Mt Ruapehu Ski Area
Situated in the central North Island of New Zealand, Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park is home to two of the top ski areas in the country.
Whakapapa Ski Area
The Whakapapa Ski Area is located on the north-western slopes of Mount Ruapehu and is the largest ski area in New Zealand. It is home to Happy Valley, the premiere beginners' area in the country. This large, complete learner's area in its very own valley is far away from those faster and more experienced skiers/boarders. You will be surrounded by fellow beginners without the distraction of fast skiers speeding past. It also has its own cafe, a rental complex as well as a ski school meeting spot.
The mild slope is pleasant and long which gives you more than enough time to learn as much as possible with each run. The chairlift takes you up at a gentle pace to the top of the slope so that you can enjoy a rest and take a look around between runs. With over 30 groomed trails for intermediate skiers and snowboarders, what's not to love?
Whakapapa's volcanic terrain ensures that there is a wide amount of variety between different trails and allows skiers and boarders to take their pick based on the amount of bumps, drops, chutes, bowls or perhaps even wide runs perfect for gathering speed. There are also 24 black and black diamond runs as well as the Black Magic back country area which is accessible by lift. This ski area caters for all levels and even top experts will enjoy an amazing adrenaline rush.
Turoa Ski Area
Located on Mount Ruapehu's south-western slopes, the Turoa Ski Area is home to the longest vertical descent in Australasia and The “Highnoon Express” which is the highest lift in New Zealand. At the base of the Turoa Ski Area you will find the Alpine Meadow which is perfect for beginners. This ski area has a 120m long carpet lift which, for those who have never seen one before, somewhat resembles a conveyor belt. As you stand on this lift, it takes you on a smooth and easy ride up over the snow.
The Alpine Meadow beginners' area is conveniently located next to the Alpine Chalet. Here you will find a selection of meals, snacks, hot drinks and even cold beer for those who need a refreshing drink after tackling the slopes. For the little ones, there is also a tobogganing area that runs beside the Alpine Meadow! With something for everyone, regardless of age or skill level, it's clear to see why so many visitors come here from near and far.
Most of the intermediate terrain at Turoa is smooth and wide. What better place to master your skills and enjoy some faster runs. You can, however, find some chutes and bowls along the way if you want more excitement and a bit more of a challenge. The 12 groomed intermediate runs are all pleasantly long and several of them link up with one another so you can enjoy intermediate skiing all the way from the top of the top of the lift to the base area.
For experienced skiers, there are 25 black and black diamond runs with two superb lift-accessed back country areas. As an advanced skier or boarder, you will find plenty of variety in terms of terrain at Turoa. Some of the top features include natural half-pipes, chutes through the Organ Pipes and the lovely Solitude back country area. The wonderful wide sweeping area of the Triangle and the Glacier back country area are also huge favourites among visitors. If you enjoy steep hills, then look no further than Hamilton's Face. With so many varying natural aspects to explore, every run you enjoy is bound to be different from the next and you can really make it as exciting as you wish.