Whakapapa Ski Area on the north-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu is New Zealand’s largest ski area. The ski season is generally from late June to late October, depending on snow and weather conditions. The terrain at Whakapapa Skifield is divided up as 25% beginner, 50% intermediate and 25% advanced.
Whakapapa is home to New Zealand’s premiere beginners’ area, Happy Valley. It’s a big complete learner’s area in its own valley away from the worry of faster skiers/boarders putting you off. It has its own cafe, rental complex and ski school meeting area. The gentle slope is nice and long, giving you plenty of time to really get the hang of your new sport and there is a slow-moving chairlift that takes you to the top of the slope while giving your legs a rest between runs.
There are more than 30 groomed trails that intermediate skiers and boarders love. The volcanic terrain at Whakapapa gives a massive variety between trails, giving you the choice of bumps, chutes, drops, bowls or nice wide runs.
With Mt Ruapehu conveniently located right in the central North Island of New Zealand, approximately half way between Auckland and Wellington, it is easy to get to. Access to the skifield is by Bruce Road, a 2-lane, 6 km sealed road.