Snow has arrived just in time for the school holidays with 3,500 people heading up Mt Ruapehu over the weekend.
Whakapapa ski area’s Happy Valley learner slopes and sledding, as well as the Sky Waka, were busy for the season opening.
RAL CEO Jono Dean says, “It’s great to see a lot of families making an effort to get out and about and visit the region. Taupo is reporting a 20 percent increase in visitors compared to the same time last year.
“We also have some more good snow on the horizon over the next few days, potentially up to 30-40cms, and the long range forecast out to the weekend is looking good for some fine weather. Turoa is scheduled to officially open on Saturday opening up more skiing and sledding options for visitors.”
In a bid to ease traffic congestion during busy times, Mt Ruapehu has a new free car park booking system that will be available from Wednesday 22 online at mturapehu.com Bookings won’t be needed for these current school holidays.
“We’ve listened to the frustrations about queuing for parking and general volumes of visitors to the ski areas and we’ve come up with what we believe is a good solution that will ensure fair and equitable parking for everyone,” Jono says.
“Since the initial announcement of the car parking booking system we’ve had a lot of constructive feedback from mountain users and as a result we’ve made a few changes.
“These include that the booking system will operate for the busiest 10 of the 17 weekends the mountain is open, not the entire season. We’ve also delayed its start so we could efficiently deal with people who ‘no show’. They will be sent an alert to say they are late and if they don’t arrive as per their updated ETA the car park will be released back into the availability pool.”
Jono is hoping that the booking system will also encourage visitors to plan their trip in advance and avoid busy times, like weekends. “While weekends will always be busy, skiers need to consider going up the mountain mid-week to avoid crowds and queues. The new booking system will show live availability so people can easily see when is the best time to visit.”
The car park booking system is an integral part of managing traffic congestion on the mountain and to ensure a sustainable level of visitation can be managed. “If people don’t want to drive using a local shuttle service is another option, there are plenty of pick up points from local towns around the region,” Jono says.
Before heading up the mountain visitors are advised to check the Mt Ruapehu website for the latest updates, snowcams, weather conditions and to book a carpark. This is a mandatory component on visiting Mt Ruapehu this season. Further information about the new car parking booking system is also on the website mtruapehu.com.