While the beginner’s lifts usually open earlier, the main lifts normally open at the beginning of July and skiing continues until the end of October, or later if it has been a heavy snow season. Skiing at Christmas is a very occasional bonus.
There are two ski-fields on separate sides of Mt Ruapehu. Both are operated by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Ltd and a single pass provides access to both. Travel between them is possible, but it is not marked so it is only possible for those with a good knowledge of the area and in fine weather.
For further information on rates and snow conditions please visit www.mtruapehu.com.
Just 6km up the road from the Skotel is the Whakapapa field - the largest in New Zealand. The Skotel offers a convenient shuttle service to the base of the lifts. Being on the north side of the mountain, the weather is generally good and the temperatures moderate.
The Happy Valley area is a popular beginner’s area with two chairlifts and other tows. It’s ideal for families to introduce their children to their first skiing experience and take advantage of the skiing lessons provided by local operators. For more experienced skiers the mountain offers skiing from a range of graded runs offering spectacular scenery.
The Turoa field is about 40 minutes drive around the mountain from the Skotel. Being on the south side of the mountain it tends to be colder and more often closed due to weather conditions. The township of Ohakune, is situated at the base of the mountain road to the field and is a lively centre of evening activity in the winter season.
In the basement of the Skotel, Edge to Edge provides a complete hire service for snow sports, alpine and walking gear. You have the advantage of being kitted up the afternoon you arrive or early morning and avoiding the queues at the mountain ski hire. The shop is open from 7.30 am to 5.30pm daily with a late night Friday.
Edge to Edge has a variety of package deals. Not just beginners are catered for. The Executive range includes late model and demo gear matched to suit your style. The Select range contains anything in the new gear that stands out with that special X factor. The Women’s Specific range is not just pink with pretty flowers. It is chosen for comfort and performance.
Alpine Gear available includes touring skis, skins, ice axes, crampons, (experienced users only) showshoes, and avalanche safety kits.
Full prices and details are available at www.edgetoedge.co.nz