Skiing and snowboarding




Skiing and snowboarding Mt Ruapehu

At 2322m above sea level, Mt Ruapehu is the tallest of the three volcanoes in Tongariro National Park. There are two main ski areas on Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields, both run by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, so lift passes are valid on both ski fields. The ski season normally runs from mid June to the end of October.


Located on the north-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu, is Whakapapa ski field, New Zealand's biggest developed ski area, with 550 hectares (1360 acres). On a clear day, you can see stunning views of the central North Island, including Mt Ngauruhoe, which was digitally enhanced to be Mt Doom for the Lord of the Rings movies. Whakakpapa has more than 30 groomed trails catering for the beginner to off piste expert, and can be accessed by 16 lifts. Snowmaking is undertaken to 2000 metres.Skiing and snow board lessons are available for all ages and abilities.

The ski area can be divided into 3 main areas:

Happy Valley, which is a self contained beginners area, separated from the rest of the ski area. It is sheltered, and offers its own ski rental and 120 seat cafe. This gently sloping terrain is 100% covered by snowmaking.

The east side of the ski area is where the majority of the lifts and services are. It has a variety of terrain for every skiing ability. Snow boarders will also want to check out the beginner to intermediate Terrain Park as well as the Moro Halfpipe.

The wild west area has its own cafeteria, quad chairlift and T-Bar. The highlight of this area is "Black Magic", an off piste area, which is lift accessed back country skiing at its best.

Whakapapa Trail map
Whakapapa statistics



Turoa ski field is located on the southern side of the mountain, and lays claim to New Zealand's longest vertical drop at 722 metres. On a clear day, it has spectacular views, in fact, you may even be able to spot Mt Taranaki. The field has 9 lifts, more than 22 groomed trails, off-piste glacial skiing and cliff jumps. A purpose-built terrain park keeps life interesting for freestylers and boarders. From Turoa's top lift you can walk the 500 metres to the volcano's crater lake.

Turoa Trail Map
Turoa Statistics

Mt Ruapehu Links

For daily weather reports, tune in to Ski FM: Taumarunui - 89.5 FM, Taupo - 91.1FM, Ohakune - 96.6FM, National Park and Raurimu - 94.4FM, Taihape - 89.5 FM.

Directions and driving times

Driving to Whakapapa ski field

From Raurimu, head south along State Highway 4 towards National Park. At National Park, turn left onto State Highway 48 and head towards Whakapapa village and the Grand Chateau, now known as the Bayview Tongariro Chateau. Once at Whakapapa village, continue along the main road (Bruce Road) which continue for the next 8km and take you up the mountain and to Whakapapa ski field. Although the Bruce Road is sealed all the way, please take note of the current road conditions signposted at the bottom at Whakapapa village.

Normally, it will take you about 20 minutes to get to Whakapapa ski field from Haven, however, this estimate does not take into account extra time taken to put on snow chains, adverse weather conditions, or heavy road traffic on route to the ski fields.

See general map of area

Driving to Turoa ski field

Head south along State Highway 4 towards National Park, drive through National Park, then past Erua. From State Highway 4, turn left onto State Highway 49 and head towards Ohakune. Once you reach Ohakune, turn left onto Goldfinch Street, which later becomes Mangawhero Terrace, and this will take you to the other end of Ohakune. Continue along this street and it will cross a bridge and become Mountain Road. Although the 17km Mountain Road is sealed all the way, please take note of the current road conditions signposted at the bottom just after the bridge. This road will take you up the mountain to Turoa ski field.

Normally, we estimate about 45 minutes get you to Turoa ski field. However, again please note that this is an estimate only, and does not take into account extra time taken to put on snow chains, adverse weather conditions, or heavy road traffic on route to the ski fields.

See Ohakune street map

Ski and snow board hire

Although skiing and snowboarding equipment rentals are available on both the Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields at the following rates, you may wish to cut down time spent on waiting in queues, by getting your gear from other places. The following links are suggested alternatives:

Ski and snowboard hire near Whakapapa

National Park Village (5 min away):
Roy Turners Ski & Board Shop
Eivin's Ski & Board Rental
Ski-Biz Hire & Sales

Whakapapa Village (10 min away):
Edge to Edge

Ski and snowboard hire near Turoa

Ohakune (35 min away)
Junction Ski and Hire
Snow Centre - Powderhorn
Station Lodge
Ski Shed

Safety tips General safety tips for skiing and snowboarding.

ACC: For some interesting statistics about snow sport injuries as well as ways on preventing them.

Mountain Savvy: ALWAYS be prepared for cold and nasty conditions. Any time of the year it can go from clear blue sky to can't see your toes in under 30 minutes. ALWAYS be prepared. Important: sunblock, good quality eye protection (snowblindess is very painful, and surprising easy to succumb to), plenty of water, mobile phone, high energy snacks, common sense. Take care.