A great weather forecast, heavy natural snow and good snowmaking conditions means Mt Ruapehu’s Turoa Ski Area will be opening two days ahead of schedule on Thursday 17 June.
Turoa’s Alpine Meadow Beginners’ Area will be open, with other lifts opening progressively as conditions allow. The Alpine Cafe and Vertical Retail Store will also be open for business from Thursday.
Mt Ruapehu marketing manager Mike Smith says Thursday’s forecast is looking exceptional so the decision was made to open the season earlier than planned.
“We’ve got great snow coverage across the whole mountain. Up to10cm of fresh snow fell overnight, and this morning we recorded a base of 80cm on the upper mountain,” says Mr Smith.
“Snowmaking and trail preparation has also commenced in earnest on the upper mountain, and all signs look good for more lifts to open in the days following with snow in the forecast,” says Mr Smith. “Next weekend is the Ruapehu Mountain Mardi Gras in Ohakune so conditions should be ideal by then.”
The opening of the High Noon Express at Turoa will be delayed due to damage to a section of a lift tower sustained overnight after the natural release of ice on the cable caused it to whip lash.
Mt Ruapehu has commitment from the lift manufacturer, and a New Zealand based supplier to produce a replacement section very quickly. Weather conditions on the mountain are extremely poor today but preliminary inspection of the lift shows no other damage.
Snowmaking and trail preparation continues at Whakapapa which is on schedule to open on Saturday 26 June.