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. Beginners are well catered for with gear hire, ski school, good learner areas and nice easy runs. The town of Ohakune is around 16km from Turoa, and is the most happening hub for après-ski good times.
The Turoa and Whakapapa Ski Areas are managed by the same company and passes cover both sides of the mountain.