Clear blue skies and weeks of snow drew crowds of people to Ruapehu's slopes today but as carparks hit capacity some punters were frustrated by an apparent lack of alternative transport.

At Turoa, snow junkies faced massive queues at chairlifts with waiting times in excess of half an hour to get up the mountain on the Movenpick chairlift.

With the upper mountain inaccessible as the High Noon Express six-seater chair remained closed due to avalanche concerns, skiers experienced congestion on the lower slopes and long queues, especially at the Giant chair with waits of up to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, Bruce Road up to Whakapapa was closed as carparks became full.


"If you are heading to Whakapapa, there are shuttle services heading up, from park and ride locations in National Park and Whakapapa Village," a post on Mt Ruapehu's Facebook page said this morning.

However, subsequent comments suggested the alternative transport was unable to cope with the numbers.

"I've been waiting in the queue for a shuttle at Whakapapa village for an hour and there's only been 2 buses and none of them yours," wrote one unhappy traveller. "Where are the buses??!!"

"Still here waiting over hour and a half with only 3 buses operating! You knew it would be busy today why have you not catered for this?," wrote another.

"Apologies for the delays, the buses will be down as soon as possible," replied Mt Ruapehu Whakapapa & Tūroa Ski Areas.

Ruapehu has been hit by multiple storms and blizzards over the last few months, bringing with it a heavy dumping of snow.

In the past week there's been 13cm of snowfall on the upper mountain for a 259cm base and 7cm on the lower mountain for a 151cm base, according to the Ruapehu Alpine Lifts website.

"It's a beautiful, busy day up on the maunga, with bright blue skies gracing us again!" Mt Ruapehu's Facebook page boasted.

The new gondola - the Sky Waka - runs across freshly groomed runs on Whakapapa, Photo / Supplied
The new gondola - the Sky Waka - runs across freshly groomed runs on Whakapapa, Photo / Supplied

The new $25 million Sky Waka Gondola at Whakapapa has been a key attraction, along with upgrades at the ski area cafes and facilities and the ski season is expected to extend to October 28.

Mt Ruapehu's Sky Waka gondola gets a $1.5m boost from BayTrust