Visitor reviews for Whakapapa Ski Resort

Whakapapa Ratings

Overall: 3.3. Based on 39 votes and 54 reviews. Vote

Snowsure: 3.1

(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.

Variety of pistes: 3.9

(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.

Off-piste: 4.1

(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.

Scenery: 4.2

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Access: 3.4

(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: 3.1

(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.

Accommodation: 3.5

(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: 3.4

(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: 3.2

(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.

Childcare: 2.7

(1) There are no child care facilities at Whakapapa, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowmaking: 3.4

(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: 3.6

(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.

Shelter: 2.1

(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: 2.7

(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: 3.6

(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: 3.6

(1) The staff at Whakapapa are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Whakapapa are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 2.9

(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: 3.9

(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.

Beginners: 3.5

(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.

Intermediates: 4.0

(1) No intermediate terrain at Whakapapa, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 4.4

(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: 2.8

(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.

Cross-country: 2.5

(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.

Luge/Toboggan: 2.6

(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: 3.2

(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.

Eating: 3.1

(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.

Apres-Ski: 2.6

(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: 1.8

(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.

Entertainment: 2.7

(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: 3.4

(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: 2.8

(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): 3.5

(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): 3.2

(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.

Show all 35 ratings

September 07, 2013
Todd Sisson from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
Love the place. Have skied a lot of different ski areas, both Northern and Southern Hemisphere, and Whakapapa I rate as one of the best, the place rocks.
August 05, 2013
Tom Ryan from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
I don't know where another reviewer got their ideas from because in 35 years skiing Whakapapa I have really enjoyed this field. The staff are friendly and great and go through thorough training in customer relations. I would rate them the best in NZ. The ski field is actually owned by a charitable company, all profits going back into the ski field. While you do need a good covering of snow to cover the volcanic rocks, on a good day there is no place I would rather be skiing in New Zealand.
August 04, 2013
Michelle George from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
One of the best ski fields I have ever been to! Customer Relations were so helpful! Really looked after me and my kids. F&B staff were so friendly, and the prices were very reasonable. The Lifties were so good with the kids, they loved it! The excitement on their faces... We had such a good day. Thank you Mount Ruapehu and keep up the great work!
July 25, 2013
Margi from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
This is a truly magical place on a sunny winter or spring day. There is nothing quite like skiing on an active volcano. I love Whakapapa and have never got sick of it in 30 years of skiing.
October 03, 2012
jayden connor from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
One of the worst ski resorts in the world. Monday appears to be the closing day. The only way to enjoy the mountain is on a sunny day with no wind, no people and 3 mt of soft snow. Even the beginner area is covered in rocks! There is a complete lack of any sort of organisation. The owners usually smoked in front of the kids on the slopes. The staff are mostly recruited from backpacker hostels!
October 10, 2011
Robert from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
I came to skiing late in life and I LOVE (!) Ruapehu. This is my 10th season. There is usually heaps of snow right through to October and a good variety of runs to choose from. Just 4 hours from both major cities with comfortable budget priced accommodation available. I prefer Whakapapa to Turoa because the weather is more reliable and there seems to be less ice around. I remember the big (4m+) snow of 2008 when you could hardly see some of the mountain lodges. In snow like this there are places where a beginner/intermediate can get a confidence boost: Broadbents (Turoa) and Tennants Valley (Whaka). Far West (Whaka) is nice but beware of ice. The "road" at the bottom of Clarry's Track, Turoa is where inexperienced skiers and boarders must use, so out of control riders need serious management. This was by-passed this year with an excellent chute under the chair-line, landing you right at the base of the lowest chairs. One grumble is the uphill slog from the Centennial chair to the lower mountain runs. Not so bad in a tail wind! A great feature of both fields is the free season pass for 70-year-olds. I'm going on 69 now and living for that day!
September 04, 2011
Rick Powell from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
I have skied at Whakapapa and Turoa for over 30 years and have had more than my fair share of run-ins with snowboards and skiing with 2 small kids. However, I must say the behaviour this year has been excellent. The staff both sides are amazing and a credit to such a service orientated industry.
September 03, 2011
Mia from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
Whakapapa is an awesome ski field and I have had many amazing days there over the last 30+ years! Unfortunately, it has a few things that let it down. The weather is unreliable. The lifts are not up to date and there are too many T-bars. There is no where to go for a learner to move on to once they have mastered Happy Valley now that the platter up the top has been stupidly taken out. However, along with Treble Cone it is the best ski field in New Zealand and Happy Valley is the best place in the world to learn to ski. I have skied in Europe and the US, but I still love to ski Whakapapa.
August 28, 2011
Matt from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
We're on Whakapapa every 2nd weekend throughout the winter and it's fantastic! I agree there's a few idiots out there (both on skis and boards) but you're going to find that anywhere. There are 2 or 3 runs that are almost always packed but if you go hunting it's easy to find another run all to yourself.
August 28, 2011
william Mennie from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
We've had a great few days at Whakapapa and Turoa so far this season, but I'd have to say Turoa road management is well below par, they need to sort it out. [note from the editor: our aim is to keep the reviews directly relevant to the services/facilities at the ski fields.]