Now, getting schooled on snow should be easier for other South Island schools.
The Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust has designed its new 36-bed Musterers Hut to be the perfect skifield classroom, while freeing up space in three other backcountry huts for other groups.
The Musterers Hut will open for thousands of youthful snow adventurers in July.
Snow Farm Trust chairman ‘‘Q’’ (Samuel) Belk said the Snow Farm hosted about 36 schools from around the South Island each year, some booking for four nights and five days.
At the end of March, Snow Farm hut bookings were already 88% booked for July and August, including more than 1000›bed nights for schools.
Mr Belk said the Snow Farm had been running out of room in its existing three huts for school groups wanting to learn about nordic skiing, alpine ecology, weather, snow dynamics, snow caving and other things.
‘‘We just couldn’t accommodate the schools as well as the demand from families and the community groups.
‘‘Teachers like it here because students get off the phone because there is no reception . . . I used to work for an outdoor school in the US, so I am very aware you want to get attention. If you want to describe, demonstrate and do, this is the perfect place to do it.’’
Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust trustee Mary Lee has been in the snow business for most of her 75 years.
She and her husband John (86) were Cardrona Valley ski-field entrepreneurs in the 1980s.
Mrs Lee credited her husband for identifying the Musterers Hut site back in the ’80s.
However, for various reasons, three other huts were built first: the 20-bed Meadow Hut, the seven-bed Bob Lee Hut and the six-bed Daisy Lee Hut.
She said her visionary husband was still keen to realise other aspects of a long-term dream for the property now held by the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust, including more summer uses and a mountain village.
The Musterers Hut has been built on a site overlooking the Tranquility wetland and Kirtle Burn, about 4.5km from the Snow Farm base, and close to both the Meadow and Bob Lee huts.
It can be divided in two by a sliding partition.
Each section is self-sufficient, with its own cooking facilities, common area and bunkrooms.
One section sleeps 12, the other 24. It can also be used as one big facility.
The roof went on last week and despite supply chain issues, building company Breen Construction was on schedule and within budget for completion in time for the ceremonial opening on July 8, Mrs Lee said.
After the Lees retired 10 years ago, they worked with the Queenstown Lakes District Council to transfer land to the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust.
The Snow Farm Trust operates the Snow Farm ski-field.
The new hut has been funded and supported by the Central Lakes Trust, the Otago Community Trust, Waiorau Nordic Ski Club members and other organisations.
Bookings for the new hut opened online last Friday.