Those in the tourism sector in the Ruapehu district are also having to adapt to the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

Under level 2 Mt Ruapehu ski fields remain open but restrictions have been put in place.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts chief executive Jono Dean said it was asking mountain visitors to practise social distancing and good hygiene, to wear gloves and scarves and buy passes online in advance and get them at the Click and Collect machines on the mountain.

He advises people to stay home if they are sick as pre-purchased tickets are valid for any day during the season, but if they are well enough to visit the mountain to then scan the QR code on arrival.


"As long as everyone sticks to the guidelines visitors will be able to enjoy the rest of the winter season safely," Dean said.

RAL's new bookable parking system will now be operating seven days a week to help manage visitor numbers, but numbers are restricted.

Dean said the numbers were restricted to 1800 at Whakapapa and 1000 at Turoa.

"The road is staffed and monitored up to 4pm every night and we need all guests to indicate their approximate time of arrival."

All food and beverage venues are exhibiting all Ski Association of New Zealand-developed protocols to support their sales and service, which includes physical distancing and increased cleanliness of facilities.

They have also implemented QR scanning into their venues.

Dean said they are unable to advise at this point what alert level the country would have to move to for the ski fields to close.

But he said they are pleased with the work they have undertaken in conjunction with the Ski Industry Association to operate in alert level 2.


"The ski fields, the visitors they attract and the people that RAL employs are a valuable contributor to the local economy. RAL currently employs over 400 people involved in delivering the winter 2020 season."

He said they have not discussed season passes at the moment if the ski fields were to close but said at the moment they have over 70 days of the season remaining for guests to enjoy.

Biking around the district has still proven very popular throughout the winter. Photo / Supplied
Biking around the district has still proven very popular throughout the winter. Photo / Supplied

Will Papple, co-director of Rocky Mountain Chalets, said they have had 31 cancellations from Auckland on Wednesday but these cancellations have opened up a new market and people from Wellington and Napier have booked in their place.

After all the cancellations and rebookings they only had six chalets free for the weekend.

He said he is relying on the mountain being able to stay open under alert level 2, because they will also have to close if it escalates to alert level 3.

"The best snow is the spring snow which will start to come on at the end of this month."


But he said despite the snowfall not being the best so far this season, the majority of visitors have never been to the mountain before.

"You can't go on a plane now or go anywhere so they've decided to come and have a look here and it was the bulk of it after the original lockdown, what we had here was first-timers predominately."

He said in regards to hygiene practices, they are fortunate as they are not a traditional motel or hotel as the chalets are individual houses with their own driveways and accesses.

"It's a massive advantage because the hygiene system ticks all those boxes."

He said he is quite happy with where they are sitting coming out of the lockdown.

"The biking is still huge here as well, it's not just stuff up the mountain, with the skiers every second car has got four or five bikes attached to the back of it."