Exciting news from Manganui Ski Area, New Zealand, which announced today on social media that it will be opening for skiing tomorrow, Friday, May 12, 2023. This makes the club ski area operated by Stratford Mountain Club the first New Zealand ski area to start operations in 2023. It is great news for the ski resort, which almost did not open last season due to a lack of snow, but then managed some late-season skiing in November.
Manganui Ski Area is no stranger to extreme seasons and has a history of opening as early as May and as late as October in some years. The ski area can pivot so quickly because it is a club resort run by grassroots snowsport enthusiasts and volunteers and can operate the resort for as little as USD 732 (NZD1,200) a day.
The small resort is located on New Zealand’s north island, 45 mins from the coastal town of New Plymouth on the west coast, with the highest point, Mt Taranaki Summit, reaching an elevation of 2,518m (8,261 ft), making it New Zealand’s second highest peak on the North Island. The resort has a skiable area of 59 hectares (145 acres) serviced by three surface lifts and a t-bar. There is a natural half-pipe and miles of backcountry skiing. The resort has no snow-making facilities, but the resort has an average snowfall of 300 cm (118 inches) a year.
The Manganui Ski Area is one of New Zealand’s many ‘club resorts,’ which are still widespread in New Zealand. Though they are ‘clubs,’ they are open to the public, but they run the resort not for profit but rely on volunteers. The focus is not on comfort but authenticity; you must forego some comforts from larger resorts. To reach the resort, you must walk about 25-30min from the car park, so this is for the hardcore crowd. Mt Taranaki has no snow-making capability, so the resort may close in the middle of the season due to a lack of snow.