Mt Ruapehu's beginner's skifield will be open this Saturday at Happy Valley.

The mountain will be opened progressively until the first big snowfall arrives, starting with the beginner carpet and small ski and ride trail.

Chief executive Ross Copland said the upper mountain and Sky Waka gondola were expected to open towards the end of June.

"The infrastructure for this [Sky Waka] project is an immense engineering feat, which is both challenging and delicate – it's like building inside a cathedral, it needs to be slow and precise."


He said there were 300 people working on the gondola construction alone and 200 full-time staff had started work on the mountain last week.

Happy Valley's rental facility for ski, snowboard and clothing hire will also be open this weekend along with two food and beverage outlets.

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