If I recall correctly, there was a forum member who posted a vid of themselves and it was at Whakapapa, all you could see was rocks to the left and right
So nothing different than normal? Seriously, Ruapehu is a volcano with massive rocks, the amount of snow needed up there to cover them and get the season going is usually what hutt can survive on all season.
That being said, yeah they did actually have a rough season last year, but so did we in Wanaka.
Ruapehu is hands down the best natural terrain overall - it just lacks decent park and consistent weather. I've managed to get the best of both now by working in wanaka for winter and then getting that last month at ruapehu when the southern lakes closes.
I will never do another season at shutt. Ever, again. Ever. 1. Boring terrain 2. sub par weather and snow conditions 3. below average park and classic park crew that thinks they're hipper and better than they are 4. busy days are paaaacckkked - long chair waits plus the small mountain size means you're battling everyone else as you ride.
Would check out all the clubbies if you haven't; Ohau, Cragie, Olympus, Llyford, Broken River etc - just once for something different is always fun.
Ruapehu is worth checking out but you need to spend at least a week or more up there to have a chance at some decent weather (last spring I spent 2 weeks waiting in Ohakune and only rode two half days because of rain)