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Skiers And Boarders Set To Benefit From Upgrade

Skiers And Boarders Set To Benefit From Multi-Million Dollar Upgrade Of Mt Ruapehu

Winter is approaching, the first snow has fallen, $3.5million is being spent on upgrading Mt Ruapehu and the much awaited Season Pass offer is being made available to skiers and boarders for a brief four weeks only.

Mt Ruapehu has today announced a limited time Season Pass offer providing unlimited access to upgraded mountain slopes for the upcoming 2002 season.

For the month of April only, season passes are on sale for $279 for adults, $219 for students and $149 for youths aged 16 and under.

Mt Ruapehu is also offering a limited release Ultimate New Zealand Snow Pass for $449 for unlimited skiing on Mt Ruapehu and Cardrona.

Skiers and boarders visiting Mt Ruapehu this winter will benefit from the largest single investment Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) has made on the mountain for 10 years.

"This year marks our second season operating under the combined Mt Ruapehu brand and the $3.5 million investment indicates the company's confidence in the future of the ski areas," says Mike Smith, Mt Ruapehu Marketing Manager.

"Major activity is currently taking place on both sides of the mountain in preparation for the 2002 season. At Whakapapa we have an exciting redevelopment of Happy Valley underway and are constructing extensive snowmaking facilities for the Rockgarden ski area. Turoa is having a major seating upgrade of the Giant Café and also a complete refit of the High Noon T-bar".

Beginners will be pleased to hear that the first chair lift installation since the High Flyer was installed a decade ago is currently taking place at Happy Valley with the rope tows being replaced by a double chair lift. Happy Valley is also being increased in size by 33% and levelled so that less snow is required to make the area skiable. The platter lifts are also being relocated.

The Rockgarden is receiving an extensive snow making system which will see 2 intermediate trails open early in the season. Twenty-five snow guns together with permanent water pipes and a 28 million litre supply reservoir are currently being constructed. RAL plans to create a third Rockgarden trail and expand to 35 snow guns in 2003.

"The Rockgarden is a significant and exciting stand alone ski area providing fantastic intermediate skiing and boarding. Ensuring that it benefits from snow making is a major priority and skiers and boarders will notice a huge improvement to the area this season," says Mike.

Mark Davies, Department of Conservation (DoC) Area Manager at Mt Ruapehu says DoC has been working closely with RAL over the past five years planning the redevelopment of Happy Valley and the snow making project at the Rockgarden.

"These are fantastic projects for the ski area and the mountain as a whole. The Happy Valley project includes a five-year restoration of the valley floor in tussock and the Rockgarden snowmaking project includes taking major electrical and telecommunications cables underground into the trenches created for the snow making pipes.

"The developments are a great step forward for the mountain and ski areas."

RAL has put in place 10-year upgrade plans for Turoa and Whakapapa, with a priority on snow making, a range of new lifts and other improvements such as new restaurants for the ski areas.

Those who don't make the most of the Season Pass offer in April will have to pay $579 for an adult pass, $519 for students and $449 for youths from May 1 onwards. Season passes can be purchased online at www.mtruapehu.com, or by phoning 0508 Ruapehu (782 734).

Season Passes (on sale 2 - 30 April 2002)
Ø Adult $279
Ø Students (full time) $219
Ø Youths (16 and under) $149
Ø Ultimate New Zealand Snow Pass $449 (limited to 1500)

Ends

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