A large avalanche set off with explosives has damaged a chairlift at Mt Ruapehu's ski fields.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts staff triggered the avalanche at about 8.30 this morning near the mountain summit as part of normal daily operations to clear the mountain of dangerous snow packs.

This morning's avalanche flowed through a glacial zone known as Gliding Gladys before hitting the High Noon Express chairlift, where engineers were now working to assess the extent of the damage.

No-one was injured and all RAL staff have been accounted for, the ski field said in a statement.


The upper mountain will be closed today in both the Whakapapa and Tūroa ski areas.

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council urged those planning trips in the area to reconsider.

"We'd have serious concern for anyone heading into the backcountry (outside of the ski field boundary) in that the current conditions are very dangerous outside the field," the council said in a statement.

"The NZAA forecast has been upgraded from Considerable to High/Don't go for Ruapehu."

The latest advisory at www.avalanche.net.nz says there is a high risk of avalanches in the Tongariro region anywhere from 1800m altitude and above.

IMPORTANT ANNOUCEMENT (RAL CE ROSS COPLAND): This morning at Turoa during routine avalanche control work a significant...

Posted by Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa & Tūroa Ski Areas on Sunday, 5 August 2018