Last Gunners

Wanaka Time
Wanaka 7.30 pm
Wanaka Session
Session 9

8 mins, Director: Tim Jones, USA, NZ Premiere. 

The silent hours of deep, snowy mornings at Alta Ski Area are ruptured by the reverberation of heavy artillery echoing off the surrounding granite crags. Since 1949, weapons of World War II have been an invaluable tool in combating the ever-looming threat of deadly avalanches that descend upon the town and around the ski area’s steep slopes. 

 Amid Alta’s record-breaking 903-inch season in 2022-23, the gunners of Alta’s ski patrol fired their 105mm Howitzer for the final time. It’s the end of a 75-year era where weapons of war have reliably protected Alta from destructive avalanches. Dip into the story of Alta’s avalanche artillery program from infancy to its end. These massive artillery pieces, recruited for a peaceful purpose, now face retirement as Alta presses ahead to the forefront of the latest technological advancements in avalanche mitigation.