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Whakapapa, Tūroa reveal 2024 season pass prices as skifields go it alone

Author
Thomas Bywater,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 1:29pm
The Ruapehu skifields at Whakapapa and Turoa are going their separate ways this season, issuing their own individual passes. Photo / Mt Ruapehu
The Ruapehu skifields at Whakapapa and Turoa are going their separate ways this season, issuing their own individual passes. Photo / Mt Ruapehu

Whakapapa, Tūroa reveal 2024 season pass prices as skifields go it alone

Author
Thomas Bywater,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 1:29pm

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) and Pure Tūroa Limited (PTL) have unveiled how 2024 ski passes will work, now both sides of the mountain have gone it alone.

With lower-mountain passes and long-term three-season memberships, both fields are experimenting with different pass types and rates to see if they can make the 2024 season work.

A full adult season pass for 2024 at either Whakapapa or Tūroa will cost $649, a slight increase on the previous season. However, with separate operators this season with their own individual passes, a season pass comes with half the skiing of previous years.

This also represents the first price increase in two years, when a RAL anytime season pass was frozen at $599 during the receivership process.

However, both RAL and PTL have been looking at ways to attract skiers back following the financial problems encountered by the North Island ski slopes.

Included in this season’s Tūroa and Whakapapa season passes will be two days’ guest passes at each others’ slopes.

Both operators have been looking at added incentives to justify the price of separate season passes.

Whakapapa woos new skiers with lower-slope and kids’ passes

Whakapapa, whose season passes go on sale today, has looked further afield for added value. RAL has looked to a partnership with the Powder Alliance to provide three days’ complimentary skiing at partner resorts in Canada and the US.

While this is likely to appeal to only a few more adventurous snowsports fans, there are also local incentives for Whakapapa season pass holders. This includes buddy passes for money off friends’ day passes and half-price skiing at the Auckland Snowplanet indoor ski centre.

Free passes at Whakapapa for children under 10 would also greatly increase its appeal for families, says Whakapapa chief executive Travis Donoghue.

“As we kick off 2024, we are looking back to that legacy with a high focus on growing the sport into the future, so we are putting our priority with our future guests by offering free season passes to kids under 10,” he said.

There is a focus on getting a new generation on skis with a return of youth Alpine ski competitions like the North Island Primary School Ski Champs (NIPS) being held for the first time since 2019.

For beginners wanting to give snowsports a go, the ski field is also offering lower-mountain adult passes at roughly half the price of an all-mountain pass.

The new operators at Tūroa skifield are offering a new three-season long-term pass for previous RAL life pass holders. Photo / Visit Ruapehu
The new operators at Tūroa skifield are offering a new three-season long-term pass for previous RAL life pass holders. Photo / Visit Ruapehu

Whakapapa season passes are on sale from today until May 15.

On the other side of Ruapehu, PTL says its season passes will go on sale from Thursday, April 18.

Pure Tūroa offers three-year pass for RAL Life pass holders

The new operators out of Ohakune say they are excited to have finally completed their 18-month takeover bid for the former RAL skifield.

“We’ve been focused on getting ready for the 2024 season since the skifield closed last season. We’re primed to deliver an awesome season, and now we’re excited to be able to focus solely on that,” said Cameron Robertson, co-director of PTL.

PTL said they will also be releasing local rates passes and day passes soon. Children 5 and under and seniors 75 and over will be eligible to ski for free in the 2024 season.

One type of ski pass that will not return is the Life Pass - a lifetime shareholder class that was issued by previous skifield operators RAL.

Despite having thousands of special lifetime pass holders on the books, the new operator said it was not commercially viable to return to the Life Pass programme

“For a commercial company, we don’t see it as sensible to effectively sell your future revenue at a very discounted price for a short-term gain.”

Tūroa will, however, be offering extended three-year passes for existing RAL Life Pass Holders for $999 - lasting until the end of the 2026 season.

At Whakapapa RAL is offering current Life Pass holders a 30 per cent discount applied to their 2024 Season Pass purchase, but will need to buy new season passes going forward.

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here. 

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