Turoa Ski Area on the southwestern slopes of Mt Ruapehu has Australasia's longest vertical descent (722m!) and NZ's highest lift, the High Noon Express (2322m). Beginners are well catered for, with gear hire, ski school, two good learner areas and nice easy runs. The town of Ōhakune, around 17km from Turoa, is the most happening hub for après-ski frivolity.
The Turoa and Whakapapa Ski Areas are managed by the same company and passes cover both sides of the mountain.