Ruapehu ski fields given proposal to help them wipe debt, but there's a catch

Stakeholders in Ruapehu's ski fields have been given a proposal that could ensure a viable future.

The proposal would mean ANZ and the government would write off $28 million of debt, but there's a catch - lifetime pass holders will have to come forward in sufficient numbers and they have less than a week to do so.

It's been bleak on Whakapapa skifield but just over the horizon, there may be a glimmer of light.

"I'm really enthusiastic about it and optimistic," Ruapehu Alpine Lifts voluntary administrator John Fisk said.

On Friday morning, the Ministry of Business of Innovation and Employment (MBIE) emailed life pass holders and asked them to indicate within the next six days if they're each willing to pay an extra $2500 to ensure the viability of Whakapapa and Turoa. 

"If we get $15 to 20 million then we can start saying 'well who's going to operate the business, how's it going to be governed?'" Fisk said.

Others, including South Island ski fields, could then come on board.

"Step up now and show your interest so that we can then work with MBIE to put together a plan," Fisk said.

The proposal has resulted in relief in the Ruapehu District. 

"New entity could well be developed to see a great future for the skiing in this location," Ruapehu District Mayor Weston Kirton said.

Skotel owner and representative of life pass holders on the creditor's committee said with input from ski club members and season pass holders there's great potential.

"I believe what we've got here given the incredibly short time since the administration was called and the complexity of it, [it's] a pretty amazing result."

Ohakune business owner and life pass holder Paul Stieglbauer is also on board.

"The lifetime pass holders are only one part of it, they're 14,700 people - yet there's a good 100,000 people out there that love being on the mountain and being part of it."

Within an hour of the announcement, 300 lifepass holders had responded positively but all ski lovers are being asked to respond to a survey on the administrators' website if they too want to lend a hand - but they need to be in quick.