Discover Snow

Visiting the snow for the first time will
be one of the best memories you will ever have.

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Discover Snow

Your first sight of snow is a magical experience, for some it's fulfilling a childhood dream, for others it's to find a new challenge in life and for many it's a holiday with friends or family. That moment you first touch snow, step into your skis or snowboard or ride that chairlift will be etched in your mind forever.

There's something for everyone on Mt Ruapehu - if you want to discover skiing or boarding, Mt Ruapehu offers a range of learning packages that suit all ages and abilities. We also cater to those just wanting to come and play in the snow: Tobogganing, playing in the snow and sightseeing chairlift rides are all amazing experiences. Having a coffee or lunch in a cafe halfway up the highest mountain in the North Island is pretty special too!

Located conveniently in the central North Island, Mt Ruapehu boasts two unique ski areas, Turoa and Whakapapa, and no matter what you choose to do when you get there it offers visitors the perfect winter escape.

Now planning your first trip to the snow can be a daunting experience, but we are here to help you make it as easy as possible. Take a look at our handy tips section so your trip to our winter wonderland is the best it can be.

Winter Snow Play

"You don't have to ski or board to enjoy the snow at Mt Ruapehu."

Both kids and kids-at-heart love playing in the snow and experiencing the thrills and fun spills in the specially designed sliding parks. Making a snow angel or ganging up on dad for a snowball fight will be treasured, lifelong memories. There are also sightseeing chairlift rides and stunning cafes to visit, each with breath-taking views. Coffee or lunch halfway up the highest mountain in the North Island, is most definitely a must do.

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Why? It's Fun!

Your first trip to the snow is one you will never forget. As you head up to Mt Ruapehu, you are buzzing with anticipation as you leave reality and enter a scene offering an indescribable amount of fun.

The instant energy hit you get when you first sight Mt Ruapehu is indescribable - it's all go from that moment. It's a great laugh having a friendly snowball fight and there's no better way to bond with your mates than falling over in the snow as you try to stay up on your first run and sharing the thrill when your skis start to slide for the first time. The chairlift provides a good opportunity for some cheeky banter while taking a 'breather' and it's a great place to make life -long friends that you will catch-up with season after season at Mt Ruapehu. For some, a lifelong passion begins.

Ski, Snowboard,

Play or Sightsee.

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Mt Ruapehu - The Smiles

If you're looking for a winter wonderland escape this chilly season, Mt Ruapehu is the place to go. Once you're on the mountain at Whakapapa or Turoa Ski Area, everything you need to enjoy the day is available to you. Mt Ruapehu has great ski and snowboard package deals with lift passes, rental equipment and lessons. Check it out here!

The beginner areas- Whakapapa's Happy Valley and Turoa's Alpine Meadow - are the best in the country so it's a great place to start. It's also important to know that there's more to the snow than just skiing or boarding. Whether it's grabbing a toboggan and racing down the sliding parks, having snow ball fights or just riding the chairlift to make the most of stunning views across the Central Plateau, a great day is guaranteed.

There is also a range of cafes on each side of the mountain serving hot drinks and great tasting food all day, so you can head inside to warm up and get reenergised before you head out again.

Where do I go

Turoa or Whakapapa?

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Getting Here

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 here and there are many ways of making the journey.

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Up in the Mountain

Once you're in the Ruapehu district getting to the mountain is really easy. The access roads to both of the ski areas are by far the very best in New Zealand. They're fully sealed, two lanes and suitable for campervans. Always remember to drive to the conditions though!

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What do I need?

Tips for your visit

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Book accommodation in advance:

Ruapehu is a busy region during the winter months, especially during weekends and school holidays. Check out the Mt Ruapehu accommodation options on our site and book early to get the best deals.

Check the weather conditions:

The beginner areas, Happy Valley or the Alpine Meadow, are usually protected from weather conditions that may impact the upper mountain.  Please check the weather on our snow report to prepare for the appropriate conditions. 

Dress appropriately: Even though it may be a sunny day, it can still be cold and the weather can change quickly. It is important to have an outer layer that is waterproof, so stay away from cotton clothing like jeans that offer no protection. Layers of wool or synthetic fibres like polypropylene and polar fleece are great! It doesn’t matter if you have too many clothes as Mt Ruapehu has lockers you can leave excess in when you get too hot, and you can always head into the cafe; to warm up if you get too cold.

Rent modern equipment

Our on mountain rental gear is modern, lightweight, shaped to make it easier to turn and the binding systems are safer. Borrowing Aunty Sue's old skis might sound like a great money saver , but renting this equipment will make your time on the mountain much more fun and learning will be easier.  It's cheap to rent on the mountain and our gear is regularly maintained so you can relax knowing it’s safe.  Check out all the details on the rentals sections of the website.

Make sure the boot fits: . A well-fitted boot will make your day on the snow comfortable and give you better control of your skis or snowboard.  Your boots should feel firm but not so tight that they hurt. It’s better to try on a range of sizes and be happy, than to take the first pair in a rush to get on the slopes. Come and see our on-mountain rentals team who will help you get the perfect fit.

Get a lesson: The best way to learn to ski or board is from a professional instructor. Our friendly ski and snowboard instructors come from all over the world and are all fully trained and qualified to teach you the right skills at the right pace. They'll keep you safe and help you build your confidence and skills so that you'll be up riding within the day. There’s privates lessons and group lessons so to find out what’s best for you and get more information on our learn to ski or snowboard packages visit

Be safe:  Check out our safety information so you know how to keep yourself safe and happy on the slopes. 

Learn more tips on your visit Download our holiday checklist
  • Lots of warm layers
  • Long wool or thermal socks
  • Warm, water resistant gloves or mittens
  • Helmet
  • Waterproof jacket and over trousers
  • Shoes with good grip
  • Sunglasses or goggles
  • Sunblock

Let's Go!

Now you are ready, so put on your skis
and boards and come visit us!

Discover now!