New Express chairlift for Whakapapa

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts announced in December that they will build a new chairlift this summer, following approval of their licence renewal (see separate story).

“As a result of that support we can announce the decision to replace the Centennial and Rockgarden double chairlifts with a new quad express chairlift that will run on the same line as the Centennial double chairlift. This will be completed over the summer and be ready for our customers next winter,” said RAL board chairman Murray Gribben.

“We have also purchased a used fixed grip quad chairlift which will replace the Waterfall T Bar and run on the same line. This installation is planned for the summer of 2016/17, and we plan to have it operational for the 2017 winter. Over the next few months we will be lodging applications for the necessary consents and approval.”

“Without the certainty of a licence to operate beyond 2019 the company has been unable to make   investment decisions. With the new licence and the security of tenure we are able to trigger these new investments in much needed upgrades that will meet expectations of skiers and boarders of the 21st Century. It is great news for all our stakeholders – customers, staff, shareholders and the local communities,” Mr Gribben said.

Ruapehu District mayor Don Cameron said the new licence “removes a great deal of uncertainty for the community, and we are very pleased with the outcome”.

“RAL is a key contributor to employment in the region and contributes $15 million annually to local GDP from its mountain operations as well as substantially boosting the off-mountain economy in regional tourism and recreational activities,” Mr Cameron said.

Lou Sanson, Director General of Department of Conservation noted he was “very pleased with the developing relationship between RAL and Ngati Tuwharetoa and how this is reflected in a Relationship Agreement between the two and a licence which includes the ability to earn extensions to the term”. 

“I am also excited that RAL will be continuing to offer the recreational experiences which enable many of us as New Zealanders to engage in the Tongariro National Park.”

“RAL has clear aims and aspirations for the ski area – a high quality tourism product that cements our place as the ski area most visited by New Zealanders. We are excited that, with the new licence, we can continue to make New Zealand’s best ski field even better,” said Murray Gribben.