Buller Ski Lifts has built Australia’s first high-speed, six-seat chairlift for the 2008 season. The new $6 million Holden Express Chairlift Express has replaced the Abom Chairlift and runs from Helicopter Flat, near the Ski School, to the top of Baldy.
The Doppelmayr lift will be able to move 3200 skiers per hour and will make the 1100m trip in less than four minutes. It is the first lift at Mt Buller to be run on 100 per cent GreenPower, helping the resort to minimise the effects of global warming and sustain the precious alpine environment.
As part of the upgrade, the Blue Bullet 2 and the Abom Triple chairlifts have been decommissioned. Plans are underway to redevelop BB2’s mid and top stations.
Buller Ski Lifts’ general manager, Laurie Blampied, said the new chairlift was further evidence of the resort’s commitment to its masterplan and its objective to modernise and consolidate the lifting system without compromising capacity.
“Mt Buller has always had the most extensive lift system in Victoria and the new Holden Express Chairlift will enable us to move skiers from the Village more quickly, meaning more time on the slopes for our guests.
"The skiing and visual amenity of Baldy has been greatly improved by removing the Blue Bullet 2 lift towers, increasing the amount of skiable terrain on this popular beginner run."
The power of green energy
Buller Ski Lifts is helping to "keep winter cool" by using green energy to power the resort's new six-seat Holden Express Chairlift.
Running the new chairlift on wind-generated power saves 326 tonnes of carbon dioxide each winter, or the equivalent of 6,526,880 black balloons.
Mt Buller is committed to fighting global warming and has signed the Keep Winter Cool Charter, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to educate visitors and staff about climate change.
The resort’s environmental mascot, Barry the mountain pygmy possum, will once again be taking a leading role in educating the resort’s staff and guests of all ages about what they can do to help preserve the alpine environment for future generations.
Guests will be able to enjoy more fresh snow on popular beginner and intermediate runs this winter after a $500,000 snowmaking upgrade.
Additional snowmaking guns have been installed on Bourke Street and Baldy as part of the Holden Chairlift development, while the snowmaking system on Little Buller Spur has been automated.
Automated snowmaking guns are 30 per cent more efficient than existing manual systems, allowing them to start as soon as conditions are suitable and stop when they are not. This means more snow can be produced more often and the quality is consistently better. They also use less power and water per cubic metre of snow produced, so are more environmentally friendly.
The resort’s $3.4 million water reuse project, which was trialled in 2007, will be fully operational this winter pumping up to 90ML of water into the snowmaking dam. The resort’s sewage treatment plant can recycle up to 2 million litres of water each day, which will increase the resort’s snowmaking capacity by 30 per cent.
$40 million in development at Buller over summer
Residential development projects completed include Altiset’s two Meribel Chalets and Hickory’s Timbuktu. Projects scheduled for completion in 2009 include Saint Buller, Panorama, Caribou, Courchevel and Stables.
Altiset has also completed renovations on the new Buller Backpackers in the Village Square, while Buller Ski Lifts has invested $4.5 million in its new Stirling House development, which will provide accommodation for 80 staff.
In other projects, the Alpine Resort Management Board has completed landscaping at the bottom of Athlete’s Walk. Heated paving has been installed between the supermarket and Mt Buller Chalet Hotel to make it safer for pedestrians, while additional stairs will ease congestion.
New stairs have also been constructed in the Horse Hill day carpark, giving visitors easier access to the Horse Hill Chairlift and free Village shuttle bus.
New toboggan facilities
Buildings have been demolished and land has been cleared to make way for a bigger and better run, which offers more excitement for tobogganists of all ages.
For the first time on Buller, the Village toboggan run will also feature a dedicated snowmaking system with two automated snowmaking guns ensuring the slope has more consistent snow coverage throughout the winter.
The Gnome Roam
The gnomes’ house, which is located on the side of the Buller Road, has long been a favourite stopping place for kids of all ages on the way up to the Mt Buller Village.
In 2008, children will be able to meet even more of Mt Buller’s little folk when they embark on the Gnome Roam – a self-guided walk around the Village that allows them to take a look at a range of different aspects of gnome life on the mountain. Families can collect a Gnome Roam handbook from the Mt Buller Post Office that includes maps, clues and sneaky facts about its gnome folk.
Using the handbook as a guide, guests can head out on the search for the resort’s little gnome friends any time of the year and discover where they may be hiding - behind rocks, up trees and various other secret locations. Once kids have completed the Gnome Roam and answered the questions in the handbook, they can head back to the Post Office and have all of their hard work rewarded with a special Gnome Roam sticker.
Burton's Learn to ride program comes to Mt Buller
Learning to snowboard has never been easier now Burton's Learn-to-ride equipment is available for hire at Buller Sports Mansfield and Central.
The snowboards have been specifically designed for beginners with bevelled edges that help to stop the board catching in the snow. This means more time on your feet and less in the snow with the aim of having beginners linking turns after the first lesson.