The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

On a good win­ter’s day there is no bet­ter place to ski in the North Is­land than the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. And in spring there is no bet­ter place in the coun­try. Ski­ing and snow-board­ing are still the No 1 pas­sions for lo­cals and win­ter vis­i­tors. Ski­ing even has a place in the school cur­ricu­lum and kids at the Ohakune pri­mary school have a school ski team. Ohakune grew up as a ski town. Mike Smith, Visit Ruapehu man­ager, was lured by snow­board­ing. He was be­hind Turoa Ski Field’s suc­cess­ful mar­ket­ing cam­paign that promised every baby a free pass to the slopes. He loves the pas­sion and en­ter­prise based around the white stuff. The two main ski fields – Whaka­papa and Turoa – of­fer huge snow-filled basins, groomed trails, se­cret pow­der stashes and steep chutes. There are op­tions for ex­pe­ri­enced skiers and new­bies. Those who don’t want to strap planks on their feet can ride the chair lifts or sip hot cho­co­late in a moun­tain café. “Ski­ing is one of the things a fam­ily can do to­gether,” says Mike. “Go­ing to the moun­tain with your mum and dad is much cooler than go­ing to the mall.” mtru­­ter/ski-ar­eas; vis­itru­

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