50cm of snow for Ruapehu skifield
A solid half metre snow base on Mt Ruapehu's lower slopes will herald a "bullish" start of the ski season on Whakapapa despite cloudy conditions forecast for the weekend.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts general manager Dave Mazey said snowmaking throughout the week at Whakapapa had added an excellent snow base of 30cm-50cm at Happy Valley and the Rockgarden.
"Happy Valley and the Rockgarden lifts will be operating tomorrow, as well as Waterfall lift to Knoll Ridge for sightseeing, and the Knoll Ridge café will be open," he said.
"We have had some excellent snow-making over the past 10 days and staff were shifting two metre deep wail's on Happy Valley from predominantly machine made snow.
"It's a very good start to the season and I'm feeling reasonably bullish with the conditions forecast."
The upper slopes had received good snow cover but not sufficient enough to operate the top lifts this weekend.
Temperatures on the mountain were hovering around -3 degrees celcius.
About 500 staff had been undergoing induction training and would begin working over the next week leading up to the start of the school holidays.
Rain and cloud is forecast for Whakapapa over the weekend.
Turoa fares better with snow forecast to fall on weekend to coincide with the annual Mardi Gras festival at Ohakune.
Alpine Meadow beginners area and Parklane lift for sightseeing will operate at Turoa.
The Dominion Post