15 Oct 2012

Ski instructor believed to have slipped on rocks

8:58 pm on 15 October 2012

The Mount Ruapehu ski operator says an Italian instructor found dead on the mountain on Sunday appears to have slipped on rocks.

Elias Hofer was last seen leaving work at the Whakapapa ski field on Thursday heading towards a rocky area of the mountain known as the Pinnacles.

The alarm was raised on Saturday when people at the backpackers' accommodation where the 25-year-old was staying realised that he was missing.

Whakapapa ski field area manager Steve McGill says Mr Hofer was found outside the skiing boundary.

The instructor had been working at the North Island ski field since July this year. He had a day off on Friday and the people he was staying with assumed that he was away.

Mr McGill says all new staff go through a full safety briefing which involves the dangers of skiing or walking alone on a mountain.

The Pinnacles is a steep, rocky ridge to the side of the main piste at Ruapehu which is used only by expert skiers.