Article Index


Charles Anton, the founding President of the Ski Tourers Association (STA), was one of many to be attracted to the Main Range by Elyne Mitchell's book "Australia's Alps". He wrote an account of these ski developments in the September 1961 issue of the Ski Australia magazine. The following paragraphs are based on that article. After describing the formation of the STA, Charles Anton wrote about the building of the Lake Albina Lodge (see the First Installment of AAC Ski Heritage for photos of its construction).
In spite of great access and other difficulties, compounded by the onset of winter in mid-April, Lake Albina Lodge was able to operate in the 1951 winter. At 1990m altitude the lodge was the highest habitation in Australia. 


During Winter 1951 many parties toured from the Lodge which slept 12 persons in six 2-bunk rooms. They were able to access the steep western faces of the Kosciusko Main Range with challenging slopes for ski mountaineers as well as the ideal ski touring terrain along the ridge-tops. 
The more sheltered Mount Clarke-Northcote-Lee-Carruthers Basin, then known as the Kunama Basin, was developed for downhill skiing by building the Northcote Tow, opened in 1954 and Kunama Huette which opened in 1953. Like Albina, Kunama was equipped with all modern comforts such as electric light, running hot and cold water, flush toilets and gas cooking.
The Kunama Basin was the goal of many visitors from the Chalet Charlottes Pass and on fine days up to 100 residents and day visitors used the tow. Accommodation for four had been provided in the Northcote Tow House, which was also used by day visitors as a warming hut. The ambience of this beautiful basin during the 1954 and 1955 ski seasons was magic. There were joyous shouts of the skiers on the tow slopes, the clanking of nutcrackers over pulleys, the noise from the old tow engine and the Kunama generating plant. And then disaster. On the early morning of July 12, 1956, an avalanche from Mt. Clarke destroyed Kunama Huette and killed young Roslyn Wesche. The other huette occupants had lucky escapes from serious injury that morning.
Three weeks later the Northcote Tow House was burnt to the ground and rebuilding on the Main Range was impossible under the then recently amended Park Trust Regulations. Thus the fruits of three years of hard work were wiped out in three weeks. Main Range skiers were left with Lake Albina Lodge on the Main Range crest near Mt. Townsend and Illawong Lodge (Photo No. 9) nestling beside the Snowy River at the foot of Mt. Twynam.
Although 16 club lodges were under construction in the Victorian Alps in 1950 and none were built in the Kosciuszko Ski Fields until 1951, the early 1950's did see a gradual expansion in the available NSW ski accommodation with the development of villages in the snow at Perisher and Guthega. In 1955 Charles Anton and three other members of the Ski Tourers Association formed the syndicate which planned the Thredbo Ski Resort on the planned Alpine Way Access Track across the alps from Jindabyne to Khancoban.