Anywhere snow, slopes and people are, there is a potential avalanche hazard. At Whakapapa and Turoa this hazard is managed by a team of committed avalanche professionals known as Ski Patrol. On days when there is an increased hazard, Ski Patrol and other RAL staff will be out of bed early to have the slopes ready for you as soon as possible.
The avalanche hazard is managed by the Ski Patrol within the Ski Area Boundary only, outside of this boundary the hazard is not managed at all. Ski Patrol use explosives to initiate avalanches on slopes that could be dangerous if not managed, sometimes it is unsafe for ski patrol personnel to work in these areas and for this reason these slopes will be closed until the snow stabilises itself. It is very important that everyone recognises and respects closure notices like the example here. When these are in place, it means that the terrain beyond the closure is unsafe for everyone. People riding or skiing beyond these closures place themselves and Ski Patrollers at risk if they injure themselves or require assistance in any way.
If you are involved in, see or hear of an avalanche that people may be involved with follow the plan below:
- Ensure your own SAFETY.
- Call for help – send someone else, call 111.
- Make a mental note of the location and how many people could be buried.