Love Guthega: Old (Ski) School Rules!

Here’s some #TBT for you – was this styly bunch at Guthega Australia’s best ever Ski School crew?

You can argue about that, but they were certainly the best value back in the day, when NSW still had 6 ski areas. The onesies were pretty cool too!

Guthega lift and lesson pricing was even cheaper than Mt Selwyn, and they included a FREE shuttle bus from Jindy to Guthega so you didn’t have to tackle sthe road. In their last independent season, 1990, Guthega offered a family day pass for $90 including 2 adults and as many school attending kids as you had.  If the kids were under 10 it was only $78. The regular day pass was $38, and that included a FREE shuttle from Jindabyne!

That compared to Perisher and Thredbo’s $46, Blue Cow $48 with Skitube (only way to get there) and Selwyn $35.

Then in 1991 it was $44 for the new Blue Cow Guthega vs $49 at Thredbo and Perisher.

Guthega Ski School .. How good are those onesies? © Donna Jowett-Poulos

Among the great crew up there was Con Poulos as Ski School Supervisor, who supplied some powder tips for my Canberra times ski columns. Reading it again 32 winters later it’s still all true, although fat skis have made things a lot easier in the meantime.

Donna Jowett-Poulos was kind enough to dig up some classic photos and and some anecdotes on the days when Guthega was a complete, albeit small, ski resort in its own right, not just a far flung outpost of the Vail Resorts empire. Of all the places you can Epic Pass in these days, a circuit or several at Guthega rank with anywhere else in our book.

Advice that spans the decades from Con .. and if this season kicks on like 1990 worth taking on board!

Guthega had a little team of just 13 instructors – Nick Cowap was the Director, Con the Supervisor, and I ran the office and taught privates. We all fitted in the ski school troopy, doing loads of mad drives through the Link Rd from Smiggs to Guthega – snow cresting over the bonnet. It was the most hairy, icy road ever. We were running the ski school with no budget. But we turned a brilliant profit from a negative start!

Early Bird Private lessons started with us. I could sell our cheaper instructors off at 8.30am for beginner privates to lodge guests.

Con Poulos © Donna Jowett-Poulos

I remember working really hard to get group bookings to come up there,  then when we finally get one the chair breaks down. No problems! Throw ropes off the back of the Kasboehrer. That was an adventure for first timers to get dragged up the road.

Or the Kasboehrer being sent by Karl Guenter over the dam wall to rescue a lost/injured skier, with Guthega CEO Dale yelling on the radio that he would sack him.

Karl was the best natural snow farmer ever. He just caught everything that came off the Main Range in the fences and then groomed it in.

Or he would take the truck to Smiggs car park and collect snow.

Once Brett Leask lost it on the t-bar track and put the skidoo straight through the window of the Burning Log. An hour later there was a ‘Skidoo Drive Thru’ sign in place

Another time boss Dale – who had no snow experience – took his skidoo over to Blue Cow, and then he’s asking Barry on the radio why he couldn’t get it started again.

Barry’s says, “Does the skidoo you are trying to start have a windscreen?” 

“Yes!” Dale snaps back.

“It’s not yours. Try the one parked next door..”

You couldn’t beat the magnificent mornings, snowgums glistening, beautiful first runs, great ski school races. Skiing Parachute trees down to the main road and hiking back.

We had a fantastic crew who turned their hand to whatever was needed – including the very early days of snowboarding. Con loved supervising with his hard boots on his snowboard. 

It was a magic place that is greatly under appreciated. Although perhaps these days that is not a bad thing. – DJP

Donna in the spring uniform .. © Jowett-Poulos family archives