PRESS RELEASE: Ruapehu Alpine Lifts
Thirty-six years ago Steve McGill headed to Mt Ruapehu for a ski season – a trip that turned into a lifelong career on the mountain.
Steve may be moving on from the General Manager Whakapapa role, but he won’t be hanging up his skis. “I love this mountain, I’ve skied all around the world and it’s still one of the best. Even a lot of kiwis don’t know that – which is probably a good thing!”
Steve has mixed emotions about his departure in mid-December but he is looking forward to enjoying more skiing and the fresh air of the outdoors. “I’m not going anywhere, although I was born and bred in Tauranga this is my home now and I love it,” he says.
Times have changed dramatically since Steve started working up the mountain when Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) just ran and maintained the lifts and there were only a handful of workers, and the summer was spent grooming the tracks and trails.
“We did the hard yards hauling everything up the mountain by hand, and with no machinery to dig holes for new lift foundations it was done by rock blasting and digging by hand. Now everything is high tech, including the lifts, which are no longer just a motor and a gearbox,” Steve says.
“There’s been a lot of blood sweat and tears poured into the mountain over the years, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Over the years Steve worked his way up to General Manager at Whakapapa and credits his career success to strong leadership and inspiration from former Swiss boss Lorenz Reiser and former RAL CEO Dave Mazey.
“I’ve loved working on the mountain the people I work with are fantastic and a huge part of why I love coming to work. We call ourselves the mountain whanau, and it’s true. The local iwi are also great and I also have huge respect for the culture surrounding the mountain.”
One of the biggest positive changes Steve has seen on the mountain is the new snowmaking technology. “Some years we couldn’t even open the ski fields because there wasn’t any snow. Now with the snowmakers we can guarantee the snow will come.
“I just hope that more and more people discover how amazing Mt Ruapheu is and enjoy the mountain and the wonderful space around it.”
Ross Copland RAL CEO says, “Steve is a top kiwi bloke who is well liked on the mountain. It’s rare to see such dedication to a company these days, as Steve has shown over many years with RAL. His contribution leaves a lasting impact on Whakapapa. We wish him all the best and will begin recruitment for a replacement General Manager in the New Year.”