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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The NPWS assumed responsibility for track setting and contracted this
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.
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
NPWS agreed that the commercial operators providing
XC instruction could have access to the franchised area as before.
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.
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
Consultants and the NPWS prepared a Perisher Range XC development plan
covering the area from 1997 until 2001.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Perisher Range Cross Country Ski Development Plan was released by
the NPWS. For details see the KCros summary of the plan.
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.
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