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Craigieburn Valley is revered as a big mountain skiing experience run by an enthusiastic group of club members.
We caught up with Yanike Sophie and Dan Major, both club and committee members at Craigieburn Valley to ask about being involved.
PLEASE TELL US YOUR ROLES IN THE CRAIGIEBURN VALLEY SKI CLUB (CVSC)
Yanike: Club Member / Committee Member (Fundraising/ Club Secretary)
Dan: Club Member / Committee Member (myself and another are in charge of looking after all the buildings)
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN THE CLUB?
Yanike: Most of my flatmates I lived with in 2017 had worked at CVSC so I went along skiing Craigieburn Valley (CV) and other clubbies with them. The winter after I volunteered as ski patroller at Broken River which was amazing. Since Dan was involved with CV so much I decided to join CV the last two years.
Dan: Living in Tauranga I first came skiing to Craigieburn in 2009 with my Dad who had always talked about this small ski field he had skied at 20 years earlier. We had a great time so returned lots over the next couple of years. A few years later I returned to work for three seasons as part of the Ski Patrol team. Dad helps out as a volunteer now getting the place going pre-season and then lending a hand when needed during the season too. I now live in Christchurch with my partner Yanike and our daughter Nuna so we do our bit by helping via the committee and work parties to keep the tows spinning each year.
WHAT DOES BEING A CLUB MEMBER GENERALLY ENTAIL?
Dan: Being a club ski field we rely a huge amount on the volunteer time and skills of our members. All club members are encouraged to help out as much as possible during the off season to improve and maintain Craigieburn's facilities. The time people donate to the club is rewarded with cheaper use of the lodges and skiing over the ski season.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MEMBER?
Dan: Aside from being able to get cheaper skiing and accommodation, you are part of an awesome group of people who share the same passion for the mountains and snow. Being such a close group of people it is hard not to see familiar faces every time you load the lifts.
DO YOU HAVE ANY STANDOUT MEMORIES FROM CRAIGIEBURN VALLEY?
Yanike: The first time coming up, everything was covered in snow. Just winding your way through the beech forest that becomes more and more covered in snow. Then from the carpark up you're suddenly surrounded with all these wooden lodges, a small little village. From there I walked through the snow to the rope tows and up and up and suddenly I landed at this amazing sun-loaden lodge on the ridge looking out over the mountains with people in deck chairs having a BBQ and listening to music. The skiing wasn't great that day, but hanging out in the daylodge made up for it.
Dan: I have had some amazing days skiing at CV, the first that comes to mind was a stormy September Saturday in 2017 where it just wouldn't stop snowing. Every time you got to the top the wind was filling in the old tracks and I managed to find fresh deep chutes to ski all day. After a day like that everyone was stoked in the bar. It was great to hear the stories about good times from everyone.
WHAT WOULD YOU LET SOMEONE KNOW WHO IS COMING TO CV FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Yanike: Stay the night and come up to the day lodge, even if you have to walk up!
Dan: No matter how experienced or new to snow sports you are, there is always some skiing for you to have. It may seem intimidating at first when you pull into the carpark but with the right attitude and some help from the clubbies you'll have a great day. Also a must is to stay for at least a night and enjoy the fully catered mountain lodge. Both staff and guests dine together so it is a great way to meet some new people if it is your first time at CV.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR YOU'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO OR WANTING TO DO THIS SEASON?
Yanike: SKIING! Staying in the lodge with Dan and Nuna and eating amazing food and going for walks in the surrounded snowy beech forest and look at the stars.
Dan: SKIING!! The last two years haven't exactly been great with snow and lockdowns but we are all super excited to get the tows spinning again. I now also have a baby girl who I am really excited to introduce to the valley this winter, never too early to start skiing right.