A number of cars had to be abandoned on Mt Ruapehu overnight on Tuesday as skiers and snowboarders were caught out by the speed of a front bringing heavy snow to Whakapapa.
The day started out clear and dry, with a good forecast before a rapid change during the afternoon. By the evening, a fresh fall of snow had left the mountain road impassable to two-wheel-drive vehicles without chains.
The general manager at the ski field, Dave Mazey, says people whose vehicles were stuck were transported to their accommodation.
Others borrowed snow chains and took between 60 minutes and 90 minutes to complete what is normally a five-minute journey.