Hawke's Bay residents are flocking to Mt Ruapehu to hit the snow slopes, despite a slow start to the ski season.
Full-time resident of the East Coast Ski Lodge George Meredith said the weekends had been getting busier.
"It's slowly getting better," he said. "It's certainly better than this time last year."
A member of the Havelock Ski Club, Dick Reaney, said school groups were particularly dominant this year.
"I know it's midweek day but there are a huge number of school groups here.
"There's a steady stream of people coming from the Hawke's Bay. We've had full lodges."
Woodford House director of sport Chris McIvor has taken a group of 60 Year 12 students to the mountain for the past two years as a part of an outdoor education programme.
"You get the ability to test their leadership skills in a range of conditions," he said, adding the harsh conditions could bring out different traits in students. It was a good opportunity for teachers to see students teaching one another in challenging environments.