The Swiss carpenter who built our Chalet in 1986 also built two other houses down the end of our little street. All of them are different, with great individual character. Our chalet is built of cedar and plaster, with big, macrocarpa beams, and a cedar-lined ceiling. My family, the Parkes, purchased the Chalet jointly with the Ballantyne family in 2008. My mother recalls the day the property was handed over to them by the previous owners. There were many tears on parting with the chalet. It’s a sentiment we can relate to, which is why it is still in the family!

My parents and the Ballantynes shared the house as a ski base over winter and used it as a good excuse to get together and catch up every year.

I purchased the Ballantyne family’s half of the house in 2012, so I now own it jointly with my parents. In 2014 we undertook major renovations, which were possible as my fiancee Steve Bishop, is a builder. Steve and I run a construction company based in Ohakune. We live on his family farm 10km from the township. Together we converted the internal garage into a second bedroom, put insulation in the ceilings and installed a new fireplace. We turned the laundry into a drying room, so that skiiers can be sure of dry gear in the morning.

When my family first owned the property, Ohakune had that fantastic winter buzz that it still has today, but over the last few years with the cycleways, rafting and hiking around the region, some of the locals reckon the number of summer visitors has begun to overtake winter numbers – it’s an all year round destination!

We asked Olivia what makes the Chalet special for family ski holidays. Says Olivia:

The Chalet allows pets and we have had many guests who have said how great it was to be able to bring their pooch. We used to bring our little dog Jem along for our ski holidays and over summer. He had heaps of fun playing in the snow in the village or going for walks on those closed days. When we were out skiing he would sit in front of the fire until we came home. Definitely an option that you don’t have when staying at a motel!

Having a fully equipped kitchen was great with a family. We would get up early before a ski day and make our packed lunches to take up the hill, sandwiches and that all important chocolate bar to get us through the day. In the evenings the two families would take turn about at cooking dinner. If we didn’t feel like cooking it is just a short stroll to the restaurants. Ohakune is quite compact so most holiday homes are an easy walk to the bars and eateries.

“Monopoly wars” on the closed days kept us entertained for hours, or we would lounge around watching a DVD - with plenty of comfortable seating for everyone.

Having a huge drying room with a family was a bonus - not a little cupboard with a heater in it but the real deal. No one likes putting on wet ski gear! Boots, gloves, jackets all got stored nicely away in the drying room that night, ready to go the next day.

The same goes for having a washing machine too. For extended stays not having to take a trip down to the Laundromat gives you more time with a glass of vino on the couch!

Having a free-standing property all to yourself is definitely a little luxury over ski season. Ohakune has a great night life but if you choose not to partake that evening then you know your sleep will be undisturbed!