Snow promising ahead of ski season
Rainbow ski area and the St Arnaud ranges are today covered in snow, but the ski season opening date is still some months away.
Rainbow Sports Club chairman Jo Rainey today said weather predictions so far were looking promising, and likely to bring a better snow season than last year's warmer weather - but it was still early days.
Preparations for the season included road maintenance on the route from the highway to the mountain base.
The club's website said the road was currently officially closed. A ski club spokesman said recent heavy rain had made the fords impassable except to four-wheel drive vehicles.
Rainey said the club had set July 5 as the official opening day.
The annual Rainbow Sports Club snow gear sale will be held at Nelson College on May 9 and 10.
Rainey said a team of workers was currently in the ski area getting it ready for the first decent snowfall. Employing staff was also underway.
"We've got a lot of staff returning and we're looking forward to another successful school programme. We had about 3000 school kids last year and we're aiming to continue the race training programme."
He said this year's season would depend a lot on predicted El Nino conditions, which tended to generate snow conditions that last.
"Last year not only was it warm, but there were fewer rain events. We like the snow to come with the weather from the west.
"There's a good, thick coating of snow at the moment, right down to the bushline and it's definitely cooling down."
■ Rainbow Sports Club snow gear sale, Nelson College, May 9-10.
Sellers: 6pm-8pm Friday, May 9, and 8.30am-10.30am Saturday, May 10. Sellers to name their price on apparel and equipment. Bring your clean clothing, skis and boots, boards and boots, roof racks, etc, to sell. Chains need tyre size clearly identified.
Buyers: 11am-5pm Saturday , May 10.