Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) said its new $7.5 million chairlift at Whakapapa will be open to the public at the start of the ski season on July 2.

RAL, which operates the Whakapapa and Turoa skifields on Mount Ruapehu, said the new chairlift was its biggest investment in lift infrastructure since the installation of the High Noon Express at Turoa in 2007.

Construction of the new chairlift, which replaces the Centennial and Rockgarden Chairlifts at Whakapapa, has been underway since late December.

The lift will transport 2,800 people per hour compared with the 1,900 per hour from both the Centennial and Rockgarden chairlifts.


RAL chief executive Dave Mazey said the new chairlift would mean shorter queuing times, a more comfortable ride, ease of loading for snow boarders and foot passengers and less de-icing time due to the chairs being stored in a building overnight.

There will also be additional open days due to the lift being able to operate in stronger winds, where in the past opening would have been delayed or the mountain closed, Mazey said in a statement.