Ruapehu Timeline

1853 – First recorded ascent of the mountain made by Sir George Grey.

1879 – First sighting of the Crater lake recorded by George Beetham and J P Maxwell.

1887 – Tukino Te Heuheu IV, paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, gifts the the summits of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu to the crown, for protection and safe keeping.

1890 – Ruapehu tourism sprouts its first seed with guides being appointed by Thomas Cook and Son to take parties to Ruapehu from Tokaanu.

1893 – Dessert Road is built connects Tokaanu and Waiouru, access to Ruapehu becomes easier.

1901 – The first recreational building on Ruapehu, the Waihohonu Hut, built.

1909 – The western side of Ruapehu becomes more accessible through the completion of a trunk railway.

1913 – Skiing introduced to Ruapehu by Bill Mead and Bernard Drake, they also form the first ski club in New Zealand, the Ruapehu Ski Club.

1919 – Government grants allocate £500 for the creation of road access to the north-western mountain face and a hut.

1920– Whakapapa takes root with the building of the Whakapapa Cottage and appropriate access track.

1923 – New Zealand’s firs ski club hut, Glacier Hut, built by the Ruapehu Ski Club at Hut Flat.

1925 – Road access to Whakapapa created via Bruce Road.

1929 – Chateu construction begins and commences.

1930 – Bruce Road extended to above the Chateau.

1932 – The Ski Council established by the Federated Mountain Clubs.

1934 – Bruce Road Extended to Lower Scoria Flat.

1936 – First Australia-New Zealand ski competition held at Ruapehu.

1938 – Systematic ski instruction begins on Ruapehu by Austrian instructor Ernst Skardarasay, first  ski town installed and breaks down after mere hours of use.

1940 – Bruce Road completed to it current track.

1945 – Series of eruptions and volcanic activity disrupt skiing and life around Ruapehu.

1947 – Rope tows built in Scoria Flat and the Rock Garden by Ted Pearse.

1948 – Post-war Ruapehu enthusiasm begins, over 30 clubs built in next 20 years in Whakapapa.

1949 – Tourist Department opens the a rope tow at the Staircase area of Whakapapa.

1953 – Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Ltd is established.

1954 – First chairlift was built and began operating at Rock Garden. YouTube Video

1955 – Staircase sees a T-bar lift installed, chairlift from Staircase to Knoll Ridge installed.

1957 – Ski Patrol headquarters built at the top of the Staircase area.

1960 – The National Downhill area sees the installation of a 1000 meter long rope tow.

1962 – First rope tow installed on the South-West slope of Ruapehu by Peter Winchombe and Rodney Winchombe.

1963 – Ohakune Mountain Road opened.

1964Happy Ski Valley Ltd commences operation in Whakapapa.

1966 – Ohakune Mountain Road extended to it current state.

1969 – Ruapehu erupts, Dome Shelter and a kiosk at the Staircase area destroyed.

1974 – Poma chairlift installed at Whakapapa.

1976 – Rockgarden receives a doubles chairlift, Iwikau Public Shelter and first aid room opened.

1978 – Double chairlift installed at the Waterfall area of Whakapapa.

1979 – Turoa ski field opened officially, T-bar installed in the Turoa High Noon area.

1981 – Te Heuheu replaces its poma with a T-bar.

1982 – Knoll Ridge replaces its poma with a T-bar.

1983 – Turoa recieves Jumbo T-bar.

1995 – Mt Ruapehu goes through series of volcanic events, large eruption occurs, continued eruption activity  forces the season to close early. YouTube Video

1996 – Mt Ruepehu erupts on first day of staff induction and training, volcanic and seismic activity continues throughout year. YouTube Video

2007 – The tephra dam caused by the earlier eruptions burst and leaves a trail of lahar across the mountain.

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