emails from PwC, then they may not receive the voting instructions. Make sure they let PwC know their email address as soon as possible.

We encourage all members who are Life Pass Holders to engage in this process - the future of your mountain may depend on it.


CSC Bunkum #3 2023 - we're on!

2 July 2023

We had good news earlier in the week with the announcement of government support that will allow the 2023 season to proceed at Whakapapa and Turoa - phew!  It's been an interesting few weeks, and fodder for much fireside discussion, I'm sure.  

Whakapapa is now officially open and hopefully it won't be too long before there's enough snow to open the upper lifts. Season passes go on sale tomorrow and for Life Pass Holders, it's business as usual.

Subscription invoices for 2023 have been sent to all members - if you haven't received yours please contact me asap (it might be worth checking your Junk or Spam folders first - most invoices were sent June 2 - 12).  

We have a waiting list for lockers and ski racks - if you have an allocated locker or rack, please make sure your subs are paid asap to secure it for this season.

The Booking System is open!  For paid up members, you should be able to access the system using the email address your subscription notices were sent to.  Passwords have not changed, but can be reset from the logon page if forgotten.  Remember - if you haven't paid your subs, you can't make a booking!  If you have any issues accessing the system, please let me know - 

If you're making a booking, please take extra care to ensure that all required information is entered correctly – the names of all staying, ages of juniors etc, and especially your time of arrival.  Incomplete or incorrect information particularly affects the Custodians and Party Leader.  Take a moment to check your info is complete and correct before hitting the Save button.  
And if you're contacted by Jenny Muir, our bookings officer, it's important you respond promptly.  Jenny does a mountain of work behind the scenes and chasing non-responders increases her workload significantly.

Our custodians, Pedro and Dallas, aren't in residence yet - we're waiting for a suitable snow base, which can't be far away - it's been snowing for the past 5 days!  I'll communicate their start date as soon as it's confirmed.

The pre-season Cleanup Work Party was held last weekend - a big shout out to Mark and Sean Young, Danielle Rogers and Dave and Neiva Boys, Tracey Jones and Rik and Gina Fisk, and Genoveva, John, Anika and Thomas Smallfield.  I'm told you can now see your face in the kitchen floor!  Many thanks for your hard work - it's much appreciated.

We're all go for 2023, and snow is falling - I'm excited!


CSC Bunkum #4 2023 - we're open!

7 July 2023

Good news everyone - our beloved custodians, Pedro and Dallas, are in residence.  The lodge is open for business and the mountain's not far behind.  I'm hearing reports of shovels being required to get in and out of the front door!  

Keep your eye on the mountain status and we'll see you up there soon!


CSC Bunkum #5 2023 - Derby ... or not, and other event dates

26 July 2023

A message from Rachel Ward, our dedicated Club Captain:

Ruapehu is operational this year and there's a reasonable snow base for the start of the season. This El Nino weather is definitely making for a promising winter of skiing - it's currently bucketing down!  Whakapapa has had some exceptionally unique challenges in the lead up to the season but fortunately it's all go there now. YIPPEE!!!

The Christiania Derby is traditionally the first of the Interclub Races to run every season.  A lot of pre-season planning goes into Derby but with this year's uncertainty, and a lack of RAL staff and resources, unfortunately we're unable to run it this winter 🙁  It's looking like most of the other club events will go the same way. 

However, for 2023, the Clubs that usually host the Interclub Races are joining together to do one big event instead -  the Whakapapa Interclub Race on September 2.  Put the date in your calendar and book yourself into the lodge for a weekend of racing and socialising.  Mixing with the other clubs has a been a wonderful and fun tradition over the years.  Watch this space for more details!

Mens Few Days - 14 & 15 August - the Christie blokes love to drink their lockers dry and ski a few runs too. Book yourself in for some great male bonding.

Ladies Few Days - 27 to 29 August - the Club's sportiest chicks enjoy lots of mountain activities and some après-ski treats too. You can choose to ski, snowboard, read in front of the fire, go for bush or mountain walks and an escape away from home and work.

