A 40-year-old man is in a critical condition after going out of bounds with friends and skiing off a cliff.
The man was airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital last night after the incident at the Mangaehuehu Glacier - cordoned off due to avalanche risk - on Mt Ruapehu about 5.30pm yesterday.
It's the second time in two days that skiers have been hospitalised after a clump of ice fell from a roof onto skiers sitting outside a cafe toilet block at Turoa, while both Ruapehu ski fields are this weekend struggling to deal with the number of people flocking to both resorts due to the weather conditions.
A police spokesperson said they were yesterday notified of four people requiring assistance on the glacier after a man skied off a cliff, while a female member of the group was stuck on the cliff face.
The remaining two skiiers found their way to the injured man and emergency services were notified.
After a "prolonged" rescue effort the man was recovered using a rope system and taken to Turoa Medical Centre before being transported to Palmerston North Hospital in a critical condition.
The woman was also rescued from the cliff face with no serious injuries.
However, it's left police and other rescue services frustrated at people's behaviour.
"Due to a significant avalanche risk, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts went to huge lengths to keep people out of this area, which is outside the ski field boundary," Senior Constable Conrad Smith of National Park Police said.
"It is incredibly disappointing and frustrating that these warnings were ignored.
"Turoa Ski Patrollers volunteering their time for Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation put themselves at considerable risk.
"This incident serves as a timely reminder that ignoring warning signs not only puts your own life at risk, but also the lives of those in the rescue teams."
Meanwhile, two of the three hospitalised by the falling slab of ice were airlifted to Waikato Hospital with suspected spinal injuries and another was treated for a broken leg at Whanganui Hospital.
Another three people also suffered minor injuries.
And many punters were left angry today after experiencing exorbitant wait times.
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, there was a long wait on the lower slopes, especially at the Giant chair with waits of up to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, Bruce Rd up to Whakapapa was closed as carparks became full late this morning.