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Ski Jump competition at Guthega in the 1950's

Guthega Resort was established in the 1950's along with Perisher Valley and Smiggin Holes, when improved access to the mountains, created by the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric scheme, and the associated influx of European migrants with skiing experience, stimulated the growth of skiing in New South Wales.

Mainly because of its "out of the way" location, Guthega remained a separate small resort, operated by Guthega Developments Pty Ltd, with only a handful of club lodges, few lifts, and limited patronage from day skiers, who had to contend with more difficult road conditions than those to Smiggin Holes or Perisher Valley. Although the SMA Ski Club had installed a 213m long "nutcracker" to the East ridge of Mount Tate in 1957, it was the determination of Walter Spanring, an Austrian ski instructor engaged by the YMCA Ski Club in 1960, that led to Guthega's start as an alpine ski resort. By 1966 Walter owned and operated Guthega's two ski lifts and then proceeded to build the Guthega Alpine Hotel - followed by a further two lifts, one to Mt Blue Cow and one to the Cowpastures basin. Walter continued as sole owner of all commercial operations until late 1980 - at which time he sold 75% of the resort to a Sydney-based syndicate.

View more information on the development of Guthega

Despite Guthega’s renowned snow conditions, a lack of uphill transport until the 1980’s made it primarily a starting point for cross-country skiers accessing the main range. A single T-bar and ageing rope tow provided the only uphill transport for alpine skiers until the area was redeveloped in two stages – firstly with the addition of two lifts in 1976/7 and then with a major redevelopment from 1981-83.
1983 Playboy sponsorship

With limited uphill transport, a difficult access road and limited carparking, Guthega was home to solely private club lodges until the Guthega Alpine Hotel was built. This Hotel has remained the only commercial accommodation at Guthega for more than thirty years and enjoys spectacular views across the Snowy River to Mount Tate and the Main Range.

With increased facilities from 1981 onwards, Guthega began to host a variety of ski events, starting the Australian Freestyle Championship in 1982. Freestyle skiing was only just gaining acceptance as a discipline at that time, following its recognition as a sport by the International Ski Federation (f.i.s.) in 1979. In 1982 the Car Park chairlift was installed, which overcame the need for visitors to walk some distance uphill to the upper end of the village to reach the bottom lift, thus making the resort more appealing to day visitors.

Guthega continued to support alpine skiing, constructing three new ski runs that were homologated by the International Ski Federation with the support of Kurt Lance, that wonderful person who has given so much to skiing in Australia – two runs for slalom and one for giant slalom - allowing Guthega to hold international ski events.

Guthega also had some extraordinary marketing initiatives at the time, starting with Peter Stuyvesant's sponsorship of the 1982 Australian Freestyle Championships - back in the days when tobacco sponsorships were not so openly declaimed. Peter Aynsley, who had been involved in development of the resort since 1974, had become General Manager in 1981 and launched a series of marketing programs for the fledgling resort. JRA Australia became a major sponsor through their Range Rover brand, leading to the Range Rover Internationals - a world-circuit event utilising Guthega's new f.i.s accredited slalom and giant slalom runs.

Guthega also hosted the "Girls of the Snow Quest" in 1983 for |Playboy, culminating in a concert at the Lake Jindabyne Hotel featuring Cold Chisel - one of their last appearances before the famous "last stand" later that year.

In 1991, Guthega was purchased by the Alpine Australia Group Pty Limited, the then operator of the Blue Cow Resort. This led to the operation of two resorts becoming integrated in 1992, thus providing day access into Guthega via the Skitube alpine railway and the Blue Cow and Link Management Unit ski slopes. Guthega is now part of Perisher.