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Coronet Peak original: Les Brough on his favourite hill in 2010

One Ski in the Grave Club co-founder Les Brough has surrendered his second ski.

The 90-year-old Queenstowner, who died earlier this month, was renowned as one of local ski area Coronet Peak’s legends.

He skied Coronet from when it opened in 1947 till just three years ago.

Ski area manager Nigel Kerr says he’s heard Les even flew with Mount Cook company boss Sir Henry Wigley around the Wakatipu Basin when he was looking where to site the skifield.

In the ’60s, Les and his late twin brother Doug, who were both builders, helped install Coronet’s double chairlift.

The brothers also instructed on the hill.

In ’93, Les co-founded Coronet’s One Ski in the Grave Club for over-55-year-olds which includes members from around the world, many personally recruited by Les.

He was also one of the skifield’s original volunteer ambassadors, showing people around the mountain including a run named after him, Brough’s Lane.

Les was also a successful ski racer.

In 1959, he won the New Zealand cross-country skiing title, which was considered the toughest race on the ski racing calendar.

And he also regularly won gold medals in the NZ Ski Masters held annually on Coronet.

Fellow ambassador Arrowtowner Digs Hargreaves says Les was “a lovely man, an absolute gentleman”.

He also recalls him as a keen mountain man.

“For years he still tramped in the mountains and up [Mount] Earnslaw and things like that, it was all a piece of cake to him, I think.”

Les was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in the ’90s for his service to search and rescue, skiing and building backcountry huts.

He’s survived by his wife Judy and sons Julian and Phillip.

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