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Rock and Pillar Skiing

Looking beyond the Ngapuna Station and into the Rock and Pillar Range. This is where the first ski field in Otago was founded in 1932. It was home to the Otago Ski Club until the club moved to Coronet Peak in 1953.

The Rock and Pillar ski field was well used and in 1936, the first stone ski hut in New Zealand was constructed using rock and mud ‘pug’ mortar against a large, free-standing rock called a tor. All equipment, timber and roofing had to be carried by club members from the bottom hut. 

After opening in 1938 and able to hold 28 people, this soon became too small to accommodate the growing club numbers. Big Hut, a much larger building opened in 1946.

Photo on right:

S19-219b Skiing,

Photographer: H.S. Tily Collection,

Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago



North from the summit. 1934.

Photo: C R Nicolson

1959 ski season at Leaning Lodge:

Photo: David Paulin

A sledge-based ski tow was introduced in 1948 by the Otago University Ski Club to give more time skiing rather than the tiresome climb to the top. 

In 1958, the tow was moved to a new ski development at Castle Rock, 2 kilometres North of Big Hut. 

The ski field was abandoned after an avalanche buried the ski tow and the field could not continue with the rise of more commencial ski fields in Otago. 

AB 693 AB 795 Train 345 - Dunedin to Cromwell train at the Rock and Pillar station, 25 December 1948.

Photographer: Arthur Rockliff, Rockliff Collection, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, [2161]

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