Cowra Ski Club


In August 1959, the National Park was keen to develop the Perisher Valley Ski area and had lodge sites on offer for development. A local Cowra builder was working in Cooma and had been up to Perisher to ski. On return he consulted with Cowra locals about raising some money to obtain a site and build a lodge. A meeting was arranged in Cowra, a group of initial shareholders was formed, and a £50 (pound) deposit (equivalent to $1300 in 2009) was placed on the available site.

In 1962 the Cowra Ski Club was  formed with shareholders/members procuring shares at £50 each ($1,300 in 2009).

The design plans were for a lodge of 12 beds (2 and 4 bed bunk rooms for £13,500 ($329,300 in 2010).  Construction was undertaken in 1963/64 with completion for the 1964 ski season. Members made many trips from Cowra to work on the site. In the first season of 1964 a  record snow dump occurred, and the brand new balcony overlooking the creek from the dining room collapsed under the sheer weight of the snow never to be replaced.The new lodge had only one women's and one men's bathroom and there was often a shortage of hot water.

From the start the lodge provided hearty breakfast and dinner meals able to sustain the active skier through the day. Three guests were rostered each day to assist the manager with serving meals, clean up and washing/drying. This created a good opportunity for all ages to socialise.  On blizzard days guests would stay in the lodge and make their own lunch. Children played inside and outside. Adults read, played cards, and listened to music on the record player. 

Additional memberships were offered to any interested persons from about 1967.

Major extension

Around 1989 the National Parks and Wildlife Service offered options to enlarge lodges at Perisher including adding more bedrooms. The bedrooms had to be a certain size and Cowra Ski Lodge bedrooms were too small. The club did not procure more beds but had to enlarge to comply with its current bed numbers. A decision was made to extend the lodge to achieve required accommodation standards. Additionally the club did not have the money to buy additional beds, nor did it want them.

In 1990 the new extensions ($262,000 or $438,300 in 2010) were built in time for the ski season. This included en-suite bathrooms, large bedrooms, a separate lounge area, completed upgraded commercial kitchen.  Modifications were needed to the original building to adjoin the extension and provide a new entrance. The new extension and modifications were all finished for the 1990 season.

(Geoff Davidson)