Snow Farm manager brings wide experience

New Snow Farm manager Jo Lynch. Photo by Marjorie Cook.
New Snow Farm manager Jo Lynch. Photo by Marjorie Cook.
Newly appointed Snow Farm manager Jo Lynch (36) is no stranger to Wanaka's ski industry, coming into her position with more than 14 years' snow sports instructing experience.

Mrs Lynch expects to be teased for being a snowboarder running a cross-country outfit but is genuinely excited about the possibilities offered by her new role with the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust.

"It is the result of all these other things I have done along the way - marketing, managing people, building networks and businesses," she said.

The trust is in its first year of managing the cross-country skiing facilities founded by John and Mary Lee on the Pisa Range in the 1980s.

Last year, the Lees vested the ski area and trails in the Queenstown Lakes District Council as a recreation reserve in perpetuity, for an agreed valuation of about $2 million.

The trust also aims to foster educational and summer sports opportunities (such as mountain biking, tramping and triathlon) while continuing to develop Nordic sports and support other activities such as tobogganing, dog sledding and winter triathlon.

Mrs Lynch said she was excited by the wide and quirky range of activities already taking place on the mountain, which she felt offered "something for everybody".

"The trust will get fresh eyes looking at it, a different perspective. And we will hopefully be able to open it up. It is a community facility . . . It is about getting everyone involved," Mrs Lynch said.

Mrs Lynch was raised on a farm in Wellsford, Northland, and "chased the snow" to Wanaka when she was 19.

The move from the winterless north to the wintry south was the result of school teachers taking her skiing at Mt Ruapehu.

"We had this little team from Northland that would go off to the New Zealand champs. We were like that [Jamaican] bobsled team ... I had grown up surfing but I was hooked," Mrs Lynch said.

She spent her first year out of school studying outdoor recreation at Turangi skifield, through the Waiariki Polytechnic, before taking up a job in Cardrona Alpine Resort's rental department and training to be an instructor.

By the end of her 14 years with Cardrona, she was running the snowboard school.

"When I first started, the whole resort was being run by 110 people. By the time I left, the ski school alone was 250 people," Mrs Lynch recalled.

She has also worked as a property manager and operated her own businesses as a mortgage broker and in marketing.

Last winter, she was the Snow Park's snow sports director.

This year, she was appointed to co-ordinate marketing for the New Zealand Snow Industry Federation of retailers and wholesalers.

"I have ended up with two jobs, all on top of each other but we are balancing it," she said.

The Snow Farm aims to open on June 20, depending on snow.

Tasks for now include getting the huts ready, preparing locals' programmes and helping the trust finish the handover.

Mrs Lynch has also started recruiting and interviewing for staff. Up to five ski school instructors are required and another six in administration and rental.

The Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust is chaired by Tom Pryde, of Queenstown. The trustees are Nick Brown and John Hogg, of Wanaka, Pete Soundy and John Alexander, of Arrowtown, Mary Lee, of Cardrona and John Burridge, of Taupo.


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