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Back from the precipice

The NZ Police Snowsports Lodge in Raetihi may have had a reprieve from closure.

Since Police News ran a story in the October issue about the plight of the 30-year-old, 11-room lodge, there has been a surge of interest.

Lodge committee member Shelley Richardson reports that since the story, “we confirmed what we already believed to be true, that it has been a hidden gem”.

There have been up to 40 inquiries from people interested in the club and the lodge, “most of whom said they didn’t know it existed”.

Other people have offered donations to help keep the club running. “One person has no interest in skiing or snowboarding, but is keen to look at using it in the off-season and perhaps go mountain biking or just a cheap weekend away from the city,” Shelley says.

And there’s more good news on the lodge building. “We had a plumber/builder take a look at the roof as it was leaking. We thought we were looking down the barrel of a major repair job, but he cleaned the spouting and said it just needed a few hundred nails and a couple of boxes of beer to fix it.”

The committee is ready to breathe life back into the lodge.

Former police officer Paul Vlaanderen, a founding member of the facility, wrote to say he was sad to hear it had been struggling.

He recalled a successful court battle with the original owner after a mortgagee sale to buy the lodge. “The Police Association was very generous and loaned us the money to pay the bill and never asked for it back.

“We took over the building, but most things were stripped out of it. We went to our business contacts and managed to get donations of materials to refurbish the lodge.

“The best score was the blue carpet with the mountain motif [still in place today] from Feltex. It was quality commercial carpet headed for Mt Cook, but it had a slight flaw, so they gave the brand-new carpet to us for free. We had week after week of working bees rebuilding the lodge… most of us travelling from Auckland.

“For several years, our police ski team went to the Police International Winter Games taking out quite a few medals. The National Police Ski Champs was the main fundraiser for the year. I can also see mountain biking taking off.”

If you would like to join the Police Ski Club, email Lisa Hogan, [email protected]

The club is seeking a new custodian for the lodge, but, in the meantime, booking inquiries can be made with Jim Marsh, tel 021 949 283.

Facebook: NZ Police Snowsports Lodge

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