Ruapehu 2022, to Ski or Not to Ski?
Let’s be honest, the north islands ski season this year has been absolutely rubbish. With so much rain coming through the mountains have suffered and in the long run has cost many people. Even so you can still get up the mountains, but what’s it like? And is it worth spending your hard earned money on a trip up Ruapehu? All this and much more in this Article.
If you’re anything like me the decision to take a risk on early bird season passes is a tough one, when the cost is almost a quarter of the price of a full priced season pass and unfortunately for me it was all too tempting. Now why do I say unfortunate, well it’s pretty simple, the lack of snow and unsurprisingly, the over abundance of rain. For all you people who aren’t in the know, rain on a ski field can be catastrophic. It literally washes away the snow, and makes it harder for new snow to stick.
Unfortunately this has led to a pretty lackluster season. And unless you’re a true beginner or have some confidence to try the much steeper slopes you’re going to find yourself a bit out of luck. As only the bunny slopes and the top of the mountain have really been usable this season. Honestly I can say I’m pretty lucky, I’m no expert when it comes to getting on the snow, but I’m good at taking a fall, this has meant I have still been able to enjoy myself a lot! Shorter lines, more confident riders around and just enough of a run to make it worth your while.
But let’s take a look at the nitty gritty. Having such an appalling season has to have some consequences, some of which we’ve already seen. Just a month ago Ruapehu had to sack almost 130 staff and this has two major downsides.
Firstly what it does for this season, we’ve actually had a good number of reasonable snow falls post the insanity of the rain, but now that Ruapehu has lost so many staff they are struggling to have the manpower to build trails, man lifts and allow for customer service. Just the other day I arrived on the mountain and was greeted by only one person arranging parking, compared to the normal 5 or 10, I walked into the main hub, now a ghost town only manned by one unhappy looking staff member and got onto a chairlift only manned by two staff members.
The other thing that will take a hit is next season, firstly because of the loss Ruapehu has made, over the last 3 or so years the amount of money that is missing in the tourism economy and then the poor season this year, I can’t see how costs can’t be cut and this is only half the issue. Ruapehu needs staff to run its fields, but who in their right mind is going to want to risk another poor season or some other hiccup causing them to lose their job, especially when there are a number of ski fields in the south island who’ve had a spectacular season?
But then the question that lies unanswered, how is it actually on the mountain? Well so long as you have a little confidence there’s a few wonderful runs, I have really enjoyed my time up there and can confidently say I’ve still been able to improve my skills. Whether or not it’s worthwhile making your way for a day of skiing or snowboarding, honestly it’s a hard call and with a lack of different runs it can feel pretty repetitive.
So there’s my view of Ruapehu for this season. The one thing I know is that I should’ve waited and found out where the good snow is, especially considering how many times I still would’ve had to get up to Ruapehu just couldn’t make my season pass worthwhile.