Whakapapa, on the north-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu, is the largest developed ski area in New Zealand and is a great place to travel for a holiday.

Mt Ruapehu is located in the North Island and is an active volcano with a height of 2797 metres. The mountain has two ski slopes – Whakapapa on the north-west slopes and Turoa on the south-west slopes. Lift passes for the slopes will cover both mountains.

Skiing Whakapapa

  • Whakapapa has a top elevation of 2300 metres and a vertical drop of 675 metres in a skiable area of 5.5 kilometres
  • Whakapapa has direct access to 30 individual pistes serviced by 11 ski lifts, 7 chairs and 4 t-bars
  • For skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable
  • There is 550 hectares of patrolled groomed trails which provides superb ski conditions for all levels.
  • There is a huge variety of off-piste areas which are ideal for intermediate and advanced skiers. Difficult runs and touring opportunities include The Pinnacles and Broken Leg Gully.

The Season

The Whakapapa ski season is from June to October. Snow conditions can at times be hard packed or icy, but Whakapapa is best known for great spring skiing with the odd powder day in winter.

Whakapapa Village

The village of Whakapapa sits at the foot of Mt Ruapehu. The Whakapapa village settlement is dominated by the elegant Chateau Tongariro, a large heritage hotel built in 1929.

Mt Ruapehu is located at the heart of the enormous Tongariro National Park, a dual World Heritage listed area due to its unique cultural values and scenery. So if you need a break from skiing there are other popular holiday activities including hiking, horse-riding, whitewater rafting, scenic flights, hiking, canoeing and mountaineering.

Why you should consider a ski holiday at Whakapapa?

  • Good beginners’ area in Happy Valley
  • Longest run 3.5 kilometres
  • Heli skiing
  • An hour’s drive from Taupo
  • Purpose-built creche

How about Turoa?

  • 20 minute drive from Ohakune
  • Longest run four kilometres
  • Seven main lifts
  • Great access roads and suitable for motor homes

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