Mt Ruapehu, NZ


Exploring the Ski Fields of Mount Ruapehu

Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand’s largest active volcano, provides a backdrop of astounding natural beauty. Besides being a geological wonder, it is also home to some of the country’s most exciting ski fields.

Perched high on Mount Ruapehu’s slopes are two premier ski areas: Whakapapa and Turoa. Both have a distinctive appeal, making the mountain a must-visit destination for any ski enthusiast.

Whakapapa is nestled on the western side of Mount Ruapehu and is the nation’s largest ski area. The landscape here is breathtakingly rugged, with natural lava formations creating unique skiing trails. Offering a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs, Whakapapa caters to all skill levels. For those just starting their skiing journey, Happy Valley – a dedicated beginners’ area – provides a safe and fun learning environment. As your skills progress, the expansive upper mountain unveils an exciting blend of groomed trails and off-piste skiing options.

Unique to Whakapapa is the ‘Pinnacles’ backcountry area. With expert-only terrains and chutes, this area attracts seasoned skiers seeking an adrenaline rush. To ensure safety, access to this area is monitored by ski patrol and depends on weather conditions.

On the south-western slopes of the mountain lies Turoa, boasting the country’s highest lift access and longest vertical descent. Renowned for its wide, open spaces, and spectacular views, Turoa presents a different skiing experience. The ‘Wintergarden’ area, with its gentle slopes and natural snow gardens, is perfect for beginners. For those looking for more of a challenge, the ‘Glacier’ and ‘Organ Pipes’ areas offer a mix of natural halfpipes and thrilling descents.

Turoa also has an impressive terrain park set up, the ‘Andorra Park.’ This park features a range of boxes, rails, jumps, and a halfpipe, making it a hotspot for freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

While both ski fields promise a memorable skiing experience, it’s the volcanic nature of Mount Ruapehu that sets them apart from other ski resorts. The chance to ski down an active volcano is an extraordinary one, blending adventure with the captivating beauty of the environment.
A visit to Mount Ruapehu isn’t complete without taking a moment to admire the views from the Knoll Ridge Café, situated at Whakapapa. Hailed as New Zealand’s highest café, it’s the perfect place to rest, refuel, and soak up the panoramic vistas of the Pinnacles and the Valley below.

Whether you’re an experienced skier looking to carve new paths, or a beginner hoping to make your first successful descent, Mount Ruapehu has something to offer everyone. So pack your gear, and get ready for an unforgettable ski adventure on the slopes of New Zealand’s mighty Mount Ruapehu.