Perched high on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, lies the ski fields of Whakapapa.
Hitting the slopes in Whakapapa is one of the most popular winter activities for "kiwi"-skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.
Whether it’s exceptional dining, ‘Middle Earth’ touring or volcano skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of reasons to spend ones ski holiday on Whakapapa ski field.
Ski Information for Whakapapa
Whakapapa ski field is located on the north-western slopes of the majestic volcano, Mount Ruapehu, in North Island.
Situated in the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, the Whakapapa ski resort is just a 5-hour drive from Auckland and Wellington.
The highest peak in the national par reaches 2,797m and the terrain is a massive 550-hectare.
Skiing in Whakapapa ski resort is undoubtedly a treat with some of the most breathtaking views.
Whakapapa ski field lies on the north side of Mount Ruapehu. Combined with Turoa ski resort, which is located on the south-western slopes of the mountain, the entire ski field of Mount Ruapehu is considered the largest in New Zealand.
Although operated by the same lift company, the ski resorts are 80-minute drive apart. A traverse option, on the other hand, is available for true experts.
Should one be so keen on visiting the "other side" by ski, the guided hike starts from Whakapapa’s T-Bar or Turoa’s High Noon chairlift. The tour leads to Ruapehu’s crater where skiers can cruise down to the other side.
Skiable Terrain in Whakapapa
The Whakapapa ski terrain is perfect for families as well as experienced skiers.
The ski season lasts from June to October and receives plenty of snow averaging 4meters annually.
The Whakapapa ski terrain is divided into two by a natural lava field. The West and the Eastside of the ski resort.
The resort has over 44 marked pistes spread over the three main skiing areas, serviced by 13 ski lifts with a capacity of 15,000 guests per hour.
The ski area is diverse and runs are generally wide-open with countless off-piste opportunities and backcountry access.
Whakapapa Skiable Terrain for Beginners
The Whakapapa ski resort offers one-third of its terrain to beginners.
Wide gentle slopes appear at the base area with two high-altitude greens for confident beginners located near the Delta Chair station.
Separated from the main skiing areas, the Happy Valley at the base of the resort is perfect for children and first-timers.
With ski lessons facility for the very young, beginner-friendly lifts such as magic carpets and cutting-edge snowmaking machines, the children will have some of the best prerequisites for learning how to ski.
After some practice at the beginner’s area, novices can then head next to the Showcase, the Rockgarden, and the Tennant’s valley slopes just above the Happy Valley.
Whakapapa Skiable Terrain for Intermediate Skiers
Intermediate skiing in Whakapapa is a delight as 50% of the resort’s skiing slopes are marked blue.
Most of the 30 groomed runs are located above the 2,000m altitude, ideal for cruisers and provides some of the best views in North Island.
Whakapapa Skiable Terrain for Experts
Advanced skiers have a chance to ski on an active volcano and explore Mt. Ruapehu’s superb off-piste terrain!
If cruising down a volcano is not enough, the demanding expert’s trails will surely get skiers’ adrenaline pumping.
Whakapapa ski field has some of the best black diamonds runs in all of New Zealand.
Thanks to the old lava flows and naturally-formed half pipes, expert skiers can spend days on the slopes and still not get enough of the diverse, powder-filled runs.
Most of the black runs are located near the Amphitheatre and the Waterfall Express.
The Pinnacles have some double diamonds black trails that are sure to test the expertise and skiing skills of some of the most experienced skiers and snowboarders.
The black runs near the West Ridge Quad are challenging and skiers get some adrenaline rush by skiing on these runs.