70 Year Anniversary at Mt Ruapehu Ski Resort, New Zealand

Kiwi Brains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Lift operations at Mt Ruapehu celebrate their 70th anniversary. | Picture: supplied by Mt Ruapehu

This September marks Ruapehu Alpine Lifts’ (RAL) platinum anniversary operating Mt Ruapehu’s Whakapapa and Tūroa Ski Areas. To commemorate 70 years, on Friday, September 1, 2023, guests can nab themselves a special NZD 70 (USD 41) adult weekday pass and youth passes will be discounted to NZD 45 (USD 27). Passes purchased on Friday, September 1, 2023, can be used on any weekday across the remainder of the 2023 season.

To celebrate this milestone on the mountain, RAL is inviting guests to dress up in vintage ski gear and enjoy late afternoon festivities in the Whakapapa Plaza and at Lorenz Bar & Café from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2023. Free twilight skiing at Whakapapa and Sky Waka gondola sightseeing will be available from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Blue bird day at Mt Ruapehu this month. | Picture: Mt Ruapehu Facebook

Tūroa’s Movenpick and Parklane lifts have received exciting birthday news thanks to approval from MBIE and PWC (the Liquidators) for essential electro-mechanical upgrades this summer. These upgrade works will bring improved operating reliability back into the base areas lifts at Tūroa from winter 2024 onwards.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Chief Executive Officer, Jono Dean, says, “It’s a bittersweet occasion for RAL as 70 years marks a major milestone for the company as we prepare the business for sale in what we expect will be our last season operating on Mt Ruapehu. After three challenging years, we are now experiencing one of the best snow seasons in recent memory with Tūroa ticking over 255cm snow base while pockets of up to 8m have been found at Whakapapa.”

“Since operations began on Whakapapa Ski Area in 1953 (the first chairlift opened a year later by late Sir Edmund Hillary) followed by the acquisition of Tūroa Ski Area in 2000, it’s been an absolute privilege for RAL to operate on the maunga and welcome over 20 million guests from all over New Zealand and the world. Many of our guests and staff have a life-long connection to Mt Ruapehu, some third or fourth generation, while for many New Zealander’s Mt Ruapehu is their first snow experience – and we hope this will continue.”

Sir Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Hillary opening the No 1 Chair Lift at Mt Ruapehu in 1954. | Picture: Ruapehu Skifields Stakeholders Association Website

“Operating within the Dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park, we’ve had our share of memorable moments over 70 years, including several volcanic eruptions, being a filmset for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, to the arrival of the ultramodern Sky Waka gondola enabling year-round access for sightseers of all physical abilities, and a global pandemic. We’ve always strived to deliver New Zealand’s peak adventure and exceptional on mountain experiences and help guests feel the mana of Mt Ruapehu.”

“We would like to acknowledge our loyal following, and our incredibly hard-working team. Those who continue to swing the yeti sticks against our world-renowned ice, groom through the night to millimetre perfection, stand in bitter southerly fronts in the plazas to greet and support our manuhiri, manage our (aging) infrastructure and the technical curve balls it throws us, navigate the logistics of transporting food and drinks to 2020m above sea level, and the rest.”

“We remain positive for a new era for snow sports and tourism on the maunga and thank all our guests and supporters for sharing 70 years of magic on Mt Ruapehu with us,” concluded Jono.

To purchase a special 70-year anniversary $70 pass online, visit mtruapehu.com.

Mt Ruapehu is having a bumper season this year after a shaky start. | Picture: Mt Ruapehu Facebook

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