Read skier and snowboarder-submitted reviews on Whakapapa that rank the ski resort and mountain town on a scale of one to five stars for attributes such as terrain, nightlife and family friendliness. See how Whakapapa stacks up in the reviews, on and off the slopes, from skiing and family activities to the après scene. Read up on pros, cons and other comments in reviews left by fellow skiers and riders. Don't forget to submit your own Whakapapa review! Scroll to the bottom of this page to let other travelers know about your skiing and resort experience.
Reviews for Whakapapa
A ski resort's overall star rating displayed here is not calculated based on a simple average but takes several factors, including the age of a review, into account.
An amazing ski resort, with breathtaking scenery, not just a small hill. Definitely underestimated, and on a good day it can be just as good as any billion dollar resort in the french alps. Even though it's not the biggest, the company has invested into world class snowmaking and lift infrastructure. Great place to ski.... Full Review
Just an appalling bad managed business and facilities. Use to visit Whakapapa regularly in early 2000s. Wow has it changed for worst. Incredibly obnoxious and rude staff, filthy and dirty over crowed facilities. Endless ques for everything from toilets through to hiring, booking. Everything is booked online but they don't staff the facilities with enough staff to cope with the masses. Tiny eateries with huge ques to access food.
Happy Valley endless ques for ski gear hire the line never got shorter in 4 hours we were there. So we decided to take kids onto Happy Valley with the snow passes we had already pre purchased. An hour after being on area up side away from any skiers or snowboarders.....a very angry and rude staff member who aggressively and rudely ordered us and some others to get off the field and go play in the carpark area. She yelled at us, this area is only for skiing and snowboarding.... I complained that there was no signage saying we had to ski or snowboard only...
She got madder and threatened to trespass us if we didn't go immediately. So we packed up with kids and promptly left.....
The first day we tried to get up the mountain we drove and were turned away they had closed the road due to all carparks bring full, open at 9am.... We arrived at 9:20am. Day 1 pass wasted as no shuttle bookings left and three disappointed children. Insufficient carpark facilities and these fill up with freedom sightseers who don't enter the facilities. Or only go to ride the over priced gondola....as there is no parking management. Once carpark is full it's one down one up rule, creating huge vehicle ques three quarters the way down the Bruce Road. This also prevent the private shuttle buses from getting to drop off points in timely manner. On bad days they close road completely and turn back everyone except the shuttles.
As result legitimate customers whom have pre-purchased passes and gear are denied access to the mountain. Just a complete and utter fiasco.
So we booked a shuttle $160 for the following day and managed to get on the mountain.
Overall it's not hard to see why the business is in liquidation. Just a poorly run setup. No communication, no signage, rude arrogant narcissistic staff. Hoards of people, dirty rundown facilities, nowhere near enough toilet facilities, bad and grossly over priced fast finger food $12 50 for chips $18 for wedges, $9.50 for pies and $8 for sausage roles.
Insufficient dinning space small and very cramped, people are crammed in shoulder to shoulder and kids get stood on and knocked over.....so we ate outside fortunately a blue sky day with no wind.
Terrible snow I mean it's just groomed ice....Climate change has ruined the mountain. Only find good powder at 1900m or above. Most slopes are closed due to insufficient snow base. Best bring your ice skates as better suited to slopes than skis. My advice would be don't go. Save your money up and visit the South Island. Both Whakapapa and Turoa have been ruined by corporate greed, inept management and extreme over crowding a with gross under investment in infrastructure poor staff training and hiring of people who have no personality of people skills. As the mountain is many through multi government agencies Department of Conservation, Waka Kotahi and Ruapehu District Council in conjunction with local Iwi creates an environment of complete chaos where nothing changes nothing improves.
New Zealanders really can no longer access this mountain as rampant tourism and sightseeing has ruined it especially with introduction of the Gondola ride.
Honestly Ruapehu Ski deserved to go bankrupt good job too. Shame government has decided to bail them out to tune of 5 million...what a waste.
Read less... Full Review
139NZ dollars lift ticket and usually this season there were only 30% of the lifts open on the mid and upper mountain. A good place for beginners.
If you are waiting in lift ques its often like that at the week end. this is a great place to ski mid week. Visibilty on the upper mountain is often best. Visitors from the norhtern hemisphere will find this quante. For the southern hemisphere this is a very good ski field. The weather does let it down as its often closed for that reason.... Full Review
Went today with 3 small kids. The lines were long (expected, school holidays). I think harder was no free play space for the kids. I know this has been limited by lack of snowfall but the areas are now very restricted. There is now no access to the learners area without a ski pass which is harder for those that need to provide a little or a lot of support for their kids. When we did manage to get onto the sled area after the hour long queue it was great with three lanes and a new covered magic carpet. The one hour limit was enough for us but might be a little short for slightly older kids.... Full Review
Lots of off piste skiing! Pretty cheap! Not to crowded once I was out away from the main lifts. Lifts which go from blue runs; Happy valley, to expert: Back Stage. I love going off piste and this is perfect. Unristriced unless high risk.
