Skifield prays for snow

The Rainbow Ski Area, scheduled to open next Saturday, has no snow yet but its operators are hoping for a cold snap.

"We are expecting quite a good weather system next week," said spokesman Hamish Neill.

Everything was ready to go "apart from one small white factor", he said.

The ski area, at St Arnaud, traditionally aims to open for the start of the winter school holidays.

This time west and northwest winds had brought precipitation, but the wrong kind. It was too warm for snow making, although there was a frozen machine-made base which was enough to build on, he said.

They were still targeting to open next weekend and would know more about the forecast by Monday, he said.

Staff have been recruited and are to hold their induction on Wednesday.

"Every year at this time it's a challenge for us to get open, then we get a cold front and it's all go."

The skifield is run by Rainbow Sports Club Inc. Its annual report shows a $167,320 deficit for the year ended last November. The previous year it had a $25,283 surplus. "We have been frugal this summer and only done essential work," he said.

Those who had carried out work had been understanding, including Edwards Construction which had fixed the road after a washout.

The Nelson Mail