Whakapapa is located on the north-eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu and is renowned as New Zealand’s largest and busiest ski area. It has a skiable area of 550ha, and a total of 43 runs from beginner to advance. It has a stylish chairlift system and more than 30 groomed trails catering to all levels of skiers and snowboarders, off-piste areas for intermediates and advanced, and a tobogganing and tubing area.
At Whakapapa ski area you will find Happy Valley which is an area that’s been developed just for beginners. It has wide gentle slopes and its own beginner’s chairlift. It is located just below the Top O’ the Bruce and has its own ski rental and cafeteria. If you’ve never done skiing before or you just need more practice, then you can come along to the Happy Valley. It’s completely separate to the main ski area and just for learners so you feel safe and meet other learners just like you.
People with disabilities are also catered for at Whakapapa where equipment you can become used to is available so you can join in with all the fun regardless of strength or ability. There are experienced trainers to help you all the way so you can enjoy the experience of skiing or snowboarding not forgetting to mention the breath-taking views of Mt Ruapehu.
In summer, visitors can climb to the crater of Mt Ruapehu from the highest Whakapapa chairlift.
Packages are available for those wanting to learn how to ski or snowboard. They include a beginner lift pass, equipment hire and a lesson.
For people that don’t want to ski or snowboard but want to play in the snow there is a tobogganing and tubing area for your sliding enjoyment. Alternatively you could take the chairlift ride to the top of Mount Ruapehu and enjoy the spectacular views. At the very top, 2,020 metres above sea level, you will find the highest cafe in New Zealand – the Knoll Ridge Chalet open everyday during the winter and summer season, offering hot food and beverages. Here you can relax on the open, sunny deck and enjoy spectacular views of Mt Ruapehus snow-capped summit, the Tongariro National Park and the central North Island.
The skiing hours are from 9am to 4pm.
The field is 25% Beginner, 50% Intermediate and 25% Advanced.
Accommodation on the ski area is also provided.
For information on prices for passes and hire, check out the comparison of the Ski Areas in New Zealand.
Highest Point: 2300 metres
Vertical Point: 675 metres
Skiable Area: 550 hectares
Number of Lifts
There are a total of 14 lifts – 1 fixed grip quad chair, 1 detachable quad chair, 5 double chairs, 4 T-bars, 1 rope tow and 2 platters.
Adult $83, Child (5-18yrs) $48
Adult $52, Child (5-18yrs) $30
Multi Day (2 day)
Adult $163, Child (5-18yrs) $94
Multi Day (3 day)
Adult $243, Child (5-18yrs) $140
Ski and Clothing hire is available including boots, boards, poles, skis, helmets, toboggans, sliding mats and outerwear.
Including lift, lesson and rental:
Beginners ski and board
Child (5-18yrs) $60
Intermediate ski and board
Child (5-18yrs) $70
Beginner to competent skier or boarder (3 day multi-day pass)
Child (5-18yrs) $239
stylish chairlift system
more than 30 groomed trails catering
off-piste areas for intermediates and advanced
people with disabilities are catered for
happy Valley developed just for beginners
shuttle services from Whakapapa village to the ski field
on field accommodation
snow center for kids