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Topic # 240360 4-Sep-2018 09:27
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Hey all,


 


Im doing a trip with the breathers to Ruapehu for the snow on the 21-23rd of this month.


Few quick questions, how is Turoa after the avalanche? 
Is Whakapapa packed now and too many people are there?


Would we be smartest to go Whakapapa on Friday so we can spend the day there and use everything then go Turoa Saturday?


Using that logic I am guessing Friday is quieter than a Saturday so go to the good park then and Saturday when whakapapa is packed go Turoa because its half closed and people wont be going there?

Any opinions are welcome.



Cheers





 


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  Reply # 2083584 4-Sep-2018 09:43
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I have been to both Whakapapa and Turoa since the avalanche.  Most recently this weekend at Turoa.

 

Whakapapa was (predictably) very busy.  If you go that side, make sure you're aiming to be in the car parks before 8am.  I'd recommend aiming for 7:30.  Especially on a bluebird day.  The Rangatira Express was crazy.  We have life passes so are able to use First Tracks. This made all the difference on the Saturday! Was able to get up to the Knoll Ridge before everyone else.  Once you were that high up it was OK.  Later in the day I went down to Happy Valley and swapped with another parent who was skiing with her 4 yr old down there.  Thought it'd be crazy but it was OK - seen worse...far worse.  Didnt take too long to get on the Happy chair.

 

This weekend I did Turoa with my son.  I was expecting crazy queues all over the mountain especially at the Giant.  To my surprise it was actually being really well run and things werent bad at all. No worse than a typical busy day at Turoa.  What they were doing, which was great and long over due, was sorting the queues at the base for the Movenpick and Parklane before the gates.  This meant they flowed so much better.  Again, first tracks helps avoid the initial rush. I would pay the $20 myself to avoid those queues - of course your preference may differ.  What was nice was once you got up to the top of the Giant there were very few people across the mountain up there. Simply not enough chairs to get that many people up there :)

 

Pro tip: If you dont have to sit with your friends/family on the chairs use the singles lines. These go much quicker. My son (age 9) likes the independence and is competent enough to go on his own so loves it when we get split up on the chairs.

 

We're looking at a family trip later this month too (weather dependent) and will likely go the Turoa side.

 

I think your idea to do Whakapapa on the Friday and Turoa on the Saturday is an excellent one.  You'll avoid the worst of the crowds at Whakapapa.  At Turoa they've opened up as much of the mountain as they can - there's a few new tracks to explore (not long ones...mostly just joining older runs together).  With no High Noon there are very few black runs - that doesnt bother us as we're more a blue run family (my son and I will do the easier black runs). If black runs is your thing then I think you have to look at Whakapapa.  I was really impressed with the organisation at Turoa. I think the high noon being taken out has really made them look at how to shift more people around with less and they've come up with a couple simple things.  They've defintely learned and I expect they'll keep the new systems.

 

There's plenty of snow on both sides and the skiing is great (if you can avoid the crowds) at both!  I think with no High Noon lots of the advanced skiiers/boarders are heading to Whakapapa to get those black runs.




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  Reply # 2083590 4-Sep-2018 09:52
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Thank you thank you!

 

Helped greatly, Will check back in closer to the time but I think you've given me all the info we need.

Cheers

 

 





 


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  Reply # 2083597 4-Sep-2018 10:28
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The large crowds should have started to thin out by the time you go in later October, (once daylight savings kicks in the decline is quite noticeable)

 

 




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  Reply # 2083603 4-Sep-2018 10:36
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wellygary:

 

The large crowds should have started to thin out by the time you go in later October, (once daylight savings kicks in the decline is quite noticeable)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting, the less people the better!!!





 


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  Reply # 2083686 4-Sep-2018 11:20
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You are going on a boys 'skiing' trip and will actually be skiing?





Mike



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  Reply # 2083694 4-Sep-2018 11:29
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MikeAqua:

 

You are going on a boys 'skiing' trip and will actually be skiing?

 

 

 

 

They all snowboard and I am the only one that Ski's.
Probably a little bit of gliding over snow will be involved. Hopefully we can still stand by the end of it. 





 


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  Reply # 2086999 10-Sep-2018 15:29
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Coil:

 

MikeAqua:

 

You are going on a boys 'skiing' trip and will actually be skiing?