Wicked Mountain! Active Volcano!hehe on its good days its def leave you craving for more.
Best Conditions: End July - Mid Setember
Lifts:2-4 Seaters, Lots T-Bar, One beginner area Tow rope
Non Profit Mountain so don't expect perfection
If your a expert skier then this is your mountain. Its got lots to play on, natural bowls, windblown pockets of POW! Cliff drops, pinnacles range, glaciar, volacnic crater lake and hikes!
One main area for beginners but intermediate level is probaly more suitable for majority of runs.
Conditions should be compared to Whistler Blackcomb in a way, heavy wet snow. With NZ sitting smack bang out in the ocean by itself really high water content. No trees on this mounatain so when its windy, day to pass on . Its NOT in a Alps like reigon, all alone in the middle of the island.
Expect rain, fog, wind, scotland like weather every so often.
Whakapapa has many cafes with all budgets catered for. Also a pretty good shop with ski equipment, appeal. Rentals a widely avaliable on mountain, on route and near by accomdation and ski shops.
*Close by Ski areas- Turoa and Tukino.
Turoa on the southern side of the mountain is operated by RAL aswell, more trail based runs but terrain not as challenging. Ski areas are not linkedby lift so requires 30-40min drive.
Tukino ski area is very small and hard to acess. It is the eastern? side/slope of Mt Ruapehu and is a club orintated field with tow ropes. ... Full Review
I started ski-ing at Whakapapa a couple of years ago. I am a NZer from the South Island (Queenstown) and have skied in Australia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Scotland.
I agree, the night-life is pretty well non-existent at Whakapapa, but not for the entire NZ ski scene, as one reviewer suggested. I can only assume he or she has an unsociable personality, because Queenstown nightlife is a wonderful beast and has been for many decades. Anyway, back to the mountain. Some of the lifts are oldish, but others are new and more are planned - you can check this out on their website. They certainly carry a lot of skiers which is what matters, and the mountain has an excellent safety record because the staff are very professional.
NZ snow is water-heavy and so powder on our fields is a rare thing, though we call light snow powder and ski it happily. It isn't 'patchy' unless it's a bad season, which affects many ski areas at lower altitudes, which is where ours are. Whakapapa is prone to icy snow however, so you should learn how to ski on it. Everyone has to at some stage. In the late spring you sometimes ski on corrugated iron in the morning and porridge in the afternoon.
The views are spectacular and there are some great trails, some well worth hiking off-piste for, though be sure what you are doing, and if it gets misty, don't make guesses about where to go - just wait for it to clear. There are some dangerous drops.
Last time I went I skied all over the mountain, connecting with my friends easily by texting them - aren't mobile phones just great in the mountains? This year I bought a season's pass because it is cheap (just under NZD500)and because the mountain offers a good variety of terrain.... Full Review
Went to NZ last year and skied this mountain and most of the South Island...The facilities and terrain are poor,second rate and has pretty much the worst apres ski i've come across...Nice country...Just third world skiing
Lifts at this resort are slow, old and the snow is wet and patchy. It's not proper high country so doesn't really hv it's own climate. It's how i imagine skiing in ireland if they had mountains.... Full Review
;'s>?SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSs yea it was good... Full Review
Whakapapa sits on the opposite side to Turoa on Mt Ruapehu, an active volcano in the centre of New Zealand's North Island. The natural lava flow from Ruapehu ensures rolling half pipes and open bowls with steep pinnacle chutes for the daring.
There's a separate dedicated beginners area with its own lift meaning beginners need not be intimidated by those who can ride the mountain. The views while skiing are stunning with a vista that includes both plateau vista and Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings. Whakapapa is where Mordor was filmed.
The resort has over five hundred and fifty hectares of skiable terrain and is host to the Marmot Extreme Ski and Snowboard competition every September.
National Park is the nearest town, if you can call it that. The apres scene at Whakapapa is practically non existant.
Most skiers stay in the on mountain ski clubs or in the swanky Bayview Chateau. If you want more night life then stay in Ohakune and ski Whakapapa by day on the same lift ticket as Turoa.
Again, the exposed condition can mean the mountain weather can change in an instant so be prepared for down days.
If you're a free skier, you will love this mountain but like Turoa, avoid weekends unless you want to queue.... Full Review
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