Decisions, decisions

July 4

IDEAS ARISE WHEN MATES ARE PASSING WHISKY AROUND LATE AT NIGHT IN A MOUNTAIN HUT. SOME CAN LEAD TO BAD DECISIONS. THIS IS THE STORY OF AN ALCOHOL-FUELLED BAD DECISION THAT IS ALSO A GOOD IDEA.

The bad decision belonged to Will and Emily Murray, who own Glenmore Station. Glenmore is a high-country station wedged between Lake Tekapo and the towering peaks of the Gamack Range. With more snow cover than grass in the winter months, the Murrays have found a way to make use of their remote mountain terrain. They operate three huts catering for skiers: Devil’s Daughter, Lady Emily Hut and Falcon’s Nest Hut. The huts can take up to eight or ten people each and are booked solid every winter.

Being avid skiers themselves, and appreciating a drop of whisky now and then, it was only natural that one evening a few years ago, Will and Emily found themselves at one of their huts enjoying a jovial evening with friends. At some point, a well-lubricated idea was mooted: The pass leading over to Falcon’s Nest would be an awesome location for a small shelter. And not just any shelter. No. At this shelter you could have your very own bottle of whisky waiting for you. According to Will, the thought was if you had one drink, you would probably have one or two more. In the Southern Alps, at almost 2000 metres elevation, in winter, that would clearly be a bad decision. But a good idea. From these foggy beginnings, Bad Decision Shelter was conceived.

Finished in 2020, Bad Decision Shelter has worked out pretty much as envisioned. Skiers can order a bottle from Whisky Galore in Christchurch and request it gets sent in on the June “Whisky Run”, their yearly helicopter resupply. They will put a sticker on the bottle with your name on it. In the shelter, there is a shelf for 100 bottles, which is nearly full.

At two days’ uphill travel from the road, some skiers never make it to their stash, but there is always next year, and the whisky only gets better. Others leave what they can’t finish for the next visitors. It is an honour system, but Will makes sure there is always a complimentary bottle on hand just in case. It is an emergency shelter after all.

WHITNEY THURLOW

ALL PHOTOS: JASE BLAIR,
EXCEPT PAGE 71, PHOTO SUPPLIED.


Join us…

Delivering a unique reading experience, 1964: mountain culture / aotearoa works with more than thirty artists, including photographers, writers, woodworkers, welders, creatives and makers for each issue. We advocate for and support Aotearoa’s artists.