We're offering a special deal for Mens and Ladies Few Days - bring along a non-member guest and they can enjoy our amazing club and only pay the member rate of $50 per night - half price!  This is a great way to introduce friends to Christiania.  (Simply book your guests in as members but clearly note in the booking form that they're a guest)

Juniors Weekend - 9 & 10 September - it's time for another fun weekend skiing with your Christie Club mates! The aim of the weekend is to grow our junior clubbies' confidence on the snow, make friends and have lots of fun together. Fellow clubbies Ella and Hamish will be leading the weekend with games both on and off the slopes. At this stage the club is only half full and we would love to fill it up with enthusiastic junior skiers and snowboarders. If you're a new family to the club this is a great weekend to meet other club families.  

Christie Club Races - 23 September - who's our fastest clubbie? Wax your skis and get ready to race. Our annual Christie Club Races are usually fairly informal and lots of fun hanging out up the mountain together. 


CSC Bunkum #6 2023 - A sad event, Mens Few Days, Ladies Few Days, Combined race event, housekeeping

23 August 2023

It is with great sadness we acknowledge the recent passing of Linda Danen.  Linda was a positive, high energy & vibrant woman who bought amazing leadership in her many roles within the business community. Linda was Christiania Club Captain from 2007-2010.  She continued her leadership in the mountain community, becoming Ruapehu Mountain Clubs' Association President in recent years.
She was an inspiration to so many and will be sorely missed.  Our thoughts go to Reid and all the family members at this sad time.
(Jenny Muir)

Here's a message from Rachel Ward, our Club Captain:
The 2023 Christiania Derby would have been the 65th annual Derby to be held.  Derby is traditionally the first of the Interclub Ski Races to run every season at Whakapapa. A lot of pre-season planning goes into Derby but with this year's uncertainty, and a lack of RAL staff and resources, unfortunately we were unable to run it this winter 🙁 
However, for 2023, the Clubs that usually host the Interclub Races are joining together to do one big event instead - the Whakapapa Combined Club Race on Saturday September 2.  Put the date in your calendar and book yourself into the lodge for a weekend of racing and socialising. Mixing with the other clubs has a been a wonderful and fun tradition over the years.  More details on the Combined Race are available here.

Ladies Few Days (see Bunkum #5) is set to run next week, August 27 to 29.  Remember, you can bring guests at member rates for these few days, a great way to introduce friends to club life.

Here's a message from an anonymous attendee of last week's Men's Few Days:
Men's few days has now been running for about ten years, rapidly becoming a club institution - a must-do for us blokes annually. It's usually timed to follow Derby, but as Derby did not run this year, a crew of seven of us turned out. We shared great food, great refreshments, and great conversations solving many of the world's problems (but we did leave a few for the ladies to solve over Women's Few Days coming up).
I'd love to share stories with you about what actually happened but I'm bound by convention to be vague and name no names. What I can share is that we saw some of the best snow conditions on the mountain for many years. Lots of digging required, and longing for RAL to be ready "before lunch". Fantastic skiing once we got it. Like one of the committee said - "Get yourself up there – it's bloody brilliant!"
Here's a shot from MFD, looking uphill from the back of the lodge - we were digging out exits while waiting for lifts to open!

A small piece of housekeeping - while we're officially out of Covid times these days one thing to remember is, if you're sick, please don't come to the lodge.  Although we have a no-refund policy if you cancel a booking less than 96 hours before your stay, we do make exceptions for legitimate reasons such as illness or bereavement etc.  In these cases, please apply to the club committee via Jenny at  It's also important to remember that, if you're unable to make your booked stay at late notice, you must let Jenny know - she will advise the lodge and make your bunks available to the waitlist, if applicable.

Christianians - it's looking fantastic on the mountain at the moment, the lines are short, there's lots of space in the lodge.  Those that know tell me: Get your a** up there!


CSC Bunkum #7 2023 - Racing, Juniors, RAL turns 70!

