CLOSED FOR 2020 - RE-OPENING JUNE 2021

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Snowscene Help Guide for Turoa, Mt Ruapehu

2020 UPDATED:
Make the most out of your trip to Turoa Ski Field!



About:


Turoa, Mt Ruapehu - is approx 1h 15 minutes drive from our shop in Turangi.
Operating times are 9AM to 4PM from June to October. Turoa is known for excellent wide open trails, and the highest lifted point in New Zealand which always make for amazing views


View Trail Map

Turoa trail map


Ski passes

Turoa, Mt Ruapehu, has a range of ski passes that allow you to access either just the beginner area or the whole mountain. These will differ depending on your age, and what time you ski during the week. Both Whakapapa & Turoa day passes are the SAME price, and usable on either field, at any time during the ski season.

All passes need to be brought ONLINE at Mt Ruapehu.com. This is the quickest way to get them. Once you have paid for them online, you will receive a confirmation email with a QR code. Scan this code on their self-serve ticket kiosks at the base of the mountain to collect your passes

If you plan on skiing on a midweek day, remember to utilize the cheaper midweek ski pass when selecting your pass online

Season passes are available from October, and will raise in price every month until the next year’s ski season in June. A great way to maximize your ski dollar is to purchase early bird season passes in October. These usually go for $400 for an adult, & $250 for a child. This equates to about 3 days of skiing before you ski for free for the rest of the season! A Mt Ruapehu season pass allows you to ski as much as you like on either Whakapapa or Turoa, for one up-front cost before the season begins. You also receive some great bonus perks such as half-price passes for your friends, and discounts at the cafe’s and retail shops on the mountain.

Lift Pass Full Week Pass Mid Week Pass
Adult All Mountain $149 $129
Child All Mountain $89 $79
Adult Beginners Area $95 $95
Child Beginners Area $75 $75



Ski rental options

Turoa does have an on-mountain rental option, but we HIGHLY recommend you pick up all your rental skis, boards, and clothing from one of the local ski-shops that can be found in your mountain town.

WHY?
It’s much cheaper, heaps quicker to get fitted out (usually less than 15 mins compared to 60+ minutes on-mountain during busy times). Plus you receive lots of local knowledge on preparing for the ski field, and the conditions of the day BEFORE you head up. This local knowledge is GOLD, especially for first-timers to the snow, and can often make or break your day.


To make sure your ski holiday goes as smoothly as possible, we recommend visiting SNOWSCENE SKI AND BOARD for all your ski, boarding, and snow-play gear needs!

 

Getting up there

The OHAKUNE MOUNTAIN ROAD is the Turoa access road that takes you to the base of the ski area. Although its a bit windy and narrow at parts, its fully paved and suitable for any small car, SUV, or medium-sized camper.

Estimated travel times:

  • Auckland: 5 Hours
  • Wellington: 4 Hours
  • Taupo: 2 Hours
  • Tauranga: 4 Hours
  • Hawkes Bay: 2 ¾ Hours
  • Turangi: 80 mins
  • Ohakune: 20 mins
  • National Park Township: 50 mins

Mountain Road accessibility

Make sure to check the DAILY MOUNTAIN REPORT for TUROA, BEFORE YOU TRAVEL! This is paramount to making sure you can access the mountain safely. The status of road accessibility changes daily.


Car parking

There are 1600 car parks at the base area of the Turoa ski field. As long as road restrictions are clear, you are fine to drive your car up to the car parks and park there for the day.

If you are traveling to the ski-field on a Saturday or Sunday, YOU MUST PRE-BOOK a car park before you arrive. In order to not miss out on these limited weekend parks, you will need to pre-book as early as possible. The car parking availability is released in TWO waves. The first wave is at 10AM WEDNESDAY and the SECOND is at 6PM WEDNESDAY for the following weekend.

You will need to select your arrival time, day, and what field you will be accessing. This is all done at Mtruapehu.com/parking. We recommend booking a later car park than early - as your car park will be released if you arrive after the time you entered online, but you can show up EARLY for a later car park arrival time.


Road restrictions: 4WD or not?

If there is snow or ice buildup from a frosty morning - or snowfall the night before, the road may become restricted to only certain vehicles. Due to the nature and length of the Turoa access road, this can often take some time to clear.

Typically, if there is a road restriction, it will mean you MUST have either a 4WD or AWD car, or a 2WD car with chains. You won’t know the road restrictions until the road report is released at 7 AM on the day. You can find this at mtruapehu.com/turoa/report

If you had planned to drive up in a 2WD car, and suddenly you are not able to due to the restriction on the road - not to fear! You can usually purchase chains from local mountain shops, such as Snowscene Ski and Board in Turangi. If you are not comfortable with driving in chains - then booking a shuttle is going to be your next best option


Shuttle options

There is a good selection of shuttle companies that operate throughout the winter season - allowing you to easily access Turoa when road restrictions are in place.

