Everything from scenic ski trips to the summit crater to ski or snowboard traverses between Whakapapa, Turoa and Tukino. If getting to the top peak or just simply getting great turns in is more your style, we offer full day custom ski-mountaineering trips to explore some great areas within the entirety of Tongariro National Park. We also offer several Mountain Safety Council avalanche education courses throughout the duration of the season to help prepare those who would like to more safely experience the backcountry on their own.
We are based out of the Whakapapa and Turoa Ski Areas, located on Mt Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. Designated a World Heritage site, Mt Ruapehu along with its sister volcanoes Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, are highly active volcanoes that support ecosystems and whose cultural significance is unique to that of any other in the world.
For a skier or snowboarder the volcanoes of Tongariro provide exceptional skiing and riding mid winter through to spring. Mt Ruapehu's access to the higher elevations is enhanced due to the positions of multiple ski lifts into the alpine, which in turn enables us to enjoy extended ski descents in relation to the amount of hiking undertaken.
During the spring the volcanoes normally support vast seas of corn (sun softened) snow which provide endless slates of smooth, carve-able terrain. The summit of Mt Ruapehu is a surreal spot, with the steaming lake of the summit crater surrounded by ski-slopes on all sides.
We are able to guide people of all abilities, and can tailor trips to suit the needs of each group. However, we highly recommend that to get the best value from the trip, a solid, intermediate ski/board skill base (or better) is beneficial. This would mean that you are comfortable on blue rated ski runs in a variety of conditions; hardpark, soft corn and new snow. For fitness levels, we recommend that you are able to hike between 5 to 10km in rolling terrain, with a 15lb pack.
It is possible to book trips at the last minute, however, we cannot guarrantee that a guide will be available at that time, nor that a specific trip can be undertaken. We recommend booking several days in advance to secure a spot on a specific trip, longer for larger groups. Contact Whakapapa or Turoa Customer Services or simply email email@example.com for any further booking queries
The weather is best described as variable. At times, particularly in spring, long spells of fine weather can occur, providing unimpeded views of the spectacular central plateau. Often low clouds will fill the valleys leaving the Tongariro volcanoes and the snow caped Mt. Taranaki, far in the distance the only points of land in the sun. As the mountains stand so beautifully on their own they can also feel the brunt of uninterrupted weather systems, some of which can sit over the area with adverse conditions for several days at a time.
If the determination is made that the weather is unsuitable for travels outside the Ski Area on a particular day in which a trip has been booked, a full refund of trip or deposit will be issued. If a trip departs the base of the mountain and the weather unexpectedly changes causing a trip to be aborted prior to leaving the ski area, a credit will be issued to do the trip another day. Once the trip leaves the ski area boundary no refunds or credit will be issued.
We have a non-refundable $100 deposit to secure bookings. If the guides cancel the trip due to weather affecting the safety of the trip, then we will refund the deposit.
Full payments are non-refundable, unless, again the guide deems it unsafe to travel on the mountain.
All trips are lead by highly experienced ski guides and avalanche professionals who have spend several years moving about and working in avalanche prone, mountainous terrain.
Groups are kept small at a 6:1 client to guide ratio to ensure safety. All clients will be issued an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe as safety gear.
The guides have all be trained in pre-hospital emergency care and have specialised educations pertaining to avalanche hazard mitigation. This includes assessment of weather, snow stability, terrain selection, rescue and how to effectively manage groups of people and avoid accidents.
Our guides can take you down the steepest terrain you want to ski, conditions permitting. On average, we climb slopes up to 20 degrees and ski down slopes up to 30-35 degrees. Your guide will onle select terrain that suits your abilities, so if a gentle, green rated run is your cup of tea, or you are more of a black diamond adventure seeker, your needs can be met.
There are no limitations on the age of our guests. Any minors will need their parent's consent.
Based in a maritime climate, Mt Ruapehu is a mountain that sticks up into the regular weather pattern. This means that we can encounter quite varied conditions that will produce snowpack that can be firm hardpack or light and fluffy powder. On rare occasions, you will experience it all. Your guide will always seek out the best snow conditions that suit your taste and the conditions of the day. They enjoy skiing the goods too!
This is based on the orientation of the slope to the sun and prevailing weather patterns. Early in the season cold powder can be found on sheltered slopes facing mainly south east, these conditions are best accessed from the Turoa Ski Area. Mid season the sun heats up the slopes of Whakapapa producing corn snow. Late season a shift back around to the shady slopes of the southern aspects is recommended for finding ideal ski condtions.
Highly recommended is a layering system of polypro or merino wool undergarmets, followed by fleece midlayers, and then a wind & water proof outer shell. Gaining a lot of popularity these days is what is called a soft shell layer - instead of the fleece layer, a thicker jacket and/or pants that can resist wind and some light rain is worn - the shell is still needed for stronger winds or heavy precipitation. This is the preferred clothing system by many of the guides.
A pack carrying a spare warm jacket, as well as a second pair of gloves and another beanie will ensure comfort and warmth should the first set get wet. Rounding out your clothing needs is good set of googles and sunglasses, our guides recommend both to ensure you have all the tools to best enjoy your time in the backcountry.
Yes, snowboarders are welcome on all our trips. If the trip requiers that an ice axe and crampons be carried, test the crampons fit first at the hire shop, as not all types will fit on snowboard boots.
We supply the necessary gear!