Visitor reviews for Whakapapa Ski Resort
September 08, 2017
Chris from New Zealand
Keep up all the negative comments about Whakapapa, it will keep the hoards away! Seriously though, I don't know what people complain about. We are lucky to have a place to ski that doesn't require getting on a plane, if you live in the North Island. Whakapapa has all the terrain you could wish for if you are a serious skier with good ability and are prepared to do a little hiking; there are huge wide open slopes, steep bowls and shutes and great snow if you go on the back of a weather system. There is also great challenging terrain that is lift accessed if you're prepared to do some long traverses. I've been skiing Whakapapa for 45 years and have skied at a lot of overseas resorts but I still love our home ski field.
Overall: 3.4. Based on 32 votes and 50 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Whakapapa.
Public Transport: 3.2
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Whakapapa, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Whakapapa, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 3.5
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 3.5
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Whakapapa.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.4
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Whakapapa, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Whakapapa is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Whakapapa relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.7
(1) There are no snow groomers at Whakapapa, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Whakapapa are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Whakapapa is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.8
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Whakapapa, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 3.7
(1) Whakapapa usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.7
(1) The staff at Whakapapa are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Whakapapa are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.2
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.0
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.0
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Whakapapa has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Whakapapa, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 2.9
(1) Not even a kicker at Whakapapa, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Whakapapa, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Whakapapa has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.4
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 1.9
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 3.5
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.1
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.7
(1) Overall, Whakapapa is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.5
(1) Overall, Whakapapa is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
July 25, 2017
Ted Norman from New Zealand
Went to Whakapapa Ski Field on Tuesday 18th July 2017 with the family; glorious sunshine day, a mass of visitors. There was chaos everywhere when trying to book tickets, but some staff were quite rude especially down in Happy Valley. When we asked the lady how to get tickets in the sledge area, she loudly stated, "I can't speak to you over this fence (a metal gate) get in front of me." Another area where we were waiting inside to get ski lift tickets, another of the staff confronts a group of us in line "Where are you going, I'm going that way pointing through us" It was more of the tone used in both these statements (which in my view reflected a touch of arrogance). Not wingeing just pure observation, that could reflect not good for our Maori staff.
June 20, 2017
Kane from New Zealand
Whakas....love the place; best terrain in the country, without a doubt, when it's on. Such a unique place to ski and ride. Yea, it gets nailed by weather at times but on a good day ya can't beat it. Ya can stick Qtown and their average terrain and pissed Aussies. All the whinging about weather and staff and bla bla generally comes from Aucklanders with to much money. One suggestion for them: go to Qtown!
July 26, 2016
Graham from New Zealand
This is a difficult mountain to get a good day's skiing. If its the weekend and fine then it can be very, very crowded to the point of unbearable. There are many windy days when the lifts do not run. The mountain management seem to cater for day tripping families who hire gear and go to Happy Valley. After 25 years observation I believe there is little interest in the serious skier.
It must be a hard field to manage given the unpredictable and unsettled weather that prevails.
October 26, 2015
Paul from New Zealand
An absolutely outstanding season! Best in many years. Staff were excellent. Went to Turoa twice this year; great terrain but way more icy than Whakapapa. Spent most time at Whakapapa. Black Magic was awesome, it was even wicked on the second last day of the season.
September 16, 2015
Diane from New Zealand
I love the "Magic Mountain." It is my heartland.
September 14, 2015
Simon from New Zealand
Great day at Whakapapa Sunday 13th but once again often no staff to sort lift lines and when staff were there they stand there doing nothing as people get frustrated with line chaos. Never ever seen a senior staff member cruising around checking how things are running.
September 06, 2015
Brams from New Zealand
Where do all these negative people come from? Auckland? It is amazing how dependent humans have become on the services provided by others. Once upon a time, before whinging was invented, there were no staff or facilities and our great forefathers Roy Turner and the rest never complained about walking and hiking everywhere and skied whenever the conditions allowed. These days with all of the forecasting technology and lifts and t-bars you have no right to blame bad weather or facilities for ruining your trip! On the other hand is the staff and the services which cannot be easy when you're dealing with a disgruntled bunch of pussies who sound like they have no idea about the true meaning of being in such an amazing alpine locale! Go down south all you haters, if I hear anyone complaining or being negative on my Maunga from now on I will personally escort you off the mountain so keep your disgruntled opinions to yourself and the complaints process! Stop ruining it for the rest of us and stay home or go somewhere else next time.
There's my negativity; take what you will from it but remember how lucky we are to even have a ski field at all. Kind regards, Jesse Bramley.
[note from the editor: text is omitted where direct reference to another reviewer is made. Also, particularly threatening text is removed.]
August 28, 2015
Anthony Stone from New Zealand
Skied Whakapapa for many years. Still think it is an awesome mountain. Bluebird day yesterday and it was disappointing to see staff in a hurry to close chairs and T-bars. They are advertised to be open till 4pm and as such they should be. Expensive day passes last 'till 4pm.
August 06, 2015
Aaron from New Zealand
Interesting to read the review about a child who fell off the platform on Happy Valley.
We had the exact same experience last year. Luckily everything was ok. But it seems the management and facilities at Whakapapa (just like the weather) can be pretty hit and miss.