The majority of New Zealanders seldom see snow, except on the mountains. The North Island has a small permanent snow field above about 8,000 ft on Mt. Ruapehu (9,175 ft), but the snow line rarely descends below 2,000 ft, even for brief periods in winter. In the South Island snow falls on a few days a year in eastern coastal districts and in some years may lie for a day or two even at sea level. In Westland it does not lie at sea level. The snow line on the Southern Alps is around 7,000 ft in summer, being slightly lower on the western side where the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers descend through heavy bush to within 1,000 ft of sea level. In inland Canterbury and Otago, where there are considerable areas of grazing lands above 1,000 ft, snowfalls are heavier and more persistent and have caused serious losses of sheep during severe winters in the past. Even there the snow line rarely stays below 3,000 ft through the winter.