It’s a bluebird day and the snow on Mt Hotham is fluffy and fresh, shimmering expectantly at you in the morning light. You don’t have to be asked twice. Goggles on and a quick push down the mountain sees you cutting first tracks, spending the rest of the morning darting up and down the mountain as the sun rises overhead.
Eventually, you decide to refuel - the next best part of the day (why does food always taste better after hitting the slopes?)
You catch the Heavenly Valley chair, slide down Milky Way and as you exit onto Black Snake there you see it: The beautiful “Hoff Hut”.
This time, however, it’s not a case of smashing a home-bought muesli bar and bottle of water ...
This time you get to choose from fresh, seasonal soups and hearty stews served with warm crusty rolls, scrumptious curries and quiches with delicate, flaky pastry, washed down with barista made coffee, a fantastic wine or beer.
Yes, the Brockhoff Hut has gained a new lease on life thanks to Hotham locals and friends, Jamie Walker and Mark Simmons.
“Mark, my business partner, had the idea about eight years ago,” Jamie explained.
“I thought it would be good to do something different off the farm, so I jumped on board!”
The boys will be working the hut together this season, along with a trained barista. Patrons can expect seasonal, local produce loading up the menu with the likes of Brown Brothers and Harrietville Bakery, though their primary focus is to be as “green” as possible.
“We’re trying to be really green, so everything will be in a can and all our cups, bowls and utensils are biodegradable,” Jamie said.
“We want all recycle going in and out, so of course we’ll have can-crushers beside the rubbish bin”.
Continuing with their green business model, Jamie and Mark have ensured the renovations on the hut have used recycled materials as much as possible … well, Jamie has.
“We work really well together,” Jamie said.
“I’m the cabinet maker/ handy-man, I made the kitchen and all of that, whereas Mark is the bookworm/ paper shuffler.
“So I built the serving bench out of recycled timber from our old cattle yards from Omeo. In keeping with the hut I made some old stools as well.
“Our agreement is to simply maintain the hut. We’ve repainted and rebeaded all the windows, we’ve done a huge amount of work this year. Next year we will be tuck pointing the stone work.”
“It’s in a magnificent position. It’s a beautiful hut with a lot of character"
The Brockhoff hut was opened in 1949 for the Australian Women’s Ski Club (AWSC) in memory of Joyce Brockhoff, one of Australia’s trophy skiers during the 1930s.
The hut was designed by Geelong architects and constructed from locally quarried stone, using Bright masons. The materials were carted by the legendary Eric Johnson Gravbot and his horse team.
“I feel quite privileged to be able to take the hut on, fix it up and get it back to its former glory,” Jamie said.
“It’s in a magnificent position. It’s a beautiful hut with a lot of character. It’s quite unique in its design and the way it was built here. It’s been fantastic to take it over and pour some love back into it”.
The Brockhoff Hut served its first customers on opening weekend with huge success, though being ski-in ski-out availability is at the mercy of the Snow Gods!
The hut will open and close with the first and last lifts of the day.
Map it out for me
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