CSC Bunkum #1 2020 - Committee movements and Covid-19 update

May 1, 2020

Apologies for the delay getting this first Bunkum of 2020 to you, it’s been a strange year!

Firstly, a catch up on committee movements: please welcome Steve McLennan as our new club President.  I’m sure many of you will be familiar with Steve, he and his family have been very active members since 2017, and he headed the Maintenance Committee in 2019.  Thankfully he’s continuing in this role also.  Rachel Ward moves from Secretary and Treasurer to Club Captain. Kate Yeo takes up the role of Secretary and Kerry Jones joins the committee as Treasurer.  We welcome 2 new general committee members, Ella Buckley and Nick Plant.  The full committee list is here – we meet once a month from February to November.  We farewell retiring committee members Kirk Hannaford (Club Captain 2017 – 2019), Steve Roper and Mark Farrell, thanks for all your input and hard work.

We also have a new Life Member – this was awarded to Bryan Clements at last year’s AGM.  David Glenn presented a comprehensive tribute to Bryan, highlighting his long service to the club since joining in 2007.  Bryan becomes the club’s 26th Life Member, and one of only a handful who now has his name on all 3 honours boards in the lodge.  Congratulations Bryan, most deserved!

The main purpose of this Bunkum is to discuss Covid-19 and how it may affect the club in 2020.  In early April Mt Ruapehu stated that this season at Whakapapa may be significantly different from normal due to their inability to perform pre-season maintenance, among other things. Their latest official release states that they now have operational teams on the mountain.  The Bruce Rd remains closed through Alert Level 3.  We may be able to open the lodge at Alert Level 2, but with distancing restrictions that may seriously limit the number of members we can accommodate.  We have already been forced to cancel the pre-season work party.

We are quietly continuing our pre-season planning, but recognise the possibility that the mountain and/or the lodge may open in a greatly reduced manner.  This will have a major effect on the club finances.  We have fixed costs of around $40,000 a year, whether we have people in the lodge or not.  We do have a small amount of funds on hand that would normally be spent on building maintenance and future capital improvements.  By deferring maintenance and improvements we can cover some disruption to our normal operation.  This is less than ideal and obviously not sustainable.

However, we understand that many of you will also be in uncertain situations.  So, for the 2020 season, we are proposing the following:

  • Membership subscription invoices will be sent out in May
  • There will be no work party levy included in 2020 invoices – this is a reduction of $160 per senior member
  • Work party credits that were due this year will be credited to 2021 membership
  • 50% of your subscription invoice will be due by the end of May
  • The remaining 50% will be payable when the mountain opens – access to the booking system will be given at this time.
  • There will be no change to Associate memberships subs. 

We value your support and welcome any feedback on this.  If there are changes to your membership details, please let me know as soon as possible.

The club calendar contains important dates for the club and on the mountain, most of them tbc (to be confirmed) at this stage.  We will confirm these dates as and when we are able.

I hope you’re all well in your bubbles, I’ll be looking forward to enjoying some other bubbles in front of the fire as soon as is possible!

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CSC Bunkum #2 2020 - Covid-19 update

23 May 2020

We hope that all our Christie whanau are staying safe and well through these challenging times!

The government’s recent lowering to level 2 is good news for us, and of course for your families and your livelihoods. Ski fields were given confirmation that skier numbers did not need to be restricted at level 2, whilst they still need to maintain other measures.  Mt Ruapehu's latest info release is here.

The committee is closely studying these requirements, and hoping that further easing of restrictions occur soon. We are not yet in a position to announce how Christie Lodge will operate this ski season, but remain hopeful and prepared for a season that is not too severely impacted. It might still require things like reduced lodge numbers, physical distancing, different cleaning procedures.  We will announce that decision in June.  Info on the government alert level details is available here

We have unfortunately decided not to run this year’s Christiania Derby.  The uncertainty around how the mountain will operate, particularly in the early part of the season, combined with the challenge of social distancing a lodge full of post Derby party goers, make running the event unfeasible.  I believe we will be the 4th club (out of 5) to cancel their annual events. 

