Business Scoop

Record breaking school holidays at Mt Ruapehu

Press Release – Mt Ruapehu

MT RUAPEHU 22 JULY 2018: Thanks to great snow and good weather thousands of visitors headed up Mt Ruapehu over the school holidays making it the best start to a ski season in years at New Zealands largest ski areas.MT RUAPEHU 22 JULY 2018: Thanks to great snow and good weather thousands of visitors headed up Mt Ruapehu over the school holidays making it the best start to a ski season in years at New Zealand’s largest ski areas.

During the past fortnight more than 80,000 skiers and snowboarders have enjoyed the slopes at Whakapapa and Tūroa – an increase of over 50% on 2017 numbers and it’s estimated a further 25,000 also enjoyed free snow play on and around the mountain.

Ross Copland, Chief Executive of skifield operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) says, “Thanks to heavy snowfall and snowmaking systems we had a perfect start to the winter season. We had some very busy days during school holidays that tested our systems and processes to the max. This meant longer than usual wait times for our guests so we really appreciate the patience everyone showed.

“Our booking offices in Taupo and Ohakune were so popular they ran out of rental equipment a number of times and the phones were running red hot with booking inquiries. We’re already looking at ways to be more efficient for the next holiday period and we have some technology solutions under development that will transform our booking process.”

Plenty of snow means there are lots of places for visitors to play if they are not quite ready for skiing. Kids – and adults – have been sledding and making snowmen from the golf course at Chateau Tongariro, to the base area at Tūroa since the ski season opened.

“One of our key aims is to make the mountain as accessible as possible for people from all walks of life to experience all it has to offer. And this season with such big early snowfall we have seen people arriving in their droves, many of them experiencing snow for the first time,” Ross says.

He adds that due to the best snow conditions in years the rest of the ski season is expected to be a record setter too with plenty more skiiers and snowboarders heading up the mountain over the coming months through to season end in late October.

“Mt Ruapehu only gets better as the season progresses reaching its peak in spring. The spring skiing here is second to none so we have no doubt Kiwis will come from all corners of New Zealand to experience the unique snow conditions on offer this winter.”

Whakapapa Operations Manager Steve Manunui and his team have had a busy summer upgrading 2 of the mountains Tbars and completely replacing the third.
“We’re excited to announce that the opening of the brand new Far West T-bar is on track for this coming weekend. Our contractor Doppelmayr have worked frantically over the past 5 months in appalling weather conditions to pull this off. I’m very proud of our maintenance team who took the plunge on another round of major upgrades this summer – the Tbars are running better than they have in years and the feedback has been great.”

General Manager Jono Dean couldn’t agree more, “The Far West Tbar is an iconic lift in New Zealand providing access to some of the best skiing and riding our country has to offer. Locals around here have a saying, “West is Best” and it’s hard to disagree when you’re skiing fresh powder or spring corn out on Black Magic.

“There is a big snow base out there just waiting to be explored and we’re stoked to be rolling out a fourth major lift development project in just 3 years at Whakapapa following on from the Rangatira Express, Happy Valley redevelopment and the new Delta Quad last season.”

Mt Ruapehu has the longest ski season in New Zealand with Whakapapa the first commercial ski area to open on 1 June, operating until Labour Day on 22nd October. The company is undertaking an historic $100m reinvestment programme across the two ski areas, the next major project of which is the $25m Whakapapa Gondola scheduled to open on 1 June 2019.


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