Conditions are improving on skifields after snow flurries from Thursday night coincide w' />

The white stuff's on its way, and not a moment too soon.

Conditions are improving on skifields after snow flurries from Thursday night coincide with colder weather.

Weatherwatch head weather analyst Phil Duncan said the next five days would be "the best shot" North Island skifields have had this year at generating snow.

While no big dumps of snow are predicted in the new few weeks, it will be cold enough to use snow-making machines - and snow from this week can start to build up as the weather gets colder.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts general manager Dave Mazeysaid there had been 5cm to 10cm of fresh snow on the upper part of the mountain on Thursday night.

"It's not as much as we'd like but we're not that far behind schedule," he said.

Colder weather meant snow-making could start soon, but a low of -2C was needed before the snow-making machines could operate.

Turoa was due to open today but has been delayed a week. Whakapapa is tentatively scheduled to open next Saturday.

In the South Island, NZSki CEO James Coddington said fields would open as soon as possible.

Mt Hutt also had some snow fall on Thursday night, and colder weather has enabled it to start snow-making.

Snow machines were operating yesterday and would continue during the weekend.

Preparations for winter festivals have started. They are seen as a celebration of the start of winter, so snow or no snow, the show goes on.

Mt Ruapehu Mountain Mardi Gras organiser David Williams said ticket sales were good, with people contacting him as early as November with ticket inquiries.

He said the resort did not rely on snow - its motto was "there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing".

Queenstown Winter Festival director Simon Green said ticket sales had been unaffected by the weather and all but one event had sold out.

"The three events that rely on snow have been cancelled as they were scheduled for this weekend. But we are hoping to reschedule the Fire Fighter Chill Factor Challenge for later in the season.

"There's so much going on in Queenstown already that we tell people the skiing's just a bonus."