New photos reveal the severe damage caused by a "significant" avalanche that struck Mount Ruapehu yesterday.

Teams are continuing to work on repairing equipment damaged at the Tūroa skifield following the avalanche.

Yesterday a major chairlift at the Tūroa skifield was damaged in the avalanche, which took place independently of controlled explosions used as part of a daily routine to clear the mountain of dangerous snow packs.

A snow groomer clears snow at the High Noon Express chairlift.
A snow groomer clears snow at the High Noon Express chairlift.

Ross Copland, chief executive of skifield operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL), said today that teams were working to pull the tower back into an upright position to allow the rope to turn.

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"Two diggers arrived on site last night and the Doppelmayr team are installing rigging equipment," he said.

"Once the tower is upright the chairs will be put back into the storage garage at the drive station.

"Work is now underway fabricating a new tower to replace the damaged one."

The six-seater lift, built in 2007, could take up to a week to fix.

Tūroa ski patrol staff inspect the avalanche scene today.
Tūroa ski patrol staff inspect the avalanche scene today.

The Turoa avalanche happened before opening hours yesterday and as a result the upper mountain remained closed to skiers.

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

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