About Otaihape Alpine Club
Otaihape Alpine Club is the second-oldest club at Whakapapa. Our lodge has been a quiet presence just off the Rockgarden near the base of the ski field since 1937. We offer a family-centred culture from an earlier era in a warm, relaxed, easy-access location. The focus is on a shared, social and family activity – if you want to race, this is not the place!
Otaihape’s current lodge was built in 1974 and sleeps 20 people in three bunkrooms. The building has been updated over time but it still retains the feeling of an old style beach bach in the snow.
The living areas including kitchen, lounge, bathrooms and bunk rooms are upstairs with great views to Tongariro and Taranaki, and sightlines to the top of the ski field from the kitchen window. These spaces are electrically heated and we have a huge hot-water system to ensure hot showers whenever you choose to have one.
A drying room, workshop and storage area are located downstairs close to the main entrance to the building.
There is no wifi available through the club. Mobile data services are available through the major cell providers, but at peak times bandwidth is restricted and services can be slow. Voice and text services are generally reliable across the mountain.
The lodge can accommodate up to 20 people in three bunkrooms of 6, 6 and 8. The bunkrooms are temperature controlled at 20 degrees during the day and 15 degrees at night. Bunks have mattresses and pillows, a small reading light and a shelf for watches, glasses phones etc.
You will need a sleeping bag and a pillow cover. Additional blankets are available.
Drying room and Workshop
The drying room uses both heating and forced air movement and is really effective. Even soaking clothing will dry overnight. There are racks for boots and gloves, and plenty of hangers for outer-wear.
The Workshop has basic tuning and waxing equipment – bring your own consumables please.
Eating and drinking
The club is entirely self-catering. Anyone staying must bring their own food and drinks, and cook for themselves. This helps keep costs down and means the food is exactly what you want.
The kitchen is well-equipped with a large gas stove, microwave oven, slow cooker, toasted sandwich press, espresso coffee machine, fridge and freezer as well as pots and pans, crockery and cutlery.
Mealtimes are busy, noisy, social and relaxed. They often become a shared meal experience, but that is up to you.
Otaihape was built by farmers – as a result, we have a relaxed social drinking approach. Rowdy is out, but convivial is fine.
Late afternoon is often a time of shared snacks, wines and beers and watching the sun set. Lunches on a hot spring afternoon are a great time for a beer before you head out to challenge yourself again.
Smoking, including vaping, is only allowed outside the building.
Club life with family
Otaihape is strongly family focussed. Children are welcome and are encouraged to explore and experience the lodge and snow. Once the lifts close, Otaihape kids can often be found building snowmen, snowcaves, or jumps(!) in the valley below the lodge.
Cold or tired kids are unhappy kids. Staying at the lodge means that young children can easily take time off, warm up and rest. Parents can relax!
Teenagers get challenged – they learn to ride with other teenagers and adults from the club. Their riding quickly improves along with confidence as they explore parts of the mountain they never knew about.
Parents can take a day off – you don’t feel pressured to go on the snow because you are already in it. Have a half day if you like – the lodge is always there for you to take some time out.
Otaihape lodge is located off the Rockgarden run, 75m above the skifield’s ticket plaza. You can find us on Google Maps – either enter Otaihape Alpine Club, or use the Plus-code QH66+89 Waiouru Military Area.
Getting to the Club
The easiest route to the club is up the Rockgarden via the ski field ticket plaza. Again, Google Maps is your friend. In Google Maps find Otaihape Alpine Club, then select Directions using the Walking mode. This route is about 800m from Carpark 1 to the lodge.
Uphill, it will take 15 minutes if you are fit, 30 minutes if you are encouraging small children.
Getting to the lifts
This is one of the best bits of club life above the ticket plaza. In the morning you calmly get your warm dry clothing on, grab your skis or board, and then step out the door and ride down to the Rangatira, the Sky Waka or to Happy Valley if you are with learners. You can see any queues from our front window, so if it’s busy, sit back, have a coffee and take your time.
The History of Otaihape Alpine Club
The Otaihape Alpine Club was formed in 1937 by a group of keen Historic Taihape alpine climbers & skiers. There were few facilities at this time the the hut was one of the first built on Mt Ruapehu.
The site was chosen because of its fairly sheltered position and the awesome view of Ngauruhoe & Mt Taranaki in the distant west. It was built before Iwikau village existed and there were no lifts. Members parked their cars at Salt Flat and walked up to the hut. They even made their own skis.
By 1972 the membership had grown and a new lodge was built (pictured below). The lodge was completed in 1974.