Longer Ski Season Leaves Season Pass Holders Out of Pocket


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Comment Share Posted on Thursday October 23rd at 6:00 a.m.

Extending the ski season is normally hailed, but Turoa's recent extension has left season pass holders fuming.

The skifield on the south west side of Mt Ruapehu will stay open for nearly two extra weeks, but season pass holders will have to pay extra if they want to use their season pass.

Dubbed 'Snovember' by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, a day pass will cost $20 for those with a season pass, or $49 for those without.

Mt Ruapehu customer relations manager, Annah Dowsett, says the extra cost is necessary for Snovember to be feasible, and without it the season would ultimately have to end on October 27.

Though season pass holders have taken to the Ruapehu skifields Facebook page to vent their frustration, many say they have not had to pay extra when past seasons have extended, and are questioning why this one is different.

Ms Dowsett says season passes are for the "operational season", which is from the season's start date to Labour day every year. She says this year is no different - the operational season will end on October 27 and Snovember will begin on October 28.

"Does that mean season pass holders should expect a refund when you start the season late - i.e. after the normal start date for the season?" asked Alison Keir Tunley on RAL's Facebook page.


Ms Dowsett told ONE News in her 15-or-so years on the job, she can only recall the season starting "two or three, maybe five" days late.

Jeremy Matthews stuck up for RAL on their Facebook, saying: "Projected date closure was the 27th. I accept that.

"I've ridden more than my fair share of days on a season pass. Yes Snovember has traditionally been included but really people, if youre b******g about $20, think about the lifties and other staff keeping it open for you......or would you rather pay $1500 like down south?"

Skiers have until November 9 to get their fix. Ms Dowsett says the field will definitely be closing then.


EDITORS NOTE: This is not the first time that Mt Ruapehu has advertised the season's extension into November as Snovember... and a separate season from winter. Please check the conditions on your pass, you will find that they are perfectly entitled to do this under the terms that you agree with when purchasing your pass. People ask me why ski areas close so early when they still have heaps of snow. (Rainbow closed this year with more snow than they had had all season.) It is not commercially viable for ski areas in New Zealand to operate at this time of year. People start sailing, mowing the lawns and spring cleaning their houses. If you've been up the mountains at this time of year you will see that it is the best time of year because, after the snow softens, there are no queues. It is so easy to complain on Facebook but bear in mind that NZ ski areas are the only ski areas in the world that have the additional cost of maintaining the access roads. (Again a prime example is Rainbow that barely opened this year after having two major access road washouts in 18 months.) If you like modern lifts, snowmaking and groomed terrain, charging a surcharge is a financial reality.


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