 

 

 

 

They all snowboard and I am the only one that Ski's.
Probably a little bit of gliding over snow will be involved. Hopefully we can still stand by the end of it. 

 

 

I've head to Whakapapa roughly every 2nd weekend of the season. Too bad you are going on one of my 'off' weekends, but at least I can stay out of the way of ya mongrel snowboarder mates :-)

 

Good summary by @nzkc I was interested to know about how it goes without the high noon. Been ages since I was there but suspect that lift being out cuts out a lot of the best terrain over there.

 

I would back up the recommendation to get up there early if you want to drive up as on busy weekends the car parks are full by 8:30 and you have to go back and catch a shuttle which costs you half the morning.

 

Alternatively the shuttle from Nat Park is dirt cheap and gets you to the top turn around area so no walking just make sure you are first in line and they only run on a schedule - see mtruapehu.com for schedule.

 

Be prepared for no skiing due to bad weather. They've been mostly shut for the last 10 days! 

 

Not withstanding weather, week days are soooo much better than weekends if you can do that.

 

If Whakapapa has good weather and all lifts open then you can avoid long queues once you get past the Rockgarden (and Waterfall chair in the morning). If it's crowded on the Knoll Ridge/Valley then go to the Far West and vice versa.

 

The new RAL management need to give themselves an uppercut. Things started out great last year but some stuff this year has been abominable. If they get a storm they are way too slow getting open the next day. Dicking around digging out lifts and doing avalanche control is the excuse. Well in that case they need to get started at 5am on 8am.

 

Their lift queue management is appalling. Most of the time nobody is managing the maze so it's a scramble to get on the chairs. If they bother to allocate a liftie to organise 4's out of the maze (sometimes they do) it works so much better.

 

At the end of the day the queues for the shuttles are very long. They're basically forcing people into them and charging for it, then they should do a better job and run more of them to reduce this wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2087050 10-Sep-2018 17:08
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kryptonjohn:

 

If Whakapapa has good weather and all lifts open then you can avoid long queues once you get past the Rockgarden (and Waterfall chair in the morning). If it's crowded on the Knoll Ridge/Valley then go to the Far West and vice versa.

 

The new RAL management need to give themselves an uppercut. Things started out great last year but some stuff this year has been abominable. If they get a storm they are way too slow getting open the next day. Dicking around digging out lifts and doing avalanche control is the excuse. Well in that case they need to get started at 5am on 8am.

 

 

Whakapapa has always struggled to get people up the mountain first thing, and there have been many a blue sky day when it has been quicker to hike up to hut flat than to wait in the queues for the Centennial/Rockgarden

 

The Rangitira Express was  good start and the new Gondola will help even more ( although the removal of the Waterfall Express with bring new challenges are it will force people to ski back to the bottom rather than being able to ski the Knoll or Valley T and then the Waterfall chair together)

 

In regard to their performance after storms, they have been called "Ready After Lunch" for decades for this very reason , its not new.... :)


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  Reply # 2087053 10-Sep-2018 17:16
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As much as the goldola will be cool, I'd be happy if they saved that gondola money and spent it on improvements to car parking, customer service and lift management instead. Losing the waterfall express is a pain - I stay at the RSC Lodge or Hut at Hut Flat so now will have to ski down to the gondola in the morning to make it up to Knoll Ridge. The waterfalls and staircase are some of my favourite runs, and now won't be able to ski them without skiing to the bottom of the rock garden. Boo hoo!

 

 


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  Reply # 2090506 14-Sep-2018 10:43
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Further to the removal of the Waterfall Express - this was a big issue for our ski club (based at hut flat) as I mentioned above. Initially the club asked the members to formally object to the plan due to concerns about the gondola proximity to our buildings and the loss of the Waterfall Express access to the upper mountain. However after meetings with RAL the club reversed this position as RAL allayed their gondola concerns but more significantly, explained plans to replace the Waterfall Express with the "Knoll Ridge Express" chair from hut flat to the upper mountain. Looks to me like it is a re-start of an older plan for a chair to the Restful Rocks area near the top of the knoll ridge t-bar.

