We stayed at The Chateau. I really enjoyed it. It felt like the old Overlook Hotel from The Shining. The facilities were nice, sauna, warm pool, all the typical ski village stuff, plus the food in the restaurant was excellent.
I rented telemark ski's like I usually do. Unfortunately, it didn't work out like it usually does. Normally, the telemark ski's are the latest and greatest high performance demo equipment that just lays around in the shop because nobody ever rents it. But at Whakapapa, the rental tele skis were dusty old antiques that they had to pull down out of the rafters. Oops. Ah well, lesson learned for next time.
On the bright side, I think Kel's hooked on skiing now, so we'll have to get out once or twice when we're over for the holidays.
A month or so after we were there Mt. Ruapehu had a little eruption and threw a lahar down the mountainside. Do a search on "Ruapehu Eruption" on Flickr to see some pictures of the big black streak down the slopes.
As you can see, the scenery was incredible, and the weather was excellent (on the second day at least). But the snow conditions weren't nearly so nice. It was crusty and melty, you got the impression that they were just a warm day or two away from being back to bare rock. I miss real snow. Here's hoping for a nice white xmas and a blizzard or two while we're back in Minnesota this winter. :-)