Well good financial years usually follow good ski seasons and last year was no exception. Rangatira had a great season from a financial, membership, social and race perspective.
Currently our membership is sitting around a very healthy 550. Membership always churns and we previously had a depletion of members for a number of years with a higher level of inactive members moving on.
To remedy this the committee have been working very hard over the past few years on driving new membership and last year was very successful with the club adding over 70 new members, many being families.
A big thank you to Chris Palmer, Monique Oosterbaan and Liz Houghton Brown who have all worked very hard and all played a big part in this success. We also extend thanks to our Club Captain Trish Oosterbaan and all the other committee members who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make this such a well managed club with a great spirit and culture.
While we aim to accept another membership intake this year to lift numbers toward the 600 mark, we may also be looking at restricting numbers and implementing a wait-list this year to help ensure accommodation is still available at both lodges. However during the peak times of school holidays, mid-season weekends and when snow and weather conditions are conducive, the lodges will always be in demand. Whatever our membership numbers I would advise that you book early this year to avoid any disappointment. Liz our booking officer works very hard to make sure members bookings are accommodated and if you don’t get the dates you would like you can go onto a waitlist and there is always a very good chance you will get in on a cancellation.
From a financial perspective this success has meant that we have been able to undertake some significant maintenance and upgrades at our Ohakune Lodge as well as paying down debt at the bank. Anthony our Treasurer has done a great job and you can read more about this in our Financial report.
One of the most concerning events of the last season was undoubtedly the High Noon Express at Turoa being severely damaged by an avalanche mid-season and remaining unusable for the rest of the season. We anticipated this would have adversely affected the Ohakune lodge bookings, however to our surprise bookings remained steady. The benefit was that this undoubtedly lead to the increase usage of our Iwikau lodge almost doubling usage compared to the previous year.
While we are currently in good shape financially we can't be too complacent due to rising costs such as insurance, maintenance, levies as well as the expected sewerage system upgrade at Iwikau and the uncertainly of the weather. To help with this the committee has decided that we really need to increase our adult and senior member nightly rates from $42 to $45 per night. This has remained the same for the past 5 years and this will allow us to keep all other fees such as yearly membership subscriptions the same for quite some time to come.
As a committee we need to make sure we remain focused on what matters to our members, being financially sound and looking for opportunities. Some of the key things we will be looking at this year will be re-instating Life Membership which has been absent for many years. This is to recognise and acknowledge the sustained contribution and involvement of long standing club members and also to record the contribution for future generations.
We will be introducing a Rangatira Facebook Ride Share page as well as a Buy and Sell page. We are also investigating potential improvements to our Iwikau lodge to ensure it continues to stand the test of time and can be enjoyed by members for a long time to come.
The exciting news for this season is the new $25m Gondola at Whakapapa. It is currently on track to open in June barring any unforeseen issues and should bring a much better skiing experience to Whakapapa in the long run. The forecast is for it to handle up to 2,500 skiers per hour. Along with the other planned developments on both sides of the mountain over the next 10 years the future of skiing looks bright, which bodes well for our Club.
Lastly this is a very special year for the club as it is our 60th Anniversary. To celebrate we are holding our 60th Anniversary party at Ellerslie Racecourse Event Centre,15th June We will have an amazing video story looking at the club through the decades as well as a DJ and dancing. It’s an ideal opportunity to come along to meet all our members and find out more about the club.
I hope the upcoming season is as good as the last one and look forward to meeting all our new and old members on the slopes or at the club.