Guthega

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Guthega resort had its beginnings in 1926 when the NSW Government built Pounds Creek Hut for ski touring at the junction of Spencers Creek and the Snowy River, several km upstream from the present Guthega Dam.

Nothing further happened until 1951 when the Norwegian Company, Selmer Engineering, began building Guthega Dam and Power Station, the first power station of the Snowy River Scheme. The Norwegians, whose first love was skiing, immediately formed a ski club and began competing in state and national competitions with great success. They built two big ski jumps at Guthega and in 1953 Tormod Lillejord set an Australian Jump record of 51.5 m.

Selmer Engineering finished the dam and power station in 1954 and went back to Norway taking almost all of their construction camp with them with the exception of three huts. These three huts became the start of the modern Guthega resort and were occupied in 1955 by SMA Cooma Ski Club (now Tate SC), YMCA Canberra Ski Club (now Brindabella SC) and Sydney University Ski Club.

In 1957, SMA Cooma SC built the Tate East Ridge Rope Tow on the other side of Guthega Dam. This rope tow was extended twice and became an excellent tow until it was destroyed by lightning in 1965. Also in 1957 Ski Tourers Association converted the old Pounds Creek Hut to Illawong Lodge.

YMCA Canberra SC discovered Walter Spanring, an Austrian ski instructor, in 1960 and he came to Guthega as instructor for the club. Also in 1960 YMCA Canberra SC bought Johnny Abbottsmith’s Ski Haven tow from Smiggin Holes to Guthega as a beginners tow.

Spanring built his own hut at the bottom of the beginners tow and leased both tows while continuing to instruct, beginning a 20 year involvement with the area. Spanring formed Guthega Developments with his wife Hannelore and brother-in-law and, in 1965, built the Blue Calf T-bar and the Guthega Hotel in 1966.  In 1976 Guthega Developments built the Blue Cow T-bar, the Cowpastures tow and a rope tow to replace Johnny Abbottsmiths Ski Haven beginners tow.

In 1980 Spanring sold 75% of Guthega Developments to a syndicate of Alex Pongrass, Tibor Balog and Dr Alexander Morven Dan.

  • Credit: Glover