Four hundred Kapiti Coast and Horowhenua residents are the co–owners of the Levin Waiopehu Tramping Club ski lodge on Mount Ruapehu. The lodge sleeps 32 in warm carpeted bunkrooms and sits with brilliant sweeping views just six minutes walk above the Whakapapa ski field car park.
"The beauty of the lodge for families is the fact that we can come with young children, and enjoy home comforts within minutes of the ski fields," says lifetime club member, Anya Rowe. "I have been coming here all my life and our family joined the club when my mother was only four, making this our family's holiday home," she says.
Many of the Kapiti families involved with the club are now into the 3rd or 4th generation of club members, and it has been great to grow up with those Kapiti families.
Club members enjoy discounted accommodation and all tariffs including breakfast and dinner. The lodge is also available to the public, through bookings at firstname.lastname@example.org. School groups are catered for at $25.pp per night for primary and $35.00 per night secondary.
In summer the National Park opens up with a whole new range of activities at the doorstep for trout fishing, Tongariro Crossings, tramping, kayaking and rock climbing enthusiasts to stay. Self catered summer school trips are $15.00 per night for primary and $25 for secondary age groups.
When the lodge was built in the early 50's it was only the second building erected on the Whakapapa side of the mountain and over the 70's and 80's it was extended into the big cosy facility it is now. The lodge features a walk-in drying room, two lounge areas, sauna room, brand new kitchen for communal catering, and onsite custodian's apartment. Ski days start with a weather check looking up to the brilliant upper skifields, and a big cooked breakfast.
The best time of the day is the exhilerating home runs down Tenants Valley or through from National Downhill runs. To get the best of them, youngsters from the lodge have been known to sneak away from their parents around 2.30pm, up to the top of Te Hau Hau Valley, the highest lift. Then skis off and walk up to the crater to get the best of the homerun well over an hour of hardout downhill skiing to the back door.
Where else in New Zealand can you step out of your skis and boots into a carpeted lounge for a cup of mulled wine? Or a glass of wine at the snowbar usually carved in the snow on the front deck to swap action stories from the day. For families who just can't take a another day of sunshine and deep powder snow, the hot pools at Tokaanu half an hour away or a day trip to Taupo are on the cards.
For booking information, a look at membership, or to book your group into Kapiti's own ski lodge check out our website www.lwtc.org.nz