Ski Mt Ruapehu – Your Insider NZ Holiday and Travel Guide

Surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanic mountains, desert plateau, waterfalls, rivers and dense rainforests, Ruapehu is a spectacular place to visit any time of the year. From Ohakune, you can easily access the Mt Ruapehu ski fields of Turoa and Whakapapa which is why Ohakune’s population of 1,500 swells to near 20,000 when the ski fields open in winter. And, from National Park, you can ski the Mt Ruapehu filed of Whakapapa.

The “Apres-Ski Capital” of the North Island, Ohakune, Mt Ruapehu has an abundance of cafés, restaurants and bars, infused with a great holiday atmosphere, for those who want to wine, dine and unwind.

One of the big events on the winter calendar is the Ruapehu Mountain Mardi Gras. If you love live Kiwi music and dancing into the wee hours, then this is place to be! In 2009, the Mardi Gras will be extra special as both Whakapapa and Turoa on Mt Ruapehu will be officially open, so if you have the stamina, you can ski or ride all day and party all night.

With 1800 hectares of ski-able terrain on Mt Ruapehu, Turoa and Whakapapa offer endless fun for skiers and boarders of all ability; learners and family areas, groomed runs and off-piste steeps and deeps. And you only need one lift pass to access both ski fields!

Turoa is the closest ski field to Ohakune, only 20 minutes away up Mountain Rd. With NZ’s highest vertical drop, highest ski lift, 3 off-piste areas and a 4km run guaranteed to turn your legs to jelly; strong skiers and riders will love Turoa. Yet Turoa also caters for families and freestylers with its groomed slopes, beginner area and one of the best terrain parks in NZ. It’s worth stopping by and checking out the action as some of the world’s best boarders train here in winter.

If you’re new to skiing and snowboarding or need a bit of extra practice, head to Happy Valley at Whakapapa. This purpose-built learners’ area has wide and gentle groomed slopes, its own lifts, ski hire, café and most importantly, experienced instructors who’ll get you up and going in no time. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the rest of the trails and off-piste runs that Whakapapa has to offer.

If après-ski is your style, then your first stop must be the Powderhorn at the bottom of Mountain Road. An Ohakune icon, the Powderhorn is famous for its hospitality, generous portions of mulled wine and huge steaks.

There’s plenty of accommodation in Ruapehu to suit all budgets but with the 2009 ski season getting off to an early start, it would be wise to start booking your accommodation now. For a travel experience you’ll rave about, rent a chalet or holiday home with an open fire. Imagine the fun sharing a bottle of fine wine around an open warm fire after an awesome days skiing.

Ruapehu is such a fun place in winter, you’ll leave wanting to return again. Ruapehu a winter wonderland with an abundance of cafes, restaurants and bars, looks forward to your visit.

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