Excitement as snow blankets Mt Ruapehu

Bad weather which has battered parts of the North Island with heavy winds and rain has also brought the first snow for the year.

Skiers will be delighted to know the wintry weather, which brought mini-tornadoes to the Bay of Plenty region on Monday night, has also blanketed Mt Ruapehu in snow.

Staff on the mountain yesterday awoke to a 4cm base of snow. It fell through yesterday morning, blocking roads. The mountain is to open for the season next month.

Mt Ruapehu ski area manager Steve McGill said the staff were excited about the coming season, which will officially start when the Turoa field opens on June 16. Whakapapa is expected to open the following weekend.

"We are all amped for the winter season and the snow on the mountain ... is a glorious sight for skiers and boarders," said Mr McGill.

"Winter is certainly upon us."

The icy weather is expected to bring more snow to the mountain this week. Snow has also been forecast for parts of the South Island.

- NZ Herald

- Rotorua Daily Post

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