Snowscene Help Guide for Turoa, Mt Ruapehu

2024 UPDATED:
Make the most out of your trip to Turoa Ski Field!

The team at Snowscene have complied a guide to help you have the best day for your visit to Pure Turoa Ski Field! We update this guide often with the latest information and updates regarding Pure Turoa

In this guide, we will cover: 



About:

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



View Trail Map

pure_turoa_trail_map

 

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 (depending on the road conditions)

If its your first time visiting Pure Turoa, we recommend reading our first timers guide on preparing for your journey and learning vital information regarding the changing road conditions and restrictions

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.

In previous years, carparking spaces at Pure Turoa had to be booked online. For 2024 however, there is no need to book a carparking space prior to your arrival 
Carparking is now first in - first serve. During peak times like school holidays and weekends, we advise driving up earlier rather than later so you don't miss out on a park. We advise aiming for a 9am - 10am arrival (the earlier the better)


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 www.pureturoa.nz

If you had planned to drive up in a 2WD car, and suddenly you are not able to due to a 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.


There is no free shuttle services being operated by the mountain company (Pure Turoa) in 2024

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

Turoa Ski Field does not have any on-mountain accommodation options. Whakapapa or Tukino Ski field are the only places that offer this style of accommodation. Your best bet would be to stay in one of the local mountain towns, such as Ohakune or Turangi

 

 

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. They also offer sightseeing and sledding passes. For the 2024 season, Pure Turoa passes cannot be used to access the same facilities at Whakapapa

Pass Types:

  • All Mountain - Access all terrain
  • Beginner Area - Access Alpine Meadow (beginner area)
  • Sightseeing Pass - Access the Parklane chair for sightseeing only
  • Sledding Pass - Access the Turoa sledding area for 1 hour

Pass Restrictions

  • Weekend Pass - Access the facilities of your given pass, Monday to Sunday
  • Weekend Pass - Access the facilities of your given pass, Monday to Friday

All passes need to be brought ONLINE at pureturoa.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 typically available either near the season end, or a few months before the ski season starts. They will start out at a cheaper price, and gradually rise in price. They are a great idea for someone who is committed to skiing or boarding many days throughout the season. Plus you get amazing perks like half-price passes for friends, discounts on retail and food and discounted season passes for children. These perks and prices change seasonally, so its best to check and read the terms of the pass before you purchase. You can find information for this on Pure Turoa's website. 

Turoa Day Lift Pass Prices 2024 Weekend Price Weekday Price
Adult All Mountain $149 $99
Youth (age 6 - 16) All Mountain $89 $69
Adult Beginners Area $89 $79
Youth (age age 6 - 16) Beginners Area $59 $49
Infant (age 0 - 5) FREE FREE

Multiday Lift Pass Prices 2024 Weekend Pass Weekday Pass
Adult All Mountain TBC 2024 TBC 2024
Youth All Mountain TBC 2024 TBC 2024

 

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 20 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!

Lessons / Learning to ski

Turoa has a some great lesson options for all skiing abilities. Both group and private options available. This is all organized by the Pure Turoa - so visit their lessons page to book this. 

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 right 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 

 

What to expect

Let’s discuss what to expect once you arrive at Pure 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.

 

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 pureturoa.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
  • Pure Turoa, depending on snow levels, tends to have larger and more park feature availability. 

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 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.
  • 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. 
pure turoa sightseeing

Sightseeing / Sledding

Pure Turoa has some great sledding opportunities for your friends or family. 

2024 UPDATE:
You now need to book sledding online, prior to your arrival. We would advise booking a few days in advance to make sure you don't miss out. Visit pureturoa.nz to purchase sledding tickets

This activity is ever increasing in popularity due to its cheaper costs and is a less stressful experience with young kids. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Be prepared: 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.
  • Sledding options: There are TWO options when it comes to sledding. You can pay for Pure Turoa's Alpine Meadow purpose-built sledding area, which consists of sled rental and sled lift usage for $25 - 35 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! (Please note, free sledding spots will depend on how much snowfall there has been. Early or late season, there may not be any options to free sled)
  • Sightseeing Pass: If you don't want to sled, but just take a ride on the chairlift for some amazing views at elevation, you can always purchase the sightseeing pass on its own. This includes a ride on their Parklane chair lift to their snowflake cafe
  • Snowplay Family Pass: If you want to take the family for both a chairlift ride and sledding, then the snow play pass is a great discounted option to do both these activities. This pass includes a round trip ride on the Parklane chairlift and sledding for 1 hour. 
  • If you are just intending on having a sledding day, then Turoa can be a great option as it can be a lot less crowded than Whakapapa during weekends especially. 
Turoa Sledding Lift Pass Sat/Sun Price Weekday Price
Adult Sledding (1 Hour) $35 $35
Youth Sledding
(6 - 16) (1 Hour)
$25 $25
Infant Sledding (0-4) FREE FREE
Family Snowplay
(x2 Ad, x2 Youth)
$149 $149
Turoa Sightseeing
Lift Pass
Sat/Sun Price Weekday Price
Adult
Sightseeing
$25 $25
Youth 
Sightseeing
(6 - 16)
$14 $14
Infant Sightseeing 
(0-4)
FREE FREE


pure turoa helpful tips


Benefits of visiting Pure Turoa

  • Pure 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!

  • Pure 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 Pure Turoa for your skiing and boarding

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

  • Pure 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 Noon, a mix of rails and medium to large jumps to practice your tricks on! 


Shortcomings of visiting Pure 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 the Mt Ruapehu region to sightsee and have a sled, then Whakapapa typically most popular place to sightsee and sled due to its all season sledding and skywaka gondola. Although Pure Turoa offer both sledding and sightseeing, its not as spectacular as what Whakapapa has to offer. 
  • 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 Pure 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. 

    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