The conditions on Mt Ruapehu can change from one extreme to another quite rapidly, reporting on the conditions is aimed to be a representation of the conditions at the time of print.
With regard to wind conditions there are many different factors, direction, speed, pressure and oscillations, that will affect the Ski Area's ability to operate different lifts. There are also the comfortable levels to which a chair will be run, revolving around such things as forecast trends, wind chill and temperature.
Our main consideration when making operational decisions regarding the weather is the safety of our customers and staff.
On Whakapapa Ski Area most of the lifts run in a North to South direction. This means a straight Southerly will blow directly down the line of most lifts which is good, and a straight Westerly will blow directly across the lift lines, which is not ideal. As a general guide we can run our lifts in Southerlies of up to 70km/h, a Southwesterly about 45km/h, and Westerly's of only 25km/h. These speeds are only guides, with wind gusts and lull periods also being taken into consideration to determine operational speeds on a daily basis.
Turoa, the lift lines run predominantly from the Southwesterly quarter. A forecast for Southwesterly winds a Turoa, generally produce very little wind. We are affected far great by wind from the Northwest through to the Southeast and can operate, as a general guide in speeds of up to 55km/h. There are many gullies that funnel the wind, increasing its strength at certain points of different chair lifts. For example, a Northwesterly wind may read 55km/h at the top of the Movenpick Chair, but reading of up to 75km/h or more are not uncommon further down the lift line.
Each day decisions are made at critical points on the mountain and lifts on each of the Ski Areas by trained staff, for whom your safety and the safety of staff is of the utmost importance.