Spring skiing is ON at Mt Ruapehu right now. Resort skiing and touring around the area are fantastic at the moment and conditions should be good for several more weeks. This is the only ski resort open in the southern hemisphere right now.
Mt Ruapehu is actually New Zealand’s largest ski resort with more than 1000 hectares of in-bounds terrain between the two ski areas. The volcano can get hit by some pretty serious storms causing closures during the winter season but in spring it’s the best place in the country to be skiing.
The snow gets soft early at Whakapapa so if you plan on skiing there head up to catch the first lift. Turoa catches the sun a little later so you can head up mid morning safely and avoid the crunchiness.
Turoa has four lifts running with the Movenpick and Parklane chairs open for access only. Uploading and downloading carrying your skis is an experience in it’self!
Skiing off of the High Noon Express 6 seater is your best bet for good snow. Runs like Big Bowl and Maintrunk on the skiers right of the mountain are skiing beautifully once the snow softens.
It’s easy to think there’s not much terrain open with some lifts being closed but actually the majority of the upper mountain is open and the skiing is amazing with endless natural features to explore. The terrain park is still open with an awesome jump line. The jumps are all intermediate in size and have smooth take-offs and landings.
The backcountry possibilities around Mt Ruapehu are endless with so options many just outside the resort boundary. Touring around the solitude area on the Turoa side is especially good at the moment with perfect spring corn on a sunny day.
A crater mission should be on every backcountry skiers to-do-list. There aren’t many places in the world you can ski into the crater of an active volcano! To get there you can skin up the glacier on Whakapapa or bootpack straight up from the High Noon Express chair on Turoa.
Anyone attempting this should check the Mountain Safety Council avalanche advisory and be especially wary of wet slides in the afternoon. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the last steep portion up to the rim. The patrol at Turoa are very friendly and will be happy to give you general advice on a route and it’s safety.
Turoa has announced that it will stay open and extra two weeks until November 6th! So that’s close to 3 more weeks of skiing left. Whakapapa will close on Labour day (October 24th) as scheduled.
Right now Mt Ruapehu have some great spring deals on offer for “Snowvember”. Day lift tickets after the 25th are only $49 and if you buy your seasons pass for next year it’s only $465. You’ll not only beat the price rise but you’ll also get spring skiing this year in for free.