View from car park
|Location||Mt. Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand|
|Top elevation||2,300 m (7,546 ft)|
|Base elevation||1,630 m (5,348 ft)|
|Skiable area||1360 acres (550 ha)|
|Lift system||11 lifts: 7 chairs (1 High-Speed Quad, 1 Quad, 5 Double), 1 Magic carpet, 4 T-Bars (Capacity 15,000ph)|
Whakapapa, on the northern side of Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand's Tongariro National Park, is one of the mountain's two commercial ski fields. The other is Turoa, located on the mountain's south-western slopes. The ski season is generally from late June to late October, depending on snow and weather conditions. Turoa has a slightly longer season, generally opening a week before Whakapapa and closing early November. The terrain at Whakapapa Skifield is divided up as 25% beginner, 50% intermediate and 25% advanced. Access to the skifield is by Bruce Road, a 2-lane, 6 km sealed road. Limited accommodation and refreshments are available at 'Top o' the Bruce', at the entry to the skifield, and elsewhere on the mountain. Alpine huts are provided for trampers and climbers.
Mount Ruapehu's two skifields, Whakapapa and Turoa, are considered to be the largest ski resort in New Zealand. Both are owned and operated by the company Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.
Happy Valley is a big beginners area at Whakapapa separated from the rest of the ski field in its own little valley and is considered one of the best in the country. The area has a cafe and ski hire facility, there is also a chair lift, one platter and a magic carpet.
There are two new lift systems that have been proposed; the Valley Express and Tennants Express. The Valley Express will replace the Valley or Knoll Ridge T-Bar if the plan goes ahead it will be a six seater with a top speed of 5 meters per second and the ability to transport 3,200 people per hour, the Tennants express will replace the old Rockgarden Chair and will have the ability to transport 2,800 people per hour 
|Lift Name||Type||Ride Time|
|Double Happy Chair||Double||4 min|
|Happy Valley Chair||Double||1 min|
|Happy Valley Platter 1||Platter Lift||3 min|
|Happy Valley Platter 2||Platter Lift||3 min|
|Centennial Chair||Double||8 min|
|Rockgarden Chair||Double||7 min|
|National Chair||Double||17 min|
|West Ridge Quad||Quad||11 min|
|Hut Flat Rope Tow||Rope Tow||3 min|
|Waterfall Express Chair||Quad||9 min|
|Waterfall T-Bar||T-Bar||8 min|
|Knoll Ridge T-Bar||T-Bar||10 min|
|Valley T-Bar||T-Bar||8 min|
|Far West T-Bar||T-Bar||10 min|
2009 Arson Attacks
On 13 February 2009 arson destroyed two buildings at the skifield, the main chalet and an implement shed containing three snow groomers. The damage was estimated at $11 to 12.5 million. The main chalet, the Knoll Ridge Cafe was replaced by a new, more modern, facility slightly lower down the mountain with less visual impact than the old chalet.
Weather conditions can be changeable over the day, and mountain visitors are advised to be prepared and carry basic survival equipment. Although severe weather is unusual and generally forecast, it has claimed several lives over the years, including a party of soldiers undergoing winter survival training in 1990.The same storm also trapped a Japanese tourist when the weather unexpectedly closed in on him, but he built a snow cave and sheltered in it until he was rescued days later. On July 5, 2003 about 350 skiers and 70 skifield staff were trapped on the mountain overnight at Top o'the Bruce when a sudden snow storm blew up and within a few minutes made the access road too dangerous to descend. They spent the night in relative comfort and all descended safely the next morning. Such rapidly changing conditions are typical of the weather on New Zealand mountains. Again on Saturday July 26, 2008 skiers and staff were trapped on the mountain overnight when a fast approaching storm caused the skifield to be closed at 10:30am and made the road too dangerous for cars without chains or 4WD to leave the area. By 3pm there were still over 100 cars in the Whakapapa car park and those who had not been able to leave by that point were told to settle in for the night. All cars were able to leave safely the next morning.
Tubing At Whakapapa Just across from Happy Valley is a tubing park called 'the sliding zone'. It is a large area dedicated to tubing, this is within walking distance from the base area.
Guided Crater Lake Walks Only offered in the summer months of the year there is an option to go and view the volcanic crater lake at the top of the mountain, you begin with a scenic chairlift ride up to 2020m then your guide will take you on a 6 hour walk around the lake with spectacular views.
- "Ski Resort Makes Biggest Improvement Investment in New Zealand Ski History". 9 March 2006.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "Building a picture of ski field arsonists". New Zealand Police. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- Simons, Louis (1 June 2009). "Uphill start for Ruapehu skiing". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-10-09.