The ski fields on Mt. Ruapehu are still standing.

After fears that the two ski fields Mt. Ruapehu would not open this winter due to it entering liquidation last week, RNZ reports that the Government of New Zealand has issued a loan of NZ$5 million to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.

This has allowed them to open for the 2023 winter season. Whakapapa opened July 1st but only had their sledding hill operational. They opened the Happy Valley chairlift a couple of days later. Tūroa opened for the season on July 3rd with the Alpine Meadow platter and carpet lifts currently operating.

In case you’re new to the New Zealand ski scene, here’s some more context about Mt. Ruapehu. Most of the major ski resorts exist on the South Island, including Cardrona, Mt. Hutt, and The Remarkables.

The only major ski resorts to exist on the North Island are Whakapapa and Tūroa, which are located on Mt. Ruapehu. While they’re technically close to each other, the drive between the two ski resorts is a little over an hour. Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, which operates Whakapapa and Tūroa, entered voluntary administration last winter due to a warm winter. When they filed for voluntary administration, they had NZ$45 million in debt. In a report from earlier in June, this debt has skyrocketed to NZ$81.6 million.

Before going into liquidation, New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) recommended that two separate entities, Whakapapa Holdings, and Pure Tūroa, would run the mountains separately, giving 25% ownership of each entity to the government.

According to Newshub, the creditors couldn’t come to an agreement, meaning that Ruapehu Alpine Lifts is now in liquidation. Dave Mazey, who is the Whakapapa Holdings Chief Executive, still believes that they’ll be able to secure a deal to operate the ski field.

During this liquidation process, a new party has entered the bidding. Te Ariki Tā Tumu Te Heuheu from Tūwharetoa has expressed interest in taking over the mountain.

Kiri Allen, who is the Regional Development Minister, described the importance of this loan:

“Ruapehu is a very significant part of the economy in the central North Island, accounting for around a tenth of regional GDP, or $100 million per year. The season going ahead will save hundreds of jobs and support local tourism, the regional economy and the community, while a long-term solution is found.”

While Ruapehu Alpine Lifts didn’t sell season passes before this winter, many locals have lifetime passes to the two ski fields. They released their season passes for the 2023 winter on July 3rd. This week, they released pricing for this season.

The official statement from Ruapehu Alpine Lifts is below.

Image Credits: Mt. Ruapehu

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