Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

  • Vertical (m)
    1,542 – 1,760 (218)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ?  metres
  • Lifts (5)
    1 T-bar
    1 platter
  • Ski Season
    late June - late Sept
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 14
    Longest run – ? km
    Beginner - 25%
    Intermediate - 55%
    Advanced - 20%

Rainbow Ski Field, Skiing & Snowboarding

The main part of the Rainbow Ski Field is a horseshoe shaped bowl, with reasonably mellow terrain running up the middle, and steeper lines around the sides of the basin. From the T-bar, long traverses are required to get to a lot of the lines, and with only 218 metres of vertical, many of the lines are not particularly long.

Usually only a handful of runs up the guts of the Rainbow ski area are groomed, so there’s minimal grooming but relative to the various NZ ski fields with zero grooming, this would be considered a luxury. Around the fringes of the resort are runs marked on the trail map, but don’t expect these to be well marked out in the field.

Lifts

The primary lift is a T-bar that runs the full vertical of the Rainbow Ski Field. There are four other very short surface lifts: the Learners tow in the novice area; the small Platter lift in the beginners area; a Terrain Park tow; and the West Bowl Access tow. The latter two don’t always run.

Considering most skiers and snowboarders utilise the T-bar, there can be long lift queues on peak holidays and weekends. The upside of the limited lift capacity is that the slopes are very uncrowded.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are inexpensive relative to the high profile commercial ski resorts in New Zealand, but they seem a little spendy considering the limited lift infrastructure in place.

Beginner Skiing Rainbow

Rainbow is ideal for novices with its very mellow slope located at the base area. The next progression is the small platter lift and its reasonably unintimidating slope, however from there beginners need to take a significant leap. There is a trio of green runs from the top, and they all start off steeply. This may be fine for the intrepid school group kids, but adult beginners may find it daunting.

Rainbow Skiing & Snowboarding for the Intermediate

Whilst the trail statistics indicate that the majority of terrain is ideal for intermediates, in reality the terrain is mostly suited to adventurous intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The green runs Top Easy Way and Race Track are appropriate for intermediates and Rainbow Ski Field usually has a couple of groomed blue runs. Otherwise blue runs are either usually ungroomed and/or they commence with a black run.

Advanced & Expert Skiing Rainbow

There isn’t really a distinction between on-piste and off-piste riding at Rainbow, considering the treeless terrain and minimal trail markings in place. So long as you’ve got decent visibility, you’ll easily be able to scope a line that’s to your liking.

With some traversing left and right of the T-bar, you can get to lots of fine lines but take care if the snow cover is thin because there are lots of sharks, whilst the bigger rocks provide some fun features for experts to launch. You can hike up a little way to get to better lines such as chutes that catch the snow.

The West Bowl is plenty of fun when it’s open, and if the little tow isn’t operating, it’s just a couple of minutes bootpack to get to the top. This zone offers some sweet lines, but you’ll need some speed to get across the little tarn and back around to the lift.

Over the back of the ski area is some tasty backcountry but considering its sunny aspect you’ll need to play with your timing.