While the peak ski season has yet to arrive, the resort towns of New Zealand's South Island have seen encouraging signs of recovery during what was previously the pre-winter doldrums.
The June long weekend for Queens Birthday delivered a windfall of visitors during the so-called 'shoulder season', when thrifty tourists are normally scare.
Destination Queenstown reported domestic visitation was up almost 10 per cent on 2019 visitor levels for the weekend.
"It is great to see that Queenstown is continuing to be a destination of choice for our domestic market," they said.
Queenstown Lakes mayor Jim Boult said that the tourist-reliant town had survived a "15-month financial winter - we're seeing the first signs of spring," he said.
"We won't get back to where we were ... until we see the full international markets come back."
However, Boult praised the events organised over the long weekend that brought in tens of thousands of overnight stays.
"We had the LUMA Festival on and I think that had about 50,000 visitors. We had the music festival on, that brought a number of people in," saying it was "Pleasantly busy for a change."
After taking a two-year hiatus, during the Coronavirus lockdown, representatives for Queenstown light festival LUMA said they were delighted to return to visitor levels that were "on par with 2019".
Nationwide, research from TNZ shows New Zealanders have spent an extra $1.1 billion on domestic travel compared to pre-Covid levels, up 13 per cent.
Snow woes at Cardrona
While the financial winter has thawed, many Lakes area ski fields have had to push back their forecasted opening days.
Wanaka's Cardrona ski field had to cancel plans to open some of the ski area to visitors after low snow and high temperatures.
Yesterday the resort said that skiing was off the cards this week, until temperatures dropped.
"Unfortunately, we don't have enough snow to open on Friday but it looks like we will be able to fire up the snow guns over the weekend," read a message on their Facebook page. "Hopefully, we'll be able to make enough snow to open the learner's slope on Monday 21st June."
Cardrona said it would keep the public updated over the weekend.
With no snow forecast for the coming week, the operators hope for cool enough weather to build up the piste with snow machines.
Canterbury's Mt Hutt opened last weekend to record numbers. Tourism Minister Stewart Nash welcomed Hutt as the South Islands first public ski field to open. He issued an invitation via twitter to Australians to visit this winter after a missed ski season.