30 August 2023

A big reminder about this weekend's Combined Clubs Race, one of your only chances to enjoy a race day at Whakapapa this year.  There's lots of space at the lodge - it will be a fantastic day to be up the hill.  Unfortunately, at the moment we don't have enough members entered to even field a Masters or Open team. This is a tragedy!  Please contact Rachel Ward,, if you can help remedy this and represent Christie at this year's ONLY interclub race.  More details available here.  See below for other festivities also taking place on the mountain this Saturday. 

The following weekend, Sept 9 & 10, is Juniors Weekend and, unbelievably, we still have bunks available.  The aim of Juniors' Weekend is to grow our junior clubbies' confidence on the snow, make friends and have lots of fun together. A crew of  staunch seniors will be leading the weekend with games both on and off the slopes. These weekends have been hugely enjoyed by all in the past and, if you're a new family to the club, it's a great way to meet other club families.  

Christie Club Races are scheduled for Saturday September 23.  If you're not familiar with our annual club races, it's a small and less formal event than the interclub races, open to club members only, and with the emphasis on fun and participation.  There are cups to be won!  No registration required, just turn up!

This September marks 70 years since the inception of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts – the operator of Whakapapa and Tūroa Ski Areas. From a recent RAL newsletter:  "We'd love for you to join us in commemorating the 70 year milestone on Saturday 2 September. Dress up in your vintage ski kit and enjoy late afternoon festivities in the Whakapapa plaza and at Lorenz's Bar & Café from 4-7pm. Our plan is also to roll free twilight skiing at Whakapapa from 4-6pm, and free sightseeing on the Sky Waka gondola from 4-6pm also, conditions permitting."

If you didn't buy a ski pass this year here's an offer too good to pass up.  Also to commemorate the 70 year anniversary, on Friday 1 September, and for that day only, RAL will be offering  adult weekday passes for $70 (for 70 years). Youth passes will also be discounted to $45. Passes purchased on Friday 1 September can be used on any weekday across the remainder of the 2023 season. Buy online at  This offer is available this Friday only.

If you are visiting the lodge, a couple of requests from our beloved custodians - they would love some fresh herbs from your garden if you have any to spare, and  are in need of newspapers for fire lighting, preferably broadsheet papers - not glossy magazines or inserts.


CSC Bunkum #8 2023 - End of Season, Work Party, AGM, Committee nominations

19 October 2023

The end of the season is upon us.  Although Whakapapa is officially open until Monday, we've had no bookings at the lodge for the last week, and none for the next.  Pedro and Dallas have returned home to fire up the kiln, and the lodge has moved to summer mode.  If you're planning a last minute visit over Labour Weekend, it will be at summer rates and I'm afraid you'll have to self-cater.

As always, our thanks to Pedro and Dallas for their work over the season, for keeping us well fed and comfortable - we appreciate all you do!

The End of Season Work Party is scheduled for Saturday & Sunday, November 18 & 19.  This is where we put the lodge to bed for summer - a big clean up with a few maintenance jobs thrown in.  While there's lots to do for younger members at the pre-season work party, the November work party is better suited to Seniors, or older juniors.  Remember this will credit your 2024 work party levy - $190 per senior member.  Those that haven't done a work party, please volunteer - the weekend will need at least 8 - 10 people to run.  Please register your interest with me -  

The 2023 Christiania Annual General Meeting and Prizegiving will be held on Thursday November 23 at the McMeekan Centre, Ruakura Research Centre (AgResearch) in Hamilton. (Prizes may be a bit thin on the ground this year as no events ran!)  I'll send a further email closer to the time containing links to the meeting Agenda, 2023 Financial Report, President's Report and other relevant documents, and confirming the meeting venue and times.  

The AGM is where we elect the Club Committee.  We're always looking for new faces to get involved with the running and organisation of the club - it's vital that the committee has a diverse representation of the club membership to represent your interests.  We're especially looking for a new Club Captain for next year, someone to coordinate our engagement with the on mountain events. Our previous Captain, Rachel Ward, has been acting in this role through the last couple of years and doing a great job - thanks Rachel!  If you would like more information on what's involved in this, or any committee position, feel free to contact me or one of our current committee members.  If you're seeking nomination, please complete the 2024 nomination form and send it to before November 9.