Yesterday Jono Dean, CEO or Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, revealed what the opening of Whakapapa and Turoa for 2020 will look like. As Jono says, and from what we have heard, RAL does have some real financial issues and so the fact they are opening is a welcome relief for many!
But, as they have been alluding to over the past few weeks, what they will be opening is different to any other season. Both ski areas will open July 1 (snow permitting) and we’re assuming for daily operation given the talk of mid-week skiing. Here’s the highlights.
At Whakapapa, the following lifts will be operating:
Check the Whakapapa trail map to see which ones they are if you are unfamiliar.
At Turoa, they will be operating:
Check the Turoa trail map to see which ones they are if you are unfamiliar.
The Valley T-Bar and Parklane/ Wintergarden may open later in the season dependent on demand. It would appear cafes etc will be open, but dependent on the level they may be restricted to 100 people.
Firstly, there’s still more detail to come, possibly because they are looking to see if Level 1 will occur before July 1. Quite likely right? Will that mean more facilities open? We’re picking unlikely, because it appears there are some serious resource constraints, financial and logistical. And what about numbers and limiting? First, RAL sold all their season passes before Covid stuck, so there are thousands of existing pass holders keen to visit. And we know, and RAL has said, on a bluebird weekend day, there are capacity issues. So, I’d say it’s fair to expect you’ll see the roads closed due to capacity. You can hear the howls of protest already, but it’s the reality of the situation we’re in and you have to empathise with the situation RAL finds themselves in.
It’s awesome to see that Whakapapa and Turoa will be open given the challenges, such as weather, we know they operate under. So this season, help them out, support local businesses, and ski midweek if you can! We’d expect there will some pretty good accommodation deals, so this season, like no other, shift your working or holiday habits if possible.