Wellington Scoop

First snow on the hills, a blanket of snow on Mt Ruapehu

As Wellington looked out at snowfalls on the hills today, reports from further north described much heavier falls.

Press Release – Mt Ruapehu
Mt Ruapehu is blanketed in snow. Snow is covering the upper mountain, and today is falling to 800 metres at National Park on the Whakapapa side and in Ohakune on the Turoa side. Snow continues to fall, with more forecast to arrive throughout the week.

Mt Ruapehu General Manager – Operations, Chris Thrupp says the Mt Ruapehu team is gearing up for the season which is scheduled to start on Saturday 29 June.

“Winter has well and truly landed, and it’s awesome to see. There is about 10cm of snow at the base area of the mountain and around 20cm on our upper slopes. We also estimate there will be upwards of 25cm stashes of snow in places up the top,” says Mr Thrupp.

“We’re experiencing a very timely pre-winter storm and a promising change in the weather systems. It’s perfect weather for snowmaking, and the snow guns are firing at Happy Valley, Whakapapa’s beginner area. The cold temperatures mean we will be able to continue making snow later into the week which is what we need leading in to the winter season.”

“It’s an incredible sight when the clouds roll away to reveal Mt Ruapehu covered in snow, from top to bottom,” he says.

Annah Dowsett, Mt Ruapehu Customer Relations Manager says the communication channels are red-hot, with Mt Ruapehu customers excited to hear more news of the snowfall.

“Whether you want to experience the snow for the first time this winter, or are a regular at the mountain, get ready for some serious fun at Mt Ruapehu this season.”


News from NZTA
The NZ Transport Agency is reminding drivers heading along State Highway 1 on the Desert Road to take extreme care as more snow is forecast overnight. NZTA’s state highway operations manager, Karen Boyt says wet and icy road conditions are expected with more snow and drivers should adjust their speed when travelling through the area.

“Driving is much more challenging when the road is slippery, travelling at a lower speed and ensuring greater travelling distance when following another vehicle will ensure you get to your destination safely.”

Ms Boyt says the Desert Road is currently open, but with winter now upon us conditions change so drivers need to check before they set off on their journey.

“We have an 08004HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) free phone number drivers can call to find out if there are any delays, road closures or what the road conditions are like. This information is also available on our website at www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic. Drivers can also report any significant road issues or hazards on this phone number or via the website link.”

She says drivers should also check their vehicle before setting off to ensure it is safe for travelling on wet and icy road conditions. “Check your tyres, brakes, windscreen wipers, lights and steering and ensure your vehicle has a current Warrant of Fitness.”

We also have another free service that drivers can subscribe to called On The Move which enables people to sign up for information about crashes, road works and driving conditions on routes they regularly use – to sign up, go to www.onthemove.govt.nz.

First snow on Rimutakas