Ever wondered how some of the runs at Mt Hotham got their names? Some were titled in memory of notable people in the resort’s history, others were named by or after early Hotham skiers, be it memorable or not, and then there are those that got their name due to events that were held on that slope. Many names changed during Hotham’s initial development but today there are 100 runs officially listed on the mountain’s trail maps. We recently did some research to see how 10 Hotham runs got their name.
What is now Beachamps under the Road Runner chair was a favourite slope of Len Beauchamp, a well-known pre-war Hotham skier.
Blue Ribbon was first established as an alternative to one of the first runs in the Blue Ribbon area, Varsity Course (now Varsity Drag). Blue Ribbon got its name as it was first marked out with blue crepe paper cut into strips and tied on bushes.
The Boondoo Ski Lodge was built in 1950 on a ledge overlooking Hogg’s Back. Its name was given because in certain seasons skiers could find their way onto the roof of the building. Boondoo was an army expression meaning out in the never-never.
If you know Hotham you’ll know Brockhoff and Joyce Brockhoff Hut. Both were named in honour of the woman by the same name following her death in 1947. Joyce Brockhoff was a skilled skier who helped and influenced many others who shared her passion. The location of the Brockhoff run, was Joyce’s favourite area to ski.
Tom Keogh was a long-time member of the Alpine Club who generated the name Keogh’s Bash when he broke a ski attempting the slope in 1950.
Mary Wallace won three National Combined titles as well as several Victoria titles before and after World War II. However, like Tom Keogh her most enduring claim to fame is Mary’s Slide, a name which stuck after she was seen falling just below the lip of what was an enticing new slope in Hotham’s extreme area. It’s said she slid all the way down on her back, slowly pivoting on the ice.
Some of the first ski races to be held in Victoria were at Hotham, taking place in 1932. These races were a slalom of 20 gates which started high on the side of the Hotham Summit before sweeping over the road and finishing down in the lower part of the gully that is the bottom of Heavenly Valley.
There are few more influential people in Hotham’s history than Bill Spargo. The first patrolman appointed to the Country Roads Board for the Hotham road, Spargo also started the ski fields and housed the first skiers on Hotham. Spargo Hut in the Golden Point area beyond The Orchard was built by Spargo to support his prospecting and mining activities and it seems quite fitting that the nearby and longest run on the mountain bears his name.
The Funnell was named by Tony Walch, the first resident ski instructor at Hotham. Born in Austria and trained at the famous Arlberg Ski School, Walch named The Funnel while encouraging his classes to attempt steeper slopes.
Varsity Drag run was cleared in the summer of 1931 and was originally named the Varsity Course, as it was mainly used by the Melbourne University Ski Club.
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