SNOW holidaymakers celebrating the ski season opening this weekend might want to spare a thought for a long gone timber building.
Skyline Ski Club Lodge deserves pondering, because when it opened in 1947 it was the first accommodation at Falls Creek for snow sport devotees.
“It was the start of the village, effectively, for visitors,” Falls Creek Museum curator Karen Smythe says.
“You had a lot of people come up individually and you had some stay in SEC huts, but this was the first step in coming up for weekends and holidays and eventually creating the village that people live in today.”
There was an air of secrecy surrounding the building of the lodge which occurred at the time the Kiewa hydro-electric scheme was being built.
Hydro chief HHC Williams had frozen past skiers’ plans, so six SEC workers covertly coined the lodge with one of them, chief surveyor Ray Meyer, obtaining a 99-year lease from a titles office in Melbourne.
His son John Meyer said his family lived at Bogong Village, built for the hydro scheme workers, from 1947 to 1953.
“The Skyline really broke the ice, there was a resistance to a lodge being built before then,” Mr Meyer said.
The lodge featured a kitchen, toilet, shower and two bedrooms with bunk beds.
Construction was done at night and on weekends with the name coming from one of the workers proclaiming: “This is my favorite skyline”.
With the development of the International Poma in the 1970s, the Skyline lodge, which was sited between the ski-lift’s pole one and two, was demolished.
Today, Mrs Smythe says, its location can only be determined in summer time by the distinct flat bed of land it occupied.
However, Skyline’s legacy is reflected in the 5500 rooms of accommodation which have bloomed on Falls Creek in the 70 years since.
Balcony spas, saunas and televisions in every bedroom show how lodging has gone from simple to sophisticated.
Astra Lodge, which last year was named Australia’s best boutique ski lodge, will have its latest extension unveiled as part of this weekend’s opening.
Radio character HG Nelson will emcee and former Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss will entertain guests.
Among the fanfare, the resort’s history will be remembered with funds from an auction to go towards the Falls Creek Museum.
Mrs Smythe is delighted by that move and notes the museum features picture boards telling the story of Skyline.
A commemoration of the 70th anniversary, including the possible unveiling of a plaque, will be held at Falls Creek on August 12.