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First major snowfall of the year for Mt Ruapehu

April 11, 2018:
The first major snowfall of the year has dumped on Mt Ruapehu boding well for the opening of the ski season in early June.

Mt Ruapehu Marketing Manager Matt McIvor says that both Whakapapa and Tūroa Operational Teams were kept busy this morning with the heavy snow which began falling yesterday. "Around 15-20cm of snow fell on Tūroa ski area this morning and snow was also settling around National Park with 5-10cm at Whakapapa’s Base Area.

"Early snowfall like we’ve received really gets skiers and snowboarders pumped for winter. It’s also key to help cool the mountain’s surface down for snowmaking. It’s not long until we’re operational for winter with Happy Valley at Whakapapa scheduled to open on June 2 over Queen's Birthday weekend."

Metservice is forecasting the freezing level to rise tomorrow with continued snowfall around the upper mountains of both Whakapapa and Tūroa. Chains were recommended on the Bruce Road to Whakapapa this morning and the Ohakune Mountain Road was closed from the the 3km mark at 6.30am then extended to the 13km mark after snow clearing.

Matt says the arrival of the snow is a timely reminder to buy a 2018 Season Pass, which now comes with another free taste of Switzerland.

Thanks to a new partnership all Mt Ruapehu 2018 Season and Life Pass holders can now enjoy 5 days skiing for free at Verbier-4 Vallees ski area for their 2018/19 winter season included in their Pass.

"This is a fabulous ski area and offers Mt Ruapehu Season Pass holders a fantastic ski option during the New Zealand summer. It will help considerably in saving funds for overseas ski trips and is a great value add for our pass holders," Matt says.

Linked to the 4 Vallées, Verbier and La Tzoumaz form part of Switzerland’s largest ski area with 410km of pistes offering ski touring, heli-skiing, and freeride on world-renowned marked routes.

But the joys of snow sports aren’t just for skiers and boarders – there's also walking, snowshoe, and cross-country skiing trails. And for fun, there's the longest sledge run in French-speaking Switzerland, in La Tzoumaz.

And there's more than just Verbier-4 Vallees to choose from in Europe for Pass holders. Mt Ruapehu also recently partnered with Zermatt, one of the largest ski areas in the Swiss Alps, to offer Season Pass holders two days on the slopes of Zermatt’s resorts on the Swiss and Italian Alps for the 2018/19 European winter.

Zermatt runs one of the largest ski areas in Europe with 360km of slopes, and was voted the best ski resort in the Alps in 2014 and 2016, based on a visitor satisfaction survey conducted every two years. It is also Europe’s highest ski resort, offering the best snow certainty.

The latest partnership expands on Mt Ruapehu’s existing international relationships with other ski resorts in Colorado, USA and British Colombia, Canada.

The Turoa Base area blanketed in snow Photo credit: Shaz Dagan.

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