Turoa Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
  • Turoa Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)1,600– 2,322 (722)
  • Average Snow Fall
    4.0  metres
  • Lifts (8)
    1 6-seater
    2 quads
  • Ski Hours
    8:30am - 4:00pm
    Late June - late Oct
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 40
    Longest run – 4 km
    Advanced - 20%
    Intermediate - 55%
    Beginner - 25%

Turoa Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Turoa ski field at Mt Ruapehu has 40 runs, covering a respectable 500 hectares, or 10 percent less than neighbouring Whakapapa. Twenty five percent are set aside for beginners, 55 percent are deemed intermediate, and 20 percent cater for advanced skiers and boarders.

Beginners can enjoy the purpose built Alpine Meadow area with a 120 metre magic carpet. Intermediates can make the most of Australasia's longest vertical descent and many wide and smooth long runs that are well inter-connected.

Numerous drop-offs and steep chutes provide the expected challenges for the advanced rider. There are also three huge off-piste areas, the natural half-pipes and chutes through the Organ Pipes being a personal favourite, whilst the Mangaehuehu Glacier and Solitude area offer outstanding lift-accessed “slack-country” for experts. However, a decent traverse is required to access these out of bounds areas, and always check with ski patrol regarding the status of conditions.

Turoa Lifts

There are 8 lifts at Turoa, including two quads and a rocket-charged 6 seater, offering little opportunity to rest the legs. The latter transports 3,200 persons per hour at a super fast 5 metres per second. This high speed chair lift is the pride and joy of Turoa, and arguably one of Australasia’s sexiest lifts.

Ride times range from 2 minutes (magic carpet in the beginners’ area) to 15 minutes (Movenpick quad chair lift). There’s only one T-Bar (Jumbo, on the left as you look up the mountain) and two platter lifts.

Small lift queues tend to only develop before and after lunch.

Lift Tickets

Lift prices at Turoa are reasonable for what you get. There are no student concessions ostensibly so “prices can be kept low for everyone”. However, children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 18 pay 40 percent less, and kids aged 4 and under receive lift passes free of charge. There are also the usual discounts for multi-day passes, but no family discounts. Afternoon passes are available from 12pm.

As at Whakapapa, beginners who only want to use the beginners’ area (Alpine Meadow), pay roughly two thirds of the price of an all-mountain ticket.

If you don’t want to ski or board, there’s a sightseeing pass. Families (that’s two adults and all their dependant children) can purchase a Family Sightseeing Pass. That’s excellent value whichever way you cut it, especially if all you want to do is build a snowman - and ski or board in your next life.

Turoa Snow and Weather Conditions

There is an estimated 400cm of average annual snowfall at Turoa (not officially verified, but a figure with considerable consensus) which means that the mountain receives reasonably frequent snowfalls throughout the season increasing the odds of a face shot or two for die hard powderhounds. One shortcoming of Turoa (and other NZ ski fields) is that the treeless slopes leave the snow exposed to the mercy of the weather gods, so rip up any fresh powder as quickly as you can! The snow at Turoa tends to stay longer than at Whakapapa, due to its south-western position.

And do check the weather forecast before you head for Turoa. In 1990, a Japanese tourist found himself in dire straits after the weather suddenly closed in on him. He built a snow cave and sheltered in it until he was rescued days later. If it wasn’t for this ingenuous act, he most certainly would have died a slow and painful death. Similarly, in July 2003, 350 skiers and 70 staff were trapped on Mount Ruapehu when a sudden snow storm blew up and closed the mountain road. So take the above as a warning and always dress appropriately. The weather at Turoa can turn in less than 30 minutes!

For the Beginner

With 25 percent of all runs suitable for beginners, Turoa is a great mountain to embark on your skiing or snowboarding journey. The well-protected “Alpine Meadow”, adjacent to the base elevation car park, is the ideal playground for beginners. It has just the right inclination to keep you moving, and offers a nice stopping zone at the bottom. There are two lifts in this area, the Alpine Meadow Carpet and the Alpine Meadow Platter.

Once you’ve mastered the beginners’ area, you are free to move up to the “big” mountain. There, you find at least three other beginners’ trails, including the delightful Wintergarden area which meanders around the resort’s snow making dam.

Intermediate Skiing and Snowboarding

At Turoa, intermediate skiers and snowboarders have 55 percent of the mountain at their disposal. The intermediate runs are marked blue and can be found all over the volcano. Main Trunk and Home Run were our favourites when we tested Turoa - but we won’t argue with you if you prefer another run – as long as it’s not icy or full of rocks.

For the Shredder

Turoa has lots of natural terrain suitable for hucking, as well as a designated manmade freestyle terrain park located at Frozen Waterfall, two-thirds up the mountain. The Freestyle Terrain, located on the far right of the ski area, is a labor of love. The terrain is adjusted daily to suit the snow and weather conditions. However, be sure to familiarise yourself with the terrain, natural or constructed, before strutting your stuff.

Advanced Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Twenty percent of the marked runs at Turoa are suited for advanced skiers and riders. Most black runs are found on the far right and far left of the resort. When we tested the mountain, we really liked the Organ Pipe Chutes, a double-diamond run. It’s like skiing in a crevasse, but without having to worry about being swallowed up by the glacier. Best to wear a helmet though, and be prepared for all sorts of snow conditions, depending on the slope’s angle to the elements, namely wind and sun. To be perfectly honest, you’ll find just about anything at the Organ Pipe Chutes, from pockets of powder to patches of unforgiving ice, and everything in between – all in the same run!

Most difficult and extreme terrain can also be found on South East Chutes, Mangawhero Flank and Triangle, the latter offering some great carving opportunities for die hard powderhounds, especially in the first few hours or days after some serious snowfalls.

Turoa Backcountry

There are two lift accessed backcountry areas at Turoa. The one on lookers’ left is called Solitude, a splendid wide open slope, just beneath Mangaturuturu Glacier. It offers nearly 700 vertical metres of skiing and riding bliss.

Glacier (lookers’ right) is a bit trickier. It involves a decent traverse from the top of High Noon Express, and it’s easy to overshoot the exit and end up way below the car park.

As with all ski resorts, be aware that the backcountry areas are not patrolled or avalanche controlled, and you should always be kitted out with avalanche gear and ski or ride with at least one buddy.