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Thousands Head Up Mt Ruapehu Over Long Weekend

Just over 2,000 people headed up Mt Ruapehu over the long weekend to sightsee and ride the Sky Waka.

RAL CEO Jon Dean says, “It was great to welcome the first winter 2020 guests to the mountain and receive such great feedback from a lot of kiwis who had never discovered our region previously. Our team’s focus now turns to getting ready to open both Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields, hopefully on July 1.

“We’re planning to open the ski areas this season every day the weather permits with top to bottom skiing and riding, but not all lifts are able to operate due to COVID-19 affecting preparation, maintenance and staff hiring time lost during the lockdown.”

The value of the new Sky Waka in attracting more visitors to the mountain and the region was reflected in this success of Queen’s Birthday weekend. Last year without the gondola operating 898 people visited over the long weekend, this year the total was 2,052.

“This highlights the value of Sky Waka to the entire region with visitors not only heading up the mountain but also boosting the local economy with accommodation, food and other sightseeing spend,” Jono says.

He adds that the long weekend was a good opportunity to run through the procedures around the COVID-19 Level 2 restrictions currently in place on the mountain before the ski areas open, including social distancing for queues and on the Sky Waka, which was loaded in travel ‘bubbles’ or limited numbers. What Alert Level will apply when the ski areas open is not yet known, however there is cautious optimism New Zealand has done a great job at keeping it under control.

For more information visit: https://www.mtruapehu.com

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