Snowed Under Down Under


Think of Australia and snow is not likely on your list, but in Perisher Valley, NSW it is a very welcome and important form of precipitation.

The Kosciuszko National Park is home to Australia’s most popular alpine-style resorts tucked in the mountains roughly midway between Sydney and Melbourne. Like any tourist destination, amenities and conveniences are valued equally to activities and scenic vistas. It is reportedly the largest ski and snow activity resort in the Southern Hemisphere.

Supporting and servicing these facilities within a national park’s setting falls to the Municipal Services Unit of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, personified by Steve Hansen supervisor of Operations and Maintenance.
Steve and his cadre of specialists ensure all municipal services are provided to the resort village including refuse collection, thoroughfare maintenance and, in a nordic region, snow clearing. Until recently this latter function had been carried out with an aging rubber tire skid steer with a standard fixed bucket.

That may be OK to keep your driveway clear, but it had proven inadequate to maintain the level of customer service Hansen is obliged to provide.

Fortunately for NSW Parks an answer was close at hand in the guise of the Takeuchi TL 240 tracked skid steer with high flow hydraulics. “We were drawn to the Takeuchi because of the very low ground pressure and excellent traction, particularly on snow. This allowed us to maneuver in and around obstacles with a noticeable increase in efficiency and a reduction in damage and rutting.”

But the prime mover is only part of the story. Not only did the TL 240 represent a superior tractor, the high flow hydraulics and universal coupler permitted the quick and easy fitting of high production attachments. In particular the Westa 650 hydraulic snow blower supplied by Stadelmanns in Bright, Victoria, and recommended by Takeuchi after successful field trials in Japan.

“The blower was the clincher for us. To Canadians, our snow problem likely doesn’t seem much, but when we get a storm we need to get it clear and let people enjoy our unique resort. The Westa/Takeuchi combination means we can quickly respond and do a neater job of clearing parking, walkways and general access to the resort,” says Steve Hansen.
Sometimes innovation in snow and ice control can be found in the most unlikely places and to most snow removal specialists, Australia would seem to be the most unlikely of all. (R.H.)

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