Most people will drive to the Ohakune township, and park their car depending on where the shuttle is designated to pick them up from. Please check with the shuttle provider where they recommend you park your car for the day before you get pickup up. MOST shuttles will provide pickup from Thames st in Ohakune. The shuttle journey is 20mins. There are also shuttles that will transport you from the local mountain towns to the ski area.

We have compiled a list of all shuttle operators for you to choose from. We highly recommend booking in advance. If the weather is looking marginal for Saturdays, then we recommend you book your shuttle the Friday night before, or first thing Saturday morning when we know what the road restrictions are for that day.



What to expect

Let’s discuss what to expect once you arrive at Turoa Ski area. There are a number of facilities to make your stay for enjoyable, and some great ski-lifts and terrain for you to explore.


Weather Conditions

The weather at Mt Ruapehu can change very quickly and is known for its strong winds that whip over the mountain. Always be prepared with the gear so you are good for any situation. Even on a hot, spring day conditions can change relatively quickly. Before you go, it could be a good idea to check out 'Mt Ruapehu Essentials' Checklist to make sure you have everything packed, and double-check themetservice website for weather conditions 


Alpine Meadow Learners Area

This is Turoa’s designated learner’s area. Although not equipped with as many facilities as Whakapapa’s happy valley, it’s still a great mellow slope to practice your skills, and maybe even grab a lesson if you’re a first-timer. 


Lifts include:

  • Alpine Meadow Button Lift, and a carpet lift.

Lessons can be brought from mtruapehu.com, and will all take place in this area

The alpine meadow is situated right next to a good amount of amenities such as their main cafe, customer service center and kids ski school.



Rest of the mountain

The rest of the mountain can be accessed with the FULL mountain pass. This will allow you to access 100% of the ski-able terrain at Turoa.


Terrain

  • 20% beginner, 55% intermediate and 25% advanced

  • Turoa has some really great parks for the tricksters out there. You can find some 'big air' jumps up the top of the 'Nga Wai Heke' chair, and great learners park you can loop easily at the 'Wintergarden' platter.


Lifts (from the base to the highest elevation)

  • Parklane Triple Chair & Wintergarden Button Lift :
    These lifts are a great option for those who want to move up from the Alpine Meadow learners area. Both consist of very mellow learner trails for practicing the basics.

  • Movenpick Quad chair:
    Provides access to the High noon, Giant and Nga Wai Heke chairs. Consists of mellow beginner to intermediate runs.

  • Giant Triple Chair:
    Provides access to some great groomed runs down the midfield, and access to some of the western terrain.

  • Nga Wai Heke Quad Chair:
    Access to some more steeper, intermediate to advanced terrain on the eastern slopes. Also, a return chair from some of the more advanced runs off the high noon

  • High Noon Express 6 Seater:
    Definitely a fan favorite, the High noon offloads at 2322m, thus being the highest chairlift in New Zealand. This lift opens up over 60% off the terrain available at Turoa, consisting of a mixture of intermediate runs to the west, and more advanced off-piste runs to the east. 


Food options

There are THREE cafe’s with a range of food options for you to choose from:
  • Base cafe: Situated at the base of Turoa, this cafe has a full menu and drinks available all day long.

  • Snowflake cafe: Situated at the top of the Movenpick chair, this cafe consists of quick and easy cabinet food, plus hot coffees or a cold drink’s. Although the menu isn’t huge, there is plenty of sitting space!

  • Giant cafe: With a similar food lineup to the snowflake cafe, this cafe is at the top of the Giant Chairlift. It has an awesome balcony sitting area for you to enjoy the views on a hot spring day. 


Other facilities

  • Retail and rental stores

  • Toilets situated throughout the ski-field, with the best place for this being the cafes

  • customer service center for all inquiries. This is located in the base area building complex.

  • Kids Daycare. Turoa offers an all-day kids group lesson & lunch program. 


Sightseeing / Sledding

Turoa has some great sledding opportunities for your friends or family. It’s often not people’s first choice for sightseeing as the Skywaka gondola is the same price as the Turoa sightseeing - but isn’t quite as exciting experience as riding the new gondola.

This activity is every increasing in popularity due to its cheaper costs and less stressful experience with young kids. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Even if you are not planning on skiing or snowboarding, you still need to be prepared for a mountain environment when you decide to visit. This means having warm, waterproof layers from head to toe. We have a great checklist for you if you are unsure what to pack, and if you find you don’t have these items - it can all be rented from SNOWSCENE SKI AND BOARD for just a few dollars.

