Turoa's season will be extended for skiing until 7 November making Mt Ruapehu's the longest season in the Southern Hemisphere. Whakapapa's upper mountain facilities will remain open until 25 October (New Zealand's Labour Day), and Happy Valley beginners' area will be open a week longer than planned until 10 October.

Mt Ruapehu marketing manager, Mike Smith says that while the recent storm that lashed the entire country meant down-time on the mountain, the end result is positive for Mt Ruapehu with plenty of snow and the best snow conditions of the whole winter season.

"We'd never experienced such a fierce and sustained storm as that one in our organisation's history - it was completely unprecedented," says Mr Smith. "However, despite having to close for so many days, the storm brought with it plenty of snow so our bases are looking very healthy at over two metres (7 feet) on both sides of the mountain. Conditions are perfect at the moment with plenty of snow and terrain open."

Currently, Mt Ruapehu has the largest snow bases of all the New Zealand Ski Areas with Turoa sitting on 216cm and Whakapapa at 206cm. Mt Ruapehu expects to be the only New Zealand skifield open for business after 25th October.

Mr Smith says repair work on Turoa's High Noon Express that was damaged during the storm has been proceeding quickly, and it is expected that the high speed chairlift will be up and operating this weekend.