High in the St Arnaud Range, amidst the northermost peaks of the Southern Alps, is a commercial ski field that regards itself as a legend in the making, and which offers visitors a spectacular alpine experience.
Rainbow ski area is the only commercial field in the sun-drenched Nelson/Marlborough lifestyle region. Here you can sit on the sun terrace of the on-field café, sip award winning local wines and admire brilliant views of beech forest, the jewel-like Lake Rotoiti and distant Tasman Bay.
The field is open from June to October and captures regular snowfalls in its spacious, uncrowded bowls. The highest point is 1,758 metres from where good cross-country skiing can be pursued. The snow ratings are 25% beginner, 55% intermediate and 20% advanced, and the skiable area is 350 hectares. Lifts comprise a double chair, 1 T-Bar, 2 learner tows and a ski mat. There is ski and board hire on the mountain.
Rainbow has a full calendar of events throughout the season, and regular race coaching camps and children’s programmes. Accommodation is available at a luxury resort or lodges, chalets, bed & breakfast and backpackers in St Arnaud.
Transport is easy on the Rainbow Snow Bus, which operates on weekends and selected holidays during the season. You can board the bus in Nelson, Richmond or St Arnaud. Transport can also be arranged from Picton at pick-up times coinciding with the Interislander ferry sailings. The access road is 22 km long, of which 14 km is unsealed. The actual distance from St Arnaud is 32 km and from Nelson 100 km (allow around 90 minutes).
Rainbow ski field can really turn it on – a wonderfully scenic location, special events and activities, easy groomed trails for novices, challenging off-piste territory and exciting bumps, jumps and drop-offs for snowboarders. It’s a real roller coaster ride on the Rainbow.