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A favourite local and visitor meeting place at Aoraki Mt Cook has been badly damaged by a violent storm cell that hit the region last night. A ferocious wind gust blew in the picture windows which frame the view of New Zealand’s highest mountain, severely damaging the roof of the much loved Chamois Bar (pronounced Shammie).
Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge manager Justin Winter says the wind was absolutely phenomenal.
“There were winds gusting up to 180 km that caused the windows to flex and timber to creak ominously in the minutes prior to the bar frontage caving in. Everyone had been moved away from the windows so there were no injuries. After the cave in we evacuated guests and staff from the bar and the accommodation wing into the main foyer which was sheltered from any danger. We then moved our 20 guests up to the Hermitage for the night.”
“The damage we woke up to this morning was indescribable. Aside from the obvious cave in, water damage throughout and just a huge mess everywhere.”
While the accommodation wing of the Lodge was undamaged, it will remain closed until the common areas can be repaired.
“Guests booked into the Lodge will be accommodated elsewhere at Mt Cook. We’re working now to sort out their arrangements and make sure everyone gets a great place to stay. Our next priority is to work on the clean up and ensure repairs are finished in time for the busy season which is about to get underway.”
Builders and assessors are at Aoraki Mt Cook today to assess damage. Mr Winter says it will probably be 48 hours before the assessment is complete but says everyone is committed to getting repaired and back to business as quickly as possible.
The Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge opened last year on October 1 following an extensive refurbishment of an existing lodge and The Chamois Bar and Grill.