10 Aug 2015

Stranded skiers make their way off Ruapehu

12:05 am on 10 August 2015

Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders were slowly making their way off Mount Ruapehu on Sunday night following a heavy dump of snow on the road from Turoa.

Skiers on a chairlift at Turoa ski field.

Photo: RNZ

A storm late on Sunday afternoon dumped snow on the 19 kilometre road, making it extremely difficult for skiers to drive their vehicles off the mountain.

Four-wheeled drive vehicles were slowly heading off the mountain late last night.

Snowboarder Gabi Knipe, who had been stranded in a carpark on Mount Ruapehu, said she was finally starting to be let down the mountain at about 11pm.

She was stranded in her car with around 100 others for more than five hours.

Ms Knipe said the only contact they had had with skifield management was a visit from one official at about 7pm.

"He at that time said there had been 60 crashes of various kinds, from you know nose-to-tail situations on the mountain road further down."

Ms Knipe said four-wheel drive vehicles were allowed leave first and other two-wheel drive cars were expected to follow.

Ms Knipe said skifield staff on snowmobiles had been checking on the occupants of cars to ensure they were staying warm.

She said as workers cleared the roads, cars had been travelling down the mountain and skidding into each other, with scores of accidents.

An ambulance spokesperson said emergency services were called at about 5.30pm after one person was hit by a skidding car and crashed into another in the carpark.

The spokesperson said an ambulance was unable to reach the person due to the conditions however the skifield medical centre was able to look after them until a helicopter arrived.

They were then taken to Whanganui Hospital with moderate injuries.