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Hiking up to the summit with the crater lake in the distance

Ski Tour the Mighty Mount Ruapehu

3 epic ski tours through the heart of the north island's most extraordinary natural feature

Ski Touring Moderate, Difficult

Hiking up to the summit with the crater lake in the distance
Hiking up to the summit with the crater lake in the distance Photo: Kyle Miller


Home to the north island of New Zealand's only glacier and ski resorts, Mount Ruapehu, is an active volcano that - as if it didn't have enough claims to fame - is also the highest mountain on the north island. Much of New Zealand is otherworldly, but nowhere more so than on the slopes of Ruapehu, where rocky, barren slopes give way to the seemingly endless green fields and hills below. It's a unique spot right in the heart of the north island, and has been attracting adventurers for decades.

The mountain is home to 2 ski resorts - Whakapapa on the northern side and Turoa on the southern side - and can be accessed from all directions thanks to the roads which ring the peak. In fact, "peak" isn't entirely accurate; Ruapehu is made up of theree separate summits - Tahurangi (2,797 m), Te Heuheu (2,755 m) and Paretetaitonga (2,751 m) - and in this guidebook, you'll find ski tours to the top of all three.

The shortest tour here is the journey to Te Heuheu Summit, which offers a fabulous and fairly straightforward descent down the mountain's north side. A long, more adventurous option is the Paretetaitonge South face to Mangaturituri Basin, a wild ski tour on the west side of Paretetaitonge, but the king line described is undoubtedly the 6 Glaciers route - a beast of a ski tour which only the fittest and most determined ski mountaineers will attempt. If you actually manage to pull that route off, you'll earn some serious street cred with the Ruapehu ski community!

The 3 routes in this guidebook were written by Kyle Miller, a vastly experienced ski mountaineer who has skied across the globe. Kyle has a taste for wild skiing, so following one of his routes is a guarantee of quality - and adventure!

Routes included