 

Specifically:

 

"Looking further ahead to the Knoll Ridge Express project, RAL have undertaken to:

 

  • Specify performance requirements in the tender for the Knoll Ridge Express which are expected to result in 70 - 80 operational days each season. 
  • Provide better access from the top-station, down through the Gut, thereby substantially improving access at time of low visibility. This will further improve skier safety and reduce weather caused closures.
  • Request approval for earthworks that will widen the Dog Leg trail, improving skier safety and reduce congestion.
  • Request approval for the re-engineering of the Nosedive and surrounding slopes to mitigate the concern that these slopes will otherwise become points of congestion once they serve increased traffic flows from the Knoll Ridge.
  • Increase grooming and provide snowmaking to provide alternatives to the Waterfall slopes."

So a massive win for us.

 

 


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  Reply # 2090593 14-Sep-2018 11:50
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kryptonjohn:

 

Further to the removal of the Waterfall Express - this was a big issue for our ski club (based at hut flat) as I mentioned above. Initially the club asked the members to formally object to the plan due to concerns about the gondola proximity to our buildings and the loss of the Waterfall Express access to the upper mountain. However after meetings with RAL the club reversed this position as RAL allayed their gondola concerns but more significantly, explained plans to replace the Waterfall Express with the "Knoll Ridge Express" chair from hut flat to the upper mountain. Looks to me like it is a re-start of an older plan for a chair to the Restful Rocks area near the top of the knoll ridge t-bar.

 

 

I noticed the reference to the "knoll ridge express" going to hut flat in RAL's planning docs, this was the first time I had heard of it going all the way down, so I did some digging and found this from Cheal (RALs planning consultants and engineers)

 

https://www.ruapehudc.govt.nz/our-services/district-plan-and-resource-consents/resourceconsents/Documents/Statement%20of%20Evidence%20-%20Ella%20Tennent,%20Cheal%20Consultants.pdf

 

"RAL’s Indicative Development 10 Year Plan (Facility Management Plan) is attached. It is proposed to replace the Knoll Ridge T-bar with a new 6 seater chairlift (the Knoll Ridge Express Chairlift) that commences at Hut Flat where the Waterfall Express Chairlift currently starts, and terminates where the Knoll Ridge T-bar ends. It is proposed to construct the Knoll Ridge Express Chairlift four to six years after the gondola is constructed. Accordingly there is only a short term loss in facilities, with the removal of the Waterfall Express Chairlift, before a substantial upgrade is undertaken. RAL already has resource consent to replace the Knoll Ridge T-Bar with a chairlift on the same alignment and we will be lodging an application before this ski season to vary that consent to allow the chairlift to extend down to Hut Flat. The plans have been discussed with Tangata Whenua and RAL have received their support for the updated Indicative Development Plan which identifies this change in scope. Engineering for the gondola has been undertaken in conjunction with engineering for the Knoll Ridge Express Chairlift to ensure that the lift alignments are compatible"

 

The last time the "knoll ridge chair" proposal was floated, they were looking to remove the valley T at the same time, so I suspect this will happen with this new proposal..

 

They just need to make sure that the new lift is high enough so the valley Traverse can get you across to the Pinnacles, otherwise you will lose access to Front and Back Stage :(

 

 


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  Reply # 2090636 14-Sep-2018 13:00
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Good work tracking that down. Having fallen down the cliffs below the "policemen" into broken leg gully once, I don't do backstage anymore... unlike a cat I only get one life!

 

 


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  Reply # 2090654 14-Sep-2018 13:46
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kryptonjohn:

 

Good work tracking that down. Having fallen down the cliffs below the "policemen" into broken leg gully once, I don't do backstage anymore... unlike a cat I only get one life!

 

 

Policeman's is great run in a good snow year, (but as you say the traverse can be sketchy, esp with Ruapehu boilerplate powder )

 

In the "good old days" you could use the pinnacles platter to get enough height to get back to the chair....  now you would have to hike back




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  Reply # 2092937 19-Sep-2018 07:31
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Thoughts on this idea still boys?

Weather for thursday-Saturday doesn't seem to be on my side?





 


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  Reply # 2092943 19-Sep-2018 07:57
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If this report holds it will be above average:

 

https://www.mtruapehu.com/whakapapa/report

 

But forecasting accuracy for this area is hopeless. My daughter has been down there for North Island Secondary School ski racing - and racing cancelled Monday and Tuesday. Looks to be all go today which means they'll only get one day of races instead of the two required for a full programme.

 

 

 

 


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