As outlined in April’s bunkum, one of our challenges is to fund around $40,000 yearly fixed expenses. Repeated for you below is 2020 subs information, which attempts to soften the demand on you, but still provide some necessary income for the club:

  • Membership subscription invoices will be sent out soon
  • There will be no work party levy included in 2020 invoices – this is a reduction of $160 per senior member
  • Work party credits that were due this year will be credited to 2021 membership
  • 50% of your subscription invoice will be due on receipt of your invoice.
  • The remaining 50% will be payable when we have confirmation of Whakapapa opening dates. Access to the booking system will be given on receipt of payment.
  • There will be no change to Associate memberships subs. 

We are mindful that for some this may still present a greater challenge than usual. If so, please do not hesitate to contact the committee to discuss options. We do not want to lose members because of this!

At the same time we are aware that some of you may be in a position to support the club in meeting some of its costs. We invite any help in this way, for example by:

  • Making a one-off donation
  • Life members paying a one-off “sub” this year

You are very welcome to contact the committee to make this offer or suggest other ways you can help.

Expect more updates in the next few weeks.

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CSC Bunkum #3 2020 - It's Full Steam Ahead!

4 June 2020

What a great job New Zealand has done dealing with Covid-19!  With no new cases and plunging alert levels life is returning somewhat to normal.  I’m happy to say we’re now in a position to operate a relatively normal season.

RAL have announced an opening date for Whakapapa and Turoa of July 1. As they have been signalling for the last few months, facilities will be reduced from normal – Whakapapa lifts in operation will be: Happy Valley Carpets, Sky Waka Gondola, Rangatira Express (Weekends and inclement weather days) and the Knoll T-Bar.  The Valley T may open later in the season dependent on demand.  Full details are here.
Given the reduced facilities on mountain, RAL have decided not to run any of their annual events this year. This includes all of the inter club races (most of which had already been cancelled by their respective clubs), Primary Schools weeks (NIPS), North Island Masters etc.  Their focus: “This winter for RAL is just about getting people out there and enjoying the snow”.  For more info on this, have a look at the Whakapapa Events Facebook group.

We are now also able to run the lodge at full capacity, so we are full steam ahead for the 2020 season!  The lodge will be open for business, with custodians in residence, from July 1.  We will be subject to public health guidelines related to Covid-19, more info on this closer to opening date.  And in spite of the event cancellations, we will be keeping the Christie club spirit alive. We are planning to hold a Mid-Winter Xmas Party on July 25. The Kids weekends, Ladies Few Days and Mens Few Days will all still be going ahead as originally planned.

Although we’ve been unable to run a pre-season work party, there has been a bit going on at the lodge:

  • We’ve had a team of pro roofers replace hundreds of snapped and damaged screws, washers and seals.  They’ve identified a couple of other issues which are still to be attended to.
  • Pedro has built and installed a new glove rack to replace the worn old plastic one – it looks great.  Reminder – not for jackets!!
  • Firewood for the season has been ferried up, plus a new steriliser for the kitchen - good timing!
  • Full provisions for the season have been ordered and will be going up in the next couple of weeks.

Glove rack à la Pedro

Glove rack à la Pedro

Subscription invoices have been sent to all members, with the exception of a small number of Life Members who incur no fees.  If you have not received your invoice, please contact me as soon as possible.

Thanks to members who have already made payments.  As per recent bunkums, if you’ve only paid half the invoiced amount, the remaining half is now due.  Access codes to the Booking System will be sent from Sunday June 7 to members who have paid their full subscription.  Remember - if you haven’t paid, you can’t make bookings.  Please note, the restrictions normally in place around school holidays etc. are not being applied this year.

We have a long list of members who are patiently waiting for a locker or ski rack to become available.  If you currently have access to a locker or ski rack, please ensure your subs are paid promptly to secure it for the 2020 season.

