Snow-lovers greeted with perfect weather for opening day of Rainbow Ski Area

Skiers on the beginner rope tow on the opening day of Rainbow Ski Area, on Saturday.
OLIVER LEWIS/FAIRFAX NZ

Skiers on the beginner rope tow on the opening day of Rainbow Ski Area, on Saturday.

Skiers, snowboarders and children racing down the slopes in sleds were greeted with blue skies and perfect conditions for the opening day of Rainbow Ski Area.

The mountain, near St Arnaud, missed out on a big dump of snow during the storm last week, but that did not stop hundreds of people heading up for their first taste of the season on Saturday.

Rainbow Ski Area manager Matt Alcock said the weather turned it on for opening day, which came a day earlier than last year.

"We couldn't have asked for anything better to be honest, it was really chilly overnight but as soon as the sun came up and over it was just a beautiful winter's day," he said.

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"We sometimes don't get that many people up here when the T-bar isn't up and running, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference this time."

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Blue skies and warm, sunny conditions greeted snow-enthusiasts on opening day at Rainbow Ski Area on Saturday.

The T-bar may have been closed, but the people that headed up the mountain still had plenty of runs up the beginner rope tow and the platter lift.

Koby Campbell, 4, picks up some speed sliding down a snow-covered slope on a sledge.

Nelson woman Rachel Ham carves her way down the slope to rejoin the queue for the platter.

Nelson man Sam Lee displays some beautiful technique skiing down the slopes at Rainbow Ski Area, on Saturday.

Blenheim man Sonny Puru and his two-year-old son, Tyrese, slide down a nice little slope outside the cafe at Rainbow Ski Area.

Blenheim woman Cath Lawson with her 7-year-old daughter, Cerys Lawson, about to head to the sledge area for a slide.

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The ski field had an average base of between 14 and 18 centimetres - not enough for the main T-bar to be running, but plenty for the beginner rope row and the intermediate platter lift.

Alcock said the sledding area proved particularly popular, with scores of families taking advantage of the school holidays to take their children up to Rainbow for a slide down the slopes.

"People were stoked to be up here, there were heaps of kids having heaps of fun - a lot of families," he said.

The large storm front that moved over the country early last week mostly missed Rainbow. Between 6cm to 10cm fell on Tuesday night, but that was quickly blown away.

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Alcock said the strongest gust recorded over Wednesday and Thursday was 119kmh.

"The snow fell and it looked awesome, and then six hours later the wind started and got persistent for the next 36 hours, and it pretty much blew everything away," he said.

"But we're here, we're open, if people can think cold thoughts and pray for snow, maybe do a snow dance, that would be great."

 - The Marlborough Express

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