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. Our main consideration when making operational decisions regarding the weather is the safety of our customers and staff. 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.
Always check the road conditions on the snow report before you head up the mountain. Remember, road conditions can change on days when there is snow in the forecast and different restrictions may be put in place for the descent at the end of the day. We recommend that 2WD vehicles carry chains on days when snow is likely. 4WD vehicles may still be required to have chains fitted on particularly icy days.
Q. Where can I hire chains for my vehicle?
Mt Ruapehu offers chain hire for Turoa Ski Area for $40 from its Ohakune office. We carry chain sizes to fit most cars and some smaller vans. Please check your tire size before coming to hire chains. Our staff will fit our chains for you on the Mountain Road when you arrive at the point where they are required.
Chain rentals may also be available from third party outlets within the region.
Q. What if I don't want to hire chains?
We run shuttle services daily from Whakapapa Village and National Park to Whakapapa Ski Area and from Ohakune to Turoa Ski Area. We highly recommend you use this service if you're not confident driving in alpine conditions.
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.
At 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 because it means we can run them in stronger winds. A straight Westerly will blow directly across the lift lines, which means we would need to close the lifts or reduce speed. These speeds are only guides, with wind gusts and lull periods also being taken into consideration to determine operational speeds on a daily basis.
At Turoa, the lift lines run predominantly from the Southwesterly quarter. A forecast for Southwesterly winds at Turoa generally produces very little wind. We are affected far greater 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 readings of up to 75km/h or more are not uncommon further down the lift line.