New to Snow?

New to the snow? Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered with helpful hints and tips to ensure your time on the slopes is an enjoyable one. The ski season begins in June with the opening of Happy Valley and can stretch to the end of October.

What to wear

You’re heading into an alpine environment, so layers are your friend. Ensuring you have a toasty warm base layer is important, so either some good quality polyprop gear or merino wool (and there’s plenty of the stuff in New Zealand) will have you on the right track from the inside out. Go for a long sleeve top, long johns and good socks and you’re half way there.

On top you’ll want a waterproof jacket and pair of pants. Add to that a warm beanie and/or helmet, waterproof gloves or mittens and either a pair of googles or good quality UV sunglasses to wrap around your eyes and you’re set.

The weather up Mount Ruapehu can be extreme at times and susceptible to change, often quickly, so ensuring you head up prepared is important. Extra layers to put on or take off as needed are a good idea as well as carrying sunblock, plenty of food and water, though this can be purchased on the mountain and a mobile phone is also a smart move, not only for photos.

Waterproof outwear can be hired, so fear not if you don’t own your own kit, you can pick it up while sorting your skis or board. There are various places around Taupo, Turangi, Ohaukune, National Park and even on the mountain where you can pick up rental gear. Check out the Gear Hire and Sales page for more info.


If you’re an absolute beginner booking in for a lesson with the friendly Snow School team would be a wise idea. The qualified instructors will have you nailing the basics and looking the part in no time. Ask lots of questions and get yourself set for an awesome day on the snow.

Even better, Mount Ruapehu offers a range of Whakapapa and Turoa packages which include everything you need for a memorable time on the snow. Ski packages include lift passes, gear hire and lessons. This means less time hanging around and more time sinking your teeth into your new favourite winter past time. Check out the package options here.

Getting to the snow

You can drive to the ski fields or take a shuttle bus. For a no-stress day of fun, we definitely recommend taking the shuttle bus from Taupo or Turangi. The weather can change quickly up the mountain, the roads can be icy and it can snow! If you decide to drive make sure you are in a four-wheel drive vehicle and have snow chains. Find out more on our Getting to the Snow page.