A major chair lift at Mt Ruapehu's Tūroa skifield will be closed for at least a week after it was struck by an avalanche this morning.

The avalanche, triggered by explosives used as part of a daily routine to clear the mountain of dangerous snow packs, wiped out the High Noon chair lift at about 8.30am.

Engineers inspected the site today and confirmed Tower 15 will need to be replaced, RAL chief executive Ross Copland said in a statement.

"We are working to inspect the haul rope and other components to determine how long the repair work is likely to take. At this stage I can confirm the lift will be inoperable for at least one week."


The six-seater lift, which was built in 2007, could be closed for much longer if staff discovered the haul rope is damaged as it would take months to import a new one from Europe, he said.

HIGH NOON UPDATE (RAL CE ROSS COPLAND): This morning at Turoa an avalanche struck the top of the High Noon Express...

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

This morning's avalanche flowed through a glacial zone known as Gliding Gladys before hitting the High Noon Express chairlift.

No-one was injured and all RAL staff were accounted for.

The upper mountain was closed at both the Whakapapa and Tūroa ski areas on Monday.

Avalanche at Ruapehu damages Tūroa chairlift