“I’ve told the North Island ski operators more than once that things are going to become marginal fairly quickly…The further south you are and the higher up the mountains you are, the colder it is, so the longer you can keep going.”-James Renwick, Climate Scientist and Professor at the Victoria University of Wellington.
It has been an underwhelming winter for the ski resorts on the North Island of New Zealand. With a lack of snowfall, two of those ski resorts are nearing total financial collapse. On Tuesday, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, which runs Tūroa and Whakapapa ski fields, announced that they were entering voluntary administration. According to Thomas Reuters Practical Law, this is when a federal administrator is hired by a company to help them during a situation of financial trouble. In American terms, they’re entering bankruptcy. Whakapapa will remain open through October 24th, but Tūroa is closed for the season due to a lack of snow. An official statement from Mt. Ruapehu is below.
This follows an article from the Associated Press, which detailed that Mt. Ruapehu Alpine Lifts was struggling financially after a lack of snow this winter. While the mountains are known for quality spring skiing conditions due to their typically deep snowpack, that has not been the case during this season. Tūroa struggled to stay open throughout the winter, as rainfall was prevalent.
The ski field has fifty snow guns, but it’s not a significant enough snowmaking fleet to keep terrain open in challenging circumstances. Add in the two prior years that were impacted by Covid-19, and it makes sense that Mt. Ruapehu is entering voluntary administration. Last year, the nonprofit that runs the ski fields lost $6 million, which increased its debt to $30 million. It’s a concerning trend, and it puts into question whether ski resorts on the North Island of New Zealand have a viable future.
Image Credits: Mt. Ruapehu