Mt Ruapehu, Friday 30 June 2023: Winter is on at Mt Ruapehu! Whakapapa and Tūroa is pumped to announce that the winter season is poised for lift-off at from this Saturday, 1st July as the school holidays begin.
Day passes, Sky Waka Gondola sightseeing and sledding passes are available now to be purchased online, while season passes go on sale Monday 3rd July for a two-week period.
In exciting news for Life Pass holders, it is confirmed that their passes remain active and valid whilst Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) operates the 2023 winter season.
As temperatures continue to drop, new snowfall has landed and is looking promising over the opening weekend – timed perfectly for the start of the July school holidays, with Sky Waka and snow play open.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Chief Executive Officer, Jono Dean, says, “We’re back and ready to host an epic winter of good times on both sides of the maunga. Our teams have been diligently working on getting everything prepped and ready for opening weekend sledding and sightseeing. I’m so proud of our crew who have continued to put in the hard mahi during an extraordinary period for RAL, and we cannot wait to share the treats with all our loyal supporters, skiers, and riders later in July. Stay tuned to mtruapehu.com for current updates on lifts openings.”
“We’re thrilled with the timing of the snow’s arrival and cannot wait to welcome our manuhiri back to the maunga. It’s time to dust off the thermal undies, sharpen your edges and come support the central North Island tourism operators and communities who deserve a great winter season this year.”
“We’re also very excited to confirm for Life Pass holders that their passes remain honoured whilst RAL is in operation on Mt Ruapehu. We’re calling on Life Pass holders to bring the froth, bring their mates with them, and spend up in the cafes and retail stores to help keep the machine rolling for the season,” concluded Jono.
The Mt Ruapehu team will be progressively opening lifts and terrain on both sides of the maunga throughout July and into August as snow conditions and weather allows.
The Tūroa team are expecting to open all lifts, except for the Nga Wai Heke lift which is undergoing some last-minute maintenance and may potentially open later in the season.
About Ruapehu Alpine Lifts
The Sky Waka gondola, New Zealand’s premier gondola experience (wheelchair accessible), transports guests 1.8km up the Whakapapa side of the maunga 2020m above sea level and offers panoramic vistas out across the volcanic terrain and neighbouring mountains, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe. Skiers, boarders, and sightseers are welcomed to the architecturally awarded Knoll Ridge Chalet and highest year-round eatery in the country. The Sky Waka gondola runs daily, 10am – 4pm.
For families looking to give their kids a snow play experience, there is a snow experience zone at the top of the Sky Waka gondola which can be accessed with a sightseeing pass. Or the Whakapapa sledding zone in Happy Valley offers fun for snow-seekers of all ages. Kids need to be 8 years+ to ride their own sled unaccompanied.
Tūroa ski field is a popular winter destination with its breathtaking scenery and diverse terrain. Tūroa offers an unforgettable skiing experience and boasts an impressive vertical drop and challenging slopes, making it a haven for advanced skiers and snowboarders seeking a thrilling adventure. Its high elevation ensures reliable snow conditions throughout the season. Tūroa is also home to the country’s longest vertical descent, providing exhilarating runs for enthusiasts. The ski field offers modern facilities, including ski rental, lessons, and cozy food and beverage facilities to enjoy those much-needed breaks throughout the day.
Hit the slopes in just three hours’ drive from Hamilton, four from Wellington and five hours from Auckland, and support not only Mt Ruapehu’s 2023 snow season, but local tourism businesses, their staff and communities that bring the magic of winter alive in the central North Island.