Mt Ruapehu is home to the north island's only two commercial ski areas, Whakapapa and Turoa, and provides a unique skiing experience in that it is an active volcano and part of a dual World Heritage Area. Both ski areas have fully sealed access roads and world class facilities, including licensed cafes, retail stores, equipment hire and ski schools. The terrain at both ski areas is varied and vast, making them suitable for all ability levels and you can access both ski areas with one lift pass.
20 mins drive from National Park Village is NZs largest, most developed ski area. Within the 600 acre boundary, there are a myriad of options that cater for beginners right through to advanced skiers out to challenge their limits. There's a dedicated beginners facility called Happy Valley families and beginners can get started while more advanced can venture out to the lift accessed backcountry called Black Magic. There are plenty of marked trails but the off piste skiing at Whakapapa is superb.
Turoa Ski Field
Turoa Ski Area on the south-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu has Australasia's longest vertical descent and NZs highest lift. Located 17km up the Mountain Road from Ohakune, Turoa has skiing terrain suitable for all levels from beginner to advanced - a 120m long carpet lift caters to beginners in Alpine Meadow while the natural terrain provides amazing big mountain riding for advanced skiers and boarders.
Image provided by Mt Ruapehu. Photographer Alex Guzman