Last weekend's polar blast was timed just right for skifields - Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas open Saturday for the winter season.
Two metres of fresh snow has fallen on the mountain over the last week and wind has blown the fresh snow into the gullies on the leeward slopes, setting up for superb off-piste skiing and boarding.
This season, Mt Ruapehu has invested more than $3 million in new machinery, including five new groomers, road clearing equipment and eight snow guns across both ski areas.
The new, energy efficient snow guns have improved Mt Ruapehu's snowmaking abilities to operate in a wider range of conditions and increase production.
They also improve the reliability and quality of snow - from topping up hard-packed trails on a cold morning with 20cm to 30cm of fresh powder, to covering trails with up to 100 per cent of man-made snow.
"The cold blast which has hit the country has definitely worked in our favour as we've now got a good early season base at both Whakapapa and Turoa Ski Areas," Mt Ruapehu general manager of operations Chris Thrupp said.
"With ideal snowmaking conditions forecast, the mountain will be looking great for opening.
"Our new groomers will also improve the efficiency and quality of grooming to both ski areas and new additions to the existing fleet of snow guns will mean more snow on the ground throughout the season, making for a greater skiing and boarding experience."
For real-time snow progress, live webcams at both Whakapapa and Turoa show up-to-the minute updates.
An all-mountain-all-day pass costs $97 adult, $58 youth (5-18) and under 4s are free.
If you don't have your own gear you can hire equipment from $39 and lessons are available from $60 per person for group ski or snowboard sessions.
For more information from the skifields visit www.mtruapehu.com