Mount Ruapehu is an active stratovolcano that’s the highest peak on North Island and one of the largest active volcanoes in the country. All of the North Island’s ski fields are found on the slopes of the volcano, making it a unique experience for skiers and snowboarders. The area has several incredible resort areas with an abundance of skiable terrain and many resort amenities, including family-friendly ski areas and snow tubing, difficult off-piste areas and charming alpine villages. Whether you’re looking for thrills on the mountain or you want to spend time in the outdoors with the kids, find out all about Mount Ruapehu ski fields and see where you can stay to make the most of your holiday experience.
Turoa Ski Field for freestyling
Located on the western face of Mount Ruapehu, the Turoa Ski Field is one of the most popular resorts in New Zealand. The entire field boasts 500 hectares of skiable terrain and a 699-metre vertical drop with 34 runs divided between beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert areas. The upper fields offer plenty of challenges for skilled skiers and boarders, including steep drop-offs and natural pipes. Freestylers can practice skills in the progressive terrain parks that include a variety of jibs for jumps and tricks. Turoa Ski Field’s slopes are serviced by several high-speed chairlifts, a quad express and a gondola.
Whakapapa Ski Field for family fun
The Whakapapa Ski Field is a massive ski area in Mount Ruapehu with an array of amenities. Located in Tongariro National Park, the Whakapapa Ski Field has over 550 hectares of skiable terrain with 67 runs divided between beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert areas. It boasts a variety of lift for all ski areas and abilities, including the Happy Valley Carpets, Rangatira, Sky Waka and Knoll T-Bar. During the season, Whakapapa Ski Field offers night skiing on several slopes with bright floodlights. The Whakapapa Village, an alpine village near the resort, is a popular place for Mount Ruapehu accommodation and other activities, including tubing and guided crater lake walks.
Happy Valley for children and beginners
Located in the Whakapapa Ski Field, Happy Valley is a massive beginner’s area that’s dedicated to child and novice skiers and snowboarders. Separated from the rest of the ski field in its own valley, Happy Valley is one of the best places to go for a family ski trip. It’s serviced by its own cafe and hire shop, as well as 4 magic carpet lifts and a double chair lift. You’ll also find a hill that’s reserved for snow sledding if you want a break from skiing and snowboarding. You can reach Happy Valley by riding a scenic glass-enclosed elevator that travels down into the valley.
Tukino Ski Field for diverse experiences
The Tukino Ski Field is a spectacular ski field on Mount Ruapehu that is managed by the ski club, but open to the public. The field is operated by 3 ski clubs that offer amenities and accommodation at the resort, so you can stay close to the action. Both skiers and snowboarders enjoy the terrain at Tukino Ski Field, which is known for an abundance of untracked trails and few crowds. You’ll find a beginner area, an intermediate area and technical terrain for advanced skiers and boarders. For experts, there’s plenty of off-piste areas with challenges. The ski field is serviced by a variety of lifts, including a portable rope tow, a permanent rope tow and a cat skiing vehicle that can transport you to the remote areas of the mountain.
Family accommodation in Mount Ruapehu
Mount Ruapehu is a popular resort in any season, so you’re sure to find plenty of accommodation options in and around the resorts. You can choose between cosy cabins, luxury chateaus, sprawling family lodges, charming bed and breakfasts and serviced apartments, so you’ll have everything you need in one place. Much of the area’s accommodation is found in Ohakune, Whakapapa Village, Raetihi, National Park Village and Taumarunui, giving you access to the slopes and the surrounding Whanganui National Park and Tongariro National Park.