Latest News


Posted on Monday, 12 September 2016

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Limited (RAL), operators of Whakapapa & Turoa Ski Areas on Mt Ruapehu, announced today that Ross Copland has been appointed as the new CEO of the company.

RAL Chair, Murray Gribben, said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of someone with Ross’ expertise and experience to take us through the next phase of business development for the company.”

Ross Copland is currently the Ski Area Manager for Coronet Peak, a position he has held for the past 4 seasons. In that time Coronet Peak has experienced sustained growth and has attracted several awards for visitor experience due to a strong focus on operational excellence and product development. Ross has also bought to that role a focus on environmental best practice achieving Qualmark Enviro Gold status and a 2014 ‘Large Business Leadership’ Green Ribbon Award.

Prior to running Coronet Peak he had a career that included roles in engineering, construction and property, most recently National Operations Manager for retail property giant Westfield in Sydney. “Ross’s impressive academic and practical background makes him ideally suited to lead the RAL team. He will have the ability to traverse both the practical and business aspects of the role,” Murray Gribben said.

Ross is a founder and director of software start-up Zero Harm Farm in Queenstown, as well as a co- founder and director for Engineers Without Borders, a charitable organisation providing engineer volunteers for various infrastructure and relief projects. His work and pro-bono experience has meant Ross has had many years of developing excellent stakeholder relationships across a broad range of interest groups.

“Ross’s experience makes him an ideal person to execute the Board’s clear aims and aspirations for our ski areas: high quality tourism products that increasingly operate year-round,” Murray Gribben said.

Dave Mazey announced his intention to retire in May of this year following 30 years of dedicated service to stewardship of the mountain and an ongoing commitment to improving the RAL offering.

“With the appointment of Ross, the Board is pleased to have Dave continuing on a consultancy basis to assist with the hand-over, complete the planning and consenting processes for some of the significant infrastructure projects scheduled for the short to medium term,” Murray Gribben said. “In addition Dave will continue to work with Ngati Rangi, Uenuku and DOC to ensure the renewal of the Turoa licence which expires in 2022, and work with Ngati Tuwharetoa, managing the relationship agreement to reflect our shared values, focusing on preserving and protecting the cultural values and environment within the Park.”

“As well as enhancing our core skiing and boarding related business a key focus for Ross will be growing the range of recreational experiences we can offer throughout winter and summer months through a combination of market development and product development, and upgrading mountain infrastructure.

RAL has significant upgrade projects underway which include: the consenting and installation of three new lifts at Whakapapa, a quad chairlift to replace the Waterfall T Bar; gondola out of the base area; an express chairlift to replace the Valley and Knoll Ridge T Bars; plus, at Turoa the upgrade of the Movenpick Chairlift to an express lift. These new lift projects will be supported with investment in increased snowmaking capacity; and new chalet buildings on the upper slopes of both ski areas. “The Board is confident that Ross will make a significant contribution to our business and the tourism industry in our region. We look forward to him enhancing Ruapehu’s environmental credentials and our customer experience, as well as utilising his engineering and operations management experience to his new role.

“The company is in excellent shape with the Board and management make up reflecting our development and tourism focus. We look forward to making our aspirations a reality,” Murray Gribben said.

Ross and Rachel, with their two young children, will be moving to live in the central North Island following Ross’s start in the CEO role, which will be on 7th November. 

Our Sponsors: