The cold southerlies making their way up the North Island will bring smiles to the faces of the hundreds of ski bunnies about to hit Turoa’s slopes for the start of its season today.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts marketing manager Mike Smith said snowmaking facilities were working overtime for the 4000 people expected over the weekend.
Staff have also been working on trails on the lower and upper mountain which both have a 105cm base of snow.
Mr Smith was hopeful Turoa’s six-person High Noon Express chairlift would open some time this weekend.
“That means we could have top-to-bottom skiing from just about day one which I don’t think has ever happened before,” he said. “The upper mountain base this time last year was probably zero. This is my 11th season and this has been the best upper mountain start I have seen.”
Ruapehu’s other main skifield, Whakapapa, has only a 50cm base but should open next weekend.
Mr Smith said a record season pass sale saw 24,500 sold for this year – well up on the 18,000 sold last year.
“Last year we had all that snow but we didn’t have a lot of open days so if we can get off to a good start this year that can only be a good thing.”