Turoa Ski Field

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Turoa Ski Field

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Turoa3 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
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Turoa Ski Field – Mount Ruapehu

NB Ruapehu Alpine Lifts went into voluntary administration in 2022. Whilst lift passes are on sale for 2023, it remains unclear at the extent of likely operations at Turoa.

Turoa Ski Resort is situated on the south-western slopes of Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand’s most active volcano, and is one of only two commercial ski resorts on the north island of New Zealand. Along with Whakapapa which also sits on Mt Ruapehu, Turoa ski field is owned by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts. It’s a not for profit ski field, so any earnings are reinvested back into the ski field.

The Mount Ruapehu volcano is the highest mountain on the north island and it’s very exposed, so Turoa Ski Resort is at the mercy of the weather. Sometimes the weather gods smile and Turoa is an amazing ski field, whilst at others it’s snowing and blowing and the ice is growing, and lord only knows whether some or all of the ski field will be closed.

Turoa Ski Field on Mt Ruapehu is best suited to inhabitants of the north island who can keep an eye on the weather forecast and drive there on a whim. If you choose to specifically go to the north island for a Ruapehu ski holiday, be prepared to find other activities to do because you probably won’t be skiing or snowboarding every day.

Pros & Cons of Turoa Mt Ruapehu

  • Turoa has fun terrain & lovely views when the weather is nice.
  • It’s a decent sized ski resort with good lifts (by New Zealand standards).
  • The nearby town of Ohakune has a great vibe.
  • Turoa enjoys a long season from late June to late October, and it’s a good proposition for spring skiing.
  • The Ohakune accommodation is cheaper than what you’d find in Queenstown or Wanaka.
  • For a New Zealand ski resort, Turoa has a quality access road.
  • Mount Ruapehu is unprotected and often experiences high icy winds which result in all or part of the ski field closing. The lifts often rime up and it takes the operations team a long time to de-ice them and dig them out.
  • The ski field is usually really crowded on the weekends and holidays, and crowd and queue management are not done well.
  • As is common to most NZ ski resorts, there is no on-mountain accommodation so you have to drive up from Ohakune each day, and the terrain has no trees so it’s difficult to ride in low visibility and there’s no storm skiing.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Turoa Ski Field receives a lot of snow relative to some other NZ ski resorts, but it needs a lot of snow to cover up the rocky terrain.
  • When the ski field is closed, at least there is some good mountain biking in the area.

Turoa Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Turoa has some impressive stats for a New Zealand ski field. It has long vertical at 722 metres and it has the nation’s highest lift (2,322 metres). It is one of the largest NZ ski areas with 500 hectares of terrain and 5 chair lifts (including a high speed 6-pack) and a few surface lifts.

The completely treeless terrain at Turoa is open and has great variety thanks to past volcanic activity, ranging from groomed open runs, natural half pipes and gullies, to small cliffs, and a 4km long sweeping run will test your endurance and offer thigh burning pleasure!

Head to Turoa mid-week when there’s barely anyone there. Conversely, on weekends it’s often at capacity.

Turoa Snow

The resort reports that much of the landscape at Ruapehu resembles frozen waves, which gives you a bit of an idea of what the wild weather can do to the snow. Ruapehu gets the biggest rime ice anywhere in the world (lord knows why they’re proud of it), and as well as hampering lift operations, it can make for some pretty ugly off-piste riding. Turoa has a mostly southwest aspect so mornings can stay icy for a while. Days when there is lovely soft powder are rather rare, but the spring corn can be a lot of fun.

Where is Turoa New Zealand?

Turoa sits on the southwest flank of Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park on the New Zealand north island. Ohakune is the closest town, which is 18km to the southwest of Turoa. The Turoa Ski Area is 377km south of Auckland and 303km northeast of Wellington, and it’s closer to Wellington than Whakapapa.

Having a car is ideal and the drive up the mountain road is reasonably easy (for a NZ ski field). The car park often reaches capacity on busy weekends and then your only option is to catch the shuttle bus up from Ohakune.

Turoa Accommodation

Turoa has no accommodation on the mountain itself so you’ll need to stay in nearby Ohakune, or in National Park or Whakapapa Village which are closer to the Whakapapa Ski Field.


Ohakune (pronounced Oha-koo-nee) offers lots of affordable accommodation options such as backpackers, lodges and motels, and there are a couple of upscale hotels and deluxe self-contained accommodation as well. See the Ohakune accommodation page for more information.

Ohakune, the carrot capital of New Zealand, is more of a farming town than a tourist town, although it comes to life somewhat during winter. The town has a few ski and snowboard shops, various trendy cafes, and lots of restaurants. It is a far cry from Queenstown or Wanaka, so don’t expect fancy cocktail bars or extensive adventure activities.

Ohakune Accommodation Listings
No listings were found for Turoa.