The history of the cross country tracks in Perisher Valley and the Nordic Shelter

Written by Sue Edmondson, April 99.
Sue was a driving force in the formation of KCros in 1995 and since then has held positions of Treasurer and President.


1966
The 5km track was developed by Kora Grunnsund and Otto Pinkas in the area to the SE of the Kosciuszko Road as this area was not suitable for alpine skiing. At a later stage the other trails were developed by volunteers with assistance from the NPWS. The sign pictured (photographed in 2002) is located near the junction of the Porcupine Link trail and the 10k trail. It was part of a 5k loop that could be Kora's trail, or may even predate it. Advice on the preparation of the trails was given over the next few years, by visiting American (Michael Brady) and Norwegian (Hilmar Viberg) experts who were visiting the Perisher and in later years the Blue Cow region. Tracks were set by the NSW Ski Association.

1980

The Nordic Shelter was built by the NSW Ski Association using $40,000 donated by skiers and matched by a $40,000 grant from the Department of Sports & Recreation. The site was selected and plans provided by the NPWS. As the site was in a wind shadow a heavy build up of snow around the building and on the roof caused much structural damage that necessitated a new roof and repairs the following summer.

1985
A franchise over the area containing the XC trails, valid until 2020, was granted to KAR by Bob Carr, the Minister for the Environment. The granting of the franchise was not well publicised and many people were unaware of it's existence.

1986

Commercial operators were able to use the tracks to give instruction in cross country skiing, but had to lodge a form with the NPWS advising them of their use.

1988

The NPWS assumed responsibility for track setting and contracted this work out.

There were four commercial operators using the area and they were advised by NPWS that they could not use the area for instruction.

Sue Edmondson wrote and distributed a leaflet concerning the banning of the commercial operators which resulted in a lot of support for the operators. The operators wrote to the NPWS protesting that there was often nowhere else to teach cross country skiing. (Smiggin Holes area is outside the franchise but was often without snow. It was not as safe an area for beginners as they often went back to the area of their lesson and some skiers had wandered along the Guthega road and got lost.) Many letters were sent to Tim Moore and Nick Greiner in the government.

1989

Sue Edmondson met with Pam Allen, Shadow Minister for the Environment. Pam Allen tabled a question in parliament, "How could an area maintained by volunteers and tracks groomed by the NPWS be franchised?" but did not get a reasonable answer. Pam Allen said that if she was Minister she could do more.

Sue Edmondson met with several top level managers of the NPWS and the KNP area and canvassed the idea of releasing the cross country area from the franchise in exchange for another area near the skifields.

NPWS agreed that the commercial operators providing XC instruction could have access to the franchised area as before.

1992

The lease expired on the Nordic Shelter but the issue of a new lease was deferred by the NPWS

1993 and 1994

Many groups and people were challenged by the franchisee for using the trails if they were with other cross country instructors.

1995

The 2.5k and 5k trails were homologated by the ISF.

Surveys showed that 10% of park entry fees were paid by cross country skiers and it was argued by the NSW Ski Association that this revenue should be available to maintain the tracks.

The Nordic Shelter was upgraded by the NSW Ski Association, NPWS and volunteers. There was still no lease provided by the NPWS but the NSW Ski Association paid an annual service fee of $500 each year (until a lease was eventually granted to the NSWSA in 1999 with an annual rent of $500 and community service charges of $1200)


9 July 1995

A meeting of concerned skiers at the Nordic Shelter in July 1995 resulted in the formation of the Kosciuszko Cross Country Skiers Association Inc. (KCros) with 105 people joining as members. The involvement of the NSW Ski Association Cross Country Committee in the franchise debate was blocked by the main committee so KCros became the only true voice of cross country skiers. KCros held a seminar in Canberra and the aims and objectives of KCros were defined. The main aims were effective lobbying and communication.

KCros held a major recruiting drive and now with more than 1300 members is recognised by the NPWS and skiing organisations as an accredited lobbying group.

Consultants and the NPWS prepared a Perisher Range XC development plan covering the area from 1997 until 2001.

1996

Members of KCros sent many letters to NPWS and Members of Parliament. KCros and the XC committee of the ski association met with the NPWS asking for:-
1. Resolution of the anomaly of the cross country trails being in the downhill franchise area.
2. 10% of gate taking to be spent on cross country facilities
3. XC representatives on a management committee for the trails.

1997

The Perisher Range Cross Country Development Plan was released for public comment. KCros and many individuals made written representations.

The contract for grooming the cross country tracks was awarded by the NPWS to Perisher Blue.

1998

The full Perisher Plan of Management was released. The Minister for Urban Affairs ordered a commission of Inquiry into the proposed Village Master Plan/EIS. Michael Stevens attended all the hearings in Sydney and Berridale and Chris Wall presented a submission on behalf of KCros.

The NPWS said that the XC Development Plan would be released when the whole plan was released and that would occur before Christmas 1998.

The NPWS granted a lease to the NSW Ski Association for the Nordic Shelter.

The Minister for Urban Affairs accepted all the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the Perisher Village Plan. The major concessions of interest to KCros were the recommendations that the number of public car parking spaces at Perisher should be maintained and that certain stakeholders should be represented on development committees.

The franchisee relaxes its opposition to other commercial cross country training organisations using the trails within the franchise area.


August 1999

The Perisher Range Cross Country Ski Development Plan was released by the NPWS. For details see the KCros summary of the plan.

September 2000

The Government announced that it had rejected the Commission of Inquiry recommendation to put Perisher development rights to open tender and was negotiating directly with Perisher Blue on the development proposal.

The NSW Ski Association Cross Country Committee releases plans to extend the Nordic Shelter.

July 2002

The NSW Ski Association was unable to obtain Public Liability cover and there was a chance that the shelter would have to remain closed. Insurance was obtained at the last minute before the season opened.