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Mt Ruapehu's Ski Areas Return to Solo Operations for 2024 Season

Mt Ruapehu's Ski Areas Return to Solo Operations for 2024 Season

Published : 05-Jun-2024 01:18



New Zealand's Mt Ruapehu ski area will return to operating as two separately run ski areas – Tūroa and Whakapapa this winter.

Previously Mt Ruapehu encompassed both ski areas, run as a 'single' resort although physically separate and claimed to be New Zealand's largest ski area by combining the stats.

However, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, which had been running ski lifts for seven decades, ran into financial difficulties through the pandemic and declared bankruptcy in 2022. The two centres only opened with government cash injections announced days before the 2023 season was due to begin last winter. Government handouts have now reached $20m NZD.

This year two separate operators will be chosen to run each area, with separate lift passes. Pure Tūroa Limited has won a 10-year concession to operate the ski field near Ohakune on the country's North Island.
"The concession means the public can continue to enjoy the recreational benefits available in the Tongariro National Park - one of the most majestic places in the country - for years to come," said New Zealand's Conservation Minister Tama Potaka.

However, a new operator has not yet been found for Whakapapa, which is currently being run by Calibre Partners, a receiver company.

They opened Whakapapa's Happy Valley area last Saturday, the first in New Zealand for 2024, with a very small amount of skiing, before promptly closing as temperatures rose and rain arrived on Sunday. They're snowmaking there again now though (pictured top).

Pure Tūroa have caused some local controversy by saying some parts of the area won't open, or at least some lifts won't run this winter as they seek to get an accurate idea of revenue/expenditure to plan moving forward as a financially viable venture.

Other than the small Happy Valley area, Tūroa and Whakapapa typically start their seasons later than most southern hemisphere ski area, at the end of June or early July, however they frequently post the south's deepest snow and are usually last to close each winter south of the equator, in late October or sometimes 'Snowvember'.

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