Lifetime Mt Ruapehu lift passes are being offered for the first time in a decade as the operator of Turoa and Whakapapa ski fields embarks on a $100 million infrastructure investment programme.

The life passes, which were last offered in 2006 and go on sale online today, cost $3950 each.

The sale ends on October 10.

The lifetime pass price of $3950 would buy around 42 days skiing at the daily adult rate of $95.


Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) said a "life pass plus", which could be transferred to another person within 10 years of purchase, cost $5150.

RAL's development plans include a new quad chairlift that will replace Whakapapa's Waterfall T-bar, which will be installed this summer.

The company is also looking to build a 1.8 km long, eight-seater gondala that will run from the base area at Whakapapa to Delta Corner on the upper field.

The gondola project, which will cost up to $37 million, is part of a strategy to increase off-season visitor numbers over the summer and autumn months.

The gondola may be open in time for the 2018 ski season.

"At Turoa the company has plans for a new express lift and café to be built and installed," RAL said today.

Whakapapa's Department of Conservation operating licence was renewed in December, allowing the company to press ahead with developments on that side of the mountain.

Turoa's licence, due to expire at the end of 2022, is yet to be renewed. RAL hopes this will be resolved this year.

Watch: Mt Ruapehu feels the chill:

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts is facing an uncertain future amid a persistent decline in skier numbers and falling profitability.

"These new lift projects will be supported with investment in increased snowmaking capacity and new chalet buildings on the upper slopes of both ski areas," RAL said.

A new express quad chairlift opened on Whakapapa's lower field this winter.