We have some new additions to the club membership:

  • Mark & Mel Van Etten, with Jesse, Will and Hudson, from Tauranga
  • Tony Hancock, with Sophie and Thomas, from Hamilton

Welcome aboard guys, we hope you have a happy time with us

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CSC Bunkum #4 2020 - Mid Winter Christmas, Mens and Ladies Few Days, Juniors Weekend

19 June 2020

Dear members and friends

We are less than 2 weeks away from Whakapapa opening, and it’s business as usual in the Christie Lodge.  The committee is very grateful to members for your strong support, with 85% of subs paid and a strong start to lodge bookings.  We’ve also been touched by a handful of generous donations - a demonstration of how much the club means to us. 

Planning is well underway for some of our traditional club events:

Mid-Winter Christmas, July 25.  Yes, it’s back, in all its glory - there will be festive food, Santa, lots of laughter and fun costumes! The aim of the Christmas Party is to get everyone together after our summer break and introduce new families to the club and clubbies. The costume theme this year is Christmas characters. We also ask that you each please bring a small $5-$10 gift for Secret Santa.  We look forward to seeing you and your costumes at the party!

Ladies’ & Men's Few Days - Bring your mates and come join us for fun skiing, snowboarding, or hiking while the kids are at school.  Yummy food, great banter and lots of laughter will be on the après ski menu.  As a bonus this year accommodation for your friends will be at "Mates Rates" for these few days of socialising and skiing. This means guests are welcome at Member rates if accompanied by a Member – see below for more info.

  • Men’s dates: Monday & Tuesday, August 3 & 4
  • Ladies' dates: Monday & Tuesday, August 17 & 18

Juniors Weekend - August 8 & 9 - This is all about the kids, children, lads, lasses, tweens and teenagers. The aim of the weekend is to help improve our junior members’ skiing, and for them to have fun with their friends and families. We will have 2 or 3 in house instructors to teach and entertain the juniors on the slopes. There will also be games in the evening which we'll be encouraging everyone to participate in.  The more children the better!

Lodge operation under Level 1 - as we all continue to keep NZ COVID-free, we stress the need to not go to the lodge if you have cold or flu-like symptoms. Please follow the Ministry of Health simple rules.  Although our normal 4-day cancellation policy applies (no refund if cancellation is within 4 days of a booking), if you need to cancel at shorter notice due to illness, you can contact the committee to ask for a credit/refund.  If you do know in advance that you cannot attend, the more notice you give, the more chance someone else can use the vacancy.

Guests at Member rates – as mentioned above, you can bring guests at member rates for Ladies and Men’s Few Days – this offer is for the Sunday to Thursday of those weeks – the nights of August 2 - 6 and 16 – 20.  Guests must be accompanied by a senior member.  Please make a separate booking for your guest, use the “Member” membership type so you get the correct rate, and remember to detail their names, and the name of the member who is hosting them.

A few things to remember please when making lodge bookings:

  • In your booking it is essential you include:
    • Names of all people being booked in
    • Ages of any juniors
    • Your estimated arrival time - this helps catering plans and allows for safety follow-up if someone is really late
  • Please alter or transfer a booking rather than cancelling wherever possible. Mistakes happen but using your booking reference number (record it when you make the booking) you can change your existing booking. Cancellations create manual work for the booking officer and refunds are not straight forward.
  • All alterations/transfers, just like cancellations, must be made prior to 96 hours of your booked bunk date. This gives fair opportunity for all users and dissuades misuse such as "weather-watching".
  • If you’re going to arrive at the lodge much later than you estimated please make a courtesy call to the lodge to give an update.  Otherwise the party leader will worry/respond unnecessarily.  Lodge number is 07-892-3829.
  • New members - If you want an escort to the lodge, ring in advance so the party leader can send a volunteer to meet you and guide you up.

Access details to the Christie Booking System have been sent to members who have paid their subs – if you haven’t received your details, please let me know asap.  Remember - if you haven’t paid your subs, you can’t make bookings!

We welcome new members Ian and Rochelle Wilson, with daughter Ella, from Papamoa, and welcome back returning member Peter Wynne-Jones from Hamilton.

Time to dust off your gear and start snow dancing -  see you soon!

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