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Mt Ruapehu Announces 2020 Opening Plans

Jono Dean, CEO of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) has just announced a few details on how they plan to open Whakapapa and Turoa. Following is their press release and the video of the announcement…

Key points however are:

  1. Happy Valley not opening on Queens birthday, however the Sky Waka will be open for sightseeing only (Sat 30th May - Monday 1st June) weather permitting
  2. Planned opening is the last weekend June/first weekend July, in time for school holidays
  3. Whakapapa and Turoa will be open every day the weather permits, with top to bottom skiing and riding
  4. However, it is likely that not all lifts will operate every day
  5. RFID of your pass is your contact tracing, but they are still evaluating options for casual visitors

Further updates coming over the next couple of days.

We’ve been privy to some of the discussion the ski areas have been having, and the work they are doing with the government to get open. It hasn’t been easy for the areas so it’s super awesome to see all that hard work translation into openings, albeit some of them more limited than we’d like for the 2020 season!  Check our previous article why

Watch the Video:

Read the Full Press Release:

19 May 2020: Jono Dean, CEO, RAL:

An exciting update regarding the upcoming winter season - we’re hopeful of opening our first ski area on Mt Ruapehu in late June/early July.  This will be dependent on a number of factors, including snowfall and the Alert Level restrictions that exist at the time.

We had planned to open Happy Valley on 30th May this year in time for Queen’s Birthday weekend as usual, but unfortunately with the preparation, maintenance and staff hiring time lost during the lockdown, we’re unable to make this happen this year. 

We will, however be opening the Sky Waka for sightseeing only over Queen's Birthday weekend (Sat 30th May - Monday 1st June) weather permitting.

At this stage we are planning a season that will see both Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields open every day the weather permits with top to bottom skiing and riding but it is likely that not all lifts will operate. The operational teams will start outlining that detail later this week via our social media channels.

Be assured that our team is working hard to prepare for the season on mountain, and behind the scenes planning also continues with the ski industry confirming late last week that following its work with Government, ski areas can operate for the 2020 season under Covid-19 Alert Level 2.

Myself, NZSki CEO Paul Anderson and Cardrona Alpine Resorts General Manager Bridget Legnavsky have been working with Government on behalf of the industry to clarify how ski resorts will operate under Level 2 requirements.

It’s been a comprehensive process but one that has demonstrated collaboration across the entire industry in an unprecedented time, and the outcome is that the industry has agreed specific guidelines for ski resorts to allow them to operate safely under Level 2.

As we get closer to opening the ski areas, we will be releasing more specific information on what you can expect when you visit this season and how you will be able to help us to keep within the Alert Level protocols that exist at the time of opening.

While we understand it’s disappointing for those of you looking forward to your first outing on the slopes that we’re not open over Queens’ Birthday weekend, we encourage you to still come and enjoy the other incredible experiences on offer in our region.