Whether you are a hot shot on the slopes or your crew's designated lunch table dibs-er, good gear in alpine conditions makes all the difference. And that's why some of NZ's best mountain crews wear Cactus kit.
We chat with the legendary Sarah Webster, HR Manager at Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) about snow-business on Ruapehu and about why they wear Cactus gear.
Tell us about RAL
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts operates both Whakapapa and T?roa Ski Areas on Mt Ruapehu in the Central North Island. The ski areas are on the north and south facing slopes of Mt. Ruapehu respectively and we are located within Tongariro National Park, a Dual World Heritage site in the Central Plateau of New Zealand’s North Island. Our core business is during the winter months between late May to the end of October with snow-related activities.
How is the season at Ruapehu shaping up so far?
Whakapapa opened back on the 1st of June with beginner skiing and riding in Happy Valley which was followed closely by sledding. We were lucky to have a storm come through right before opening day which gave us a great opening weekend for those that having been hanging out for snow over summer. Our snowmaking crew has been working hard with the Snow Factory and snow guns to help build a base for when the Sky Waka gondola opens later this season for upper mountain skiing and riding. We have the first of our Turoa team starting this week with Turoa due to open on the 29th of June for the season.
What are your biggest challenges with regards to crew gear/equipment?
Our biggest challenges in regards to gear and equipment for the crew is the variable weather across both ski areas. We need gear that can be versatile and hard wearing while protecting our team from the elements. Our outdoor teams can face some pretty chilly mornings and some harsh conditions to get the mountain open and operational so it’s important they have the right gear to be able to do their jobs.
Why do you buy Cactus gear for your team?
We’ve found over the years the outdoor crew really like the Cactus gear and it’s held up well. Our ability to work with Cactus and make modifications that meet the needs of our team has been great and this has been important for us to make sure they have the best equipment to do their jobs. From the vests with multiple pockets and harness access to the lifty knees pants everything has met its purpose and keeps our team warm and dry during the toughest of conditions.
Any moments where your Cactus gear has saved your bacon?
I’m lucky to sit in a warm office for most of the day when it’s a particularly challenging day outside but I’m sure our maintenance and Lift De-icers would have some stories to tell. Especially from those mornings where they’re removing inches of ice from towers and getting us open for the day.
Thanks Sarah. We reckon your crew are legendary and we love seeing Cactus Outdoor Clothing working hard out there in the elements.