  • There are TWO options when it comes to sledding. You can pay for Mt Ruapehu’s Alpine Meadow purpose-built sledding area, which consists of sled rental and sled lift usage for $20 per hour. Otherwise, you can rent or bring your own sled to use ANYWHERE on the mountain, except for Alpine Meadow Sledding or ski runs, for FREE! This is often a popular option as there are some great spots that you can ‘free sled’ at. Visit snowscene for SLED rental. Only $10 a day, and we will let you know all the best spots to take your sled and have the best time!

  • If you are just intending on having a sledding day, then Turoa can be a great option as it can a lot less crowded than Whakapapa during weekends especially. 

Lift Pass Sightseeing pass Sledding pass (1hr)
Adult Single $49 $22
Child Single $29 $17
Family (4) $135 $78


Lessons / Learning to ski

Turoa has a some great lesson options for all skiing abilities. A popular option for kids, its the Turoa Yeti Daycare Ski School. Drop the kids off for an all-day group lesson, with lunch provided, while you have a great day skiing all over Turoa. This is all organized by the ski field company, RAL - so contact them to book this.


Where to stay near Turoa

  • If your traveling north from areas like Palmerston North and Wellington, then Ohakune is your best option for accommodation, due to the close proximity to Turoa, and large range of bars, pubs, restaurants, and activities for you to enjoy. 

  • If you are traveling south from Auckland, Taupo etc, then we recommend Turangi as an option along with Ohakune. This mountain town is your closest option to Whakapapa, and only an extra 40 minutes drive to Turoa.

  • If you need some guidance on planning your ski holiday, we have a great article explaining all the items to plan for, and finer details to prepare for to make sure your holiday goes smoothly

  • National Park Village and Taupo are also good options if you prefer. 


On-mountain accommodation

Although Ohakune has some great accommodation options, if you prefer to stay on-mountain and be first on the slopes, then book a lodge for the night at one of the many that are situated at the Turoa base area, and scattered along the Ohakune Mountain Road. Although you need to be extra prepared, it can be quite an adventure living the ski-lodge life for a few nights. A bed + meals can be as low as $50 at some clubs.


Benefits of visiting Turoa

  • Turoa in our opinion has BETTER terrain for intermediate-advanced skiers. You won’t find as wider variety of terrain anywhere at Whakapapa. Especially for seasoned skiers and boarders - the high noon has the best terrain for you!

  • Turoa is typically a lot less busy during peak times! Due to the skywaka sightseeing being so popular, Whakapapa will tend to be a lot more crowded. Avoid these crowds, and head to Turoa for your skiing and boarding

  • Turoa is the best option for snowboarders for ONE MAIN REASON...
    NO T-BARS. ALL CHAIRLIFTS BABY! Ski or board all day long, and still have the energy to go to the local bar after your day!

  • Turoa has the best snow park options of the two fields. There’s a mini-park alongside the Wintergarden button lift, and alongside the High Nook, a mix of rails and medium to large jumps to practice your tricks on! 


Shortcomings of visiting Turoa

  • Like Whakapapa, it can be expensive. Although you can mitigate this by purchasing a season pass, and organizing rentals off-mountain at a cheaper local shop, the costs of operating lifts, cafe’s and facilities in a mountain environment can be expensive - hence reflected in their ski-pass price.

  • If your coming to Mt Ruapehu to sightsee and have a sled, then Whakapapa is the place to be. Turoa’s sightseeing options cannot compete with a ride on the Skywaka. Why just sled at Turoa when you can have a gondola ride, and sled on the same day at Whakapapa
  • Since the majority of our Snowscene customers stay close to our shop in Turangi or are traveling south from cities like Auckland, Tauranga and Taupo - then Turoa is going to add an extra 40 minutes to your travel time, compared with choosing Whakapapa as your skifield option. Although it can be worth the extra journey, you need to be prepared for an early start to avoid being up there too late. 


Local Secrets!

  • If you find the 6 Seater express is busy, a secret tip is to line up in the singles line - and the majority of the time you will be loaded in a lot quicker than queuing as a group.

  • Not exactly a secret, but of the two-day parks available, both are quite a short walk to the base - and if its snowed enough, often you can ski back to your car (or near enough)


Our Favorite Runs


  • Beginner / intermediate: Turoa has a great range of learner runs. If you find the Alpine Meadow not enough of a challenge, both parklane and movenpick chairs lead to some really long cruisey runs to practice on 

  • Intermediate / Advanced: Your best bet is to jump on the High Noon express, in which has some amazing trails both to the left and right of the lift. Take your pick really. Our personal favorite would be the 'triangle' run which can have some epic powder pockets. This isn't for beginner or intermediate skiers however so we recommend those at that level take some of the right hand trails (when looking down from the High Noon) such as 'branchline' and have a great time on some quite wide runs.

    Have we missed anything? Please let us know of anything we can add to this list :) Happy shredding!


    Other guides


    whakapapa guide - snowscene ski rental
    Rent skis for Mt Ruapehu with Snowscene - Book online

    Join Shred Club