11 July 2003
TOYOTA HILUX MOVES THREDBO SKI PATROL SLEDS
A Toyota four-wheel drive has ensured vital emergency and recovery equipment is in place at Australia’s largest ski resort.
The Thredbo Ski Patrol used a HiLux 4WD to transport rescue sleds and heavy coils of wire from Thredbo village to the Merritt’s Patrol Station which sits at an altitude of 1650 metres.
The operation took place just before the official season opening, using one of Thredbo Resort’s two HiLux 4WD single cab cab/chassis vehicles, fitted with a 3.0-litre diesel engine.
Nationally accredited Master Ski Patroller Robert Montgomery said the task of transporting the sleds was a tough test for the vehicle.
“I really thought a six-cylinder or V8 would be needed, but the HiLux did it easily, and importantly with great control at low speed to protect the sleds,” he said.
“The sleds we were transporting were worth $5000 each and were not fully assembled, which meant that were vulnerable to damage on the way up the hill.
“The conditions were extremely wet and the road - which was almost too steep to walk - was crossed by dozens of anti-erosion channels. One steep pinch included five or six anti-erosion channels, each a metre deep.
Mr Montgomery said he engaged the HiLux’s first gear in high range 4WD for the precipitous two kilometre trek.
“I had two other people in the cab and told them they would be in for a rough ride, but the HiLux made it up the incline with absolutely no problems.”
Mr Montgomery is an experienced 4WD exponent who has travelled extensively throughout Australia.
According to Thredbo Ski Patrol manager David Kuhn, the reliability of Toyota vehicles - combined with their capability - makes patrol work easier.
“Toyota has been on-board with Thredbo Ski Patrol for several years now and their vehicles have started first time, every time in all conditions, which is essential in our kind of work.”
The patrol’s LandCruiser TroopCarrier is used to transport injured skiers to the local medical centre for treatment.
Thredbo Ski Patrol was established in 1958 and has 50 active registered patrollers.
Toyota has had a long association with the Snowy Mountains.
The Toyota LandCruiser first came to prominence in Australia in the 1950s during the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
Sir Leslie Thiess of Thiess Contractors recognised the LandCruiser’s potential when his company won contracts to build tunnels, dams and roads throughout the scheme.
He secured the Australian franchise for Toyota and introduced 13 LandCruisers to the Snowy fleet, beginning a long tradition for Toyota in the region and around Australia.
Thredbo Ski Patrol manager David Kuhn, with the Toyota HiLux 4WD that the patrol used pre-season to transport rescue sleds to Merritt’s Patrol Station.