Understanding Operating Conditions


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 wear chains on particularly icy days. 

Q. Where can I hire chains for my vehicle?

On days when chains are required, chain hire is available at the point on the road where restrictions for chains begins. Please ensure you check for road restrictions on the snow report before heading up the mountain.

Mt Ruapehu offers chain hire for Turoa Ski Area for $30  EFTPOS is usually available but occassionally we experience technical difficulties and advise customers to always bring cash if possible. We carry chain sizes to fit most cars and some smaller vans. Please check with us in advance if you have a larger vehicle, low profile tyres or a lowered vehicle. Call or email our team well ahead of time to avoid being turned around should none of our chains fit your vehicle - 06 385 8456 or info.turoa@mtruapehu.com.

Third party chain rentals are available for Whakapapa Ski Area for $40 per day. Signs will be posted on the road. Please note that this service is not run by Mt Ruapehu.  Payment is by cash, EFTPOS or credit card but a credit card is always required for security. Personal chains can be fitted at the discretion of the third party.



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.

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