"We now really look like winter," says Rainbow Ski Area manager.
After two weekends making do on man-made snow, the Rainbow Ski Area received more than 60 centimetres of the real stuff this week.

The St Arnaud ski field opened its Harry's Way run and the T-bar up to tower eight on Wednesday, and planned to extend the terrain up to tower 12 (the full T bar) with further snowfall.

The go-to ski field for Blenheim and Nelson residents opened on July 6 with the Pomeroy's Beginner area and the Callahan Intermediate slope, relying mainly on their man-made product.

Rainbow Ski Area manager James Lazor said the skifield now looked like a "totally different landscape".

"Three days ago we were looking pretty dismal, all we had was the man-made snow on the beginner and intermediate slopes," Lazor said.

"But for the past three days we've probably had 20 to 25 centimetres of snow each of those days, so now 60 plus.

"We now really look like winter."

As most skiers were waiting for the upper mountain to open, Lazor said the quieter days allowed beginners a chance to "get their feet wet".

With a good crowd on Wednesday and more snow expected to arrive later in the week, this weekend would surely be the biggest yet, Lazor said.

Like much of New Zealand's snow industry, the Rainbow Ski Area suffered a slow start to the season, but benefited from their preparation in off season.

Approaching opening weekend on July 6, Lazor told Stuff his crews were working 24/7 to provide enough snow for visitors to enjoy themselves.