Oz/NZ 2022.

I presume sbooker did not make that spring trip to NZ. As good as the South Island ski season was, the North Island's was poor with lots of rain. Mt. Hutt is the last NZ area still open.
You are correct. Got crazy busy with kids sport and had to travel a bit for that. My dad has been adjusting to a Parkinson's diagnosis too so I've been busy helping out there.
For future reference I found a site that lists open/close dates for the past several years in NZ:
Whakapapa and Turoa usually run to last weekend of October, but Turoa did not make that this year. My vague impression of Turoa being open in November is obviously anecdotal.
A few dramas at Ruapehu.
Treble Cone and Coronet Peak also seem to have fixed closing dates late Sept/early Oct. Cardrona and the Remarkables may run an extra week or two.
I believe Treble Cone's lease stipulates a certain end date. I don't know why Remarks and Cardrona don't have the same restriction.
Patrick returned to Australia. The closing weekend of Oct. 1-2 looked drizzly and sketchy, but most of his skiing was in mid-September with full coverage and good conditions. The Spencer's Creek snow depth of 232cm on Sept. 21 was the highest at any time in any Aussie ski season since 2017. La Nina is favorable to Aussie ski areas.
Patrick also got one last chance to catch Midnight Oil in concert. I caught them for the last time in May just gone. They were as good as any of the other 20 plus performances I've seen. Pretty impressive for fellows nearing 70.
A few dramas at Ruapehu.
Indeed! I wrote a fairly detailed report (sorry, no pics) for my day at Whakapapa Sept. 3, 1982. This online map (pre Sky Waka gondola) has only modest changes from 1982.

Slight overcast until 11AM, then clear and sunny, no wind. Storm cloud approached after 5PM. Conditions: 10%A, 70%B, 20%C-D

Area faces sun: hard and frozen granular early AM, excellent spring snow after sun hit. There was a storm 2 days before. Exposure would make skiing difficult in old snow. Volcanic rocky terrain 2,800 vertical. Interesting intermediate runs: nearly all on lower 2/3 of mtn have narrow chutes or traverses at some point. Upper third has 3 T-Bars (two intermediate and one advanced) with more wide open slopes. Above the top T-Bar is another 1,300 vertical like top of Mammoth but no lifts due to avalanche exposure, volcanic activity (area was closed for parts of 1995 and 1996 seasons when Ruapehu was active), and National Park environmental restrictions.

The lift system is ill designed for such a large, interesting and popular area. The middle third has one double chair (H in map above, upgraded to detachable quad). Early morning access capacity is inadequate. Intermediate National T-bar to main area requires 300 vertical hike (I'm not sure what this means. My best guess is that National was replaced by the A and B lifts which cleaned up the accessibility). The intermediate Valley T-bar is accessible only via a Cornice-like steep bowl.

Locals said snow conditions were good but coverage was slightly below average. Liftlines averaged 10-15 minutes, potentially up to an hour at key points. There are numerous expert drops, but you need to learn the area to avoid dead ends and ice patches. Access was via 1,600 vertical unpaved road (normal for NZ in my experience except for Coronet Peak). I skied estimated 17,000 vertical.

Sept. 3, 1982 was a Friday, but I recall it was going into a holiday weekend. It was tough to find lodging; we ended up at a local's rustic hostel, Mountain Max. My strongest impression was how busy it was vs. Mt. Hutt and Coronet Peak earlier in that trip. I attributed that to North Island having most of NZ's population, which makes the current financial distress somewhat of a surprise to me. However 1982 was not a good season on South Island: Mt. Hutt's steeps were all closed for icy conditions and it rained my entire day at Coronet. So Whakapapa had by far the best lift served skiing of that trip, though the highlight was blue sky and a foot of powder on the Tasman Glacier.

Here's a new map, which has as many changes from the first one (I can't find a date on that) as that first one has since 1982.

1) The F and H lifts were replaced by the Sky Waka gondola.
2) The G lift was replaced by the Rangatira Express.
3) The Waterfall T-Bar (I) was replaced by the Delta chair. The 3 highest lifts are still T-Bars, which may be a good idea on a chronically windy mountain.
Sky Waka opened in 2019 but has no mid-station so advanced skiers are forced to ski through the beginner area to the base to reload the gondola.
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