A cold snap counted on to give a frosty nudge to Turoa skifield's scheduled opening this morning has also come with a warning for motorists using alpine roads this weekend.
Snow guns that kept blasting on Mt Ruapehu last night were expected to produce enough of the white stuff to allow Turoa to open with or without the help of nature.
Mt Ruapehu mountain manager Chris Thrupp said skifield staff were rostered to turn up for opening day as planned, with the call being made at about 7am.
"We will just need to get here in the morning and see how the snow-makers have gone during the night."
He encouraged snow-seekers to head up regardless: "Come up, have a coffee, throw some snowballs and put the skis in the car ... you might get a chance to use them.
"At this time last year, we had no snow at all, but within a week we had the upper mountain going and it turned out to be the best snow cover season we'd had in 20 years."
Multi-day and seasonal passes had been strong this year and inquiries had surpassed last year, he said.
Skiing on The Remarkables was also set to start today, while Whakapapa skifield on Mt Ruapehu is due to open on June 23.
"If we get open in June, that's good, but we don't consider it late until we get to July with no snow," Mr Thrupp said.
"At the moment, we've got a base, the ground is frozen, there is cover on the upper mountain and every time we get a bit of snow, it's building - if we get one good storm, we'll have some upper-mountain facilities."
Overnight snow dumps had been forecast in parts of the country last night. Chilly weather across the country driven by a cold southerly flow was forecast to ease tomorrow night, when a northerly change would bring milder weather.
Forecasters were expecting snow around many alpine roads this morning, including up to 4cm on the Desert Rd - where a warning was already in place yesterday - up to 5cm on the Lewis Pass and as much as 10cm on Porters Pass.
Driving conditions could also be perilous at times on the Rimutaka Hill Rd, where occasional snow and sleet showers were expected today.
New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt urged motorists to take care.
"We're urging drivers to check the latest information on road conditions before setting out on their journeys - and if it's looking bad reconsider whether you need to be driving at all."
MetService forecaster Jeff Sanders said a slightly warmer but rainy Monday would lead back into colder weather on Tuesday as a southwest flow kicked in.
Opening datesToday: Turoa, Mt Ruapehu; The Remarkables, Queenstown.
June 20: Snow Farm, Wanaka.
June 22: Cardrona, Wanaka; Porters, Springfield.
June 23: Ohau, Twizel; Whakapapa, Mt Ruapehu.
June 28: Treble Cone, Wanaka. Open: Coronet Peak, Queenstown; Mt Hutt, Methven.
Check onlineRoads: www.highwayinfo.govt.nz
Skiing: www.mtruapehu.co.nz, www.nzski.com.
Weather: www.metservice.comby Jamie Morton