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Rainbow Ski Area

Rainbow Ski Area is high in the north of this great mountain chain within the world famous Nelson/Marlborough lifestyle region. Reaching a height of over 1760 metres, Rainbow captures regular winter snow, complemented by extensive snow making, all superbly groomed to create a stunning winter playground.

The wide uncrowded slopes and well groomed trails provide superb terrain for beginners and intermediates while advanced skiers can challenge themselves in the high powder runs and chutes. Snowboarders love the varied terrain, jumps, bumps and drops. A terrain park has been developed, offering more thrills & spills for adventurous boarders and skiers.

Operating Hours: 9:00am to 4:00pm

Operating Season: Mid July until Mid October

Access Road: 17km from State Highway 63 turnoff. Chains must be fitted or carried by all vehicles at all times from base car park. Shuttle service runs multiple trips daily from base car park.

Mountain Car-park Elevation: 1540m (5,052 feet)

Lift Accessed Vertical: 218m (715 feet)

Lifts: 1 Main T-Bar, 1 Intermediate Platter , 1 Learners tow, 1 Terrain Park tow, 1 West Bowl access tow.

Terrain: Beginners 25%, Intermediate 55%, Advanced 20%


  • Cafe - serving food, cold and hot drinks, espresso coffee.
  • Rental - Full Ski & Snowboarding equipment and clothing.
  • Ski repair and maintenance service.
  • Shop for accessories, clothing and rainbow branded souvenirs.
  • First aid and emergency services.
  • International Ski & Snowboard school.
  • Snow-making facilities (7 SMI Snow-guns & 2 Techno Alpin Snow-guns) in the base area, learners, intermediate slopes and to the top of the T-Bar.
  • Two Kassbohrer Pisten Bully snow groomers.

Trail Map

Download Trail Map

Rainbow Access Road

If you intend driving up the Rainbow Access Road it is MANDATORY  that you have a set of chains, from the bottom car-park onwards. Even on days where chains do not need to be fitted,  you MUST still carry a set of chains that will fit your vehicle. Conditions in this Alpine environment can and do change rapidly requiring that you fit chains to leave the mountain. For this reason chains must always be either carried or fitted to your vehicle. You will be turned away at the base of the mountain or at the top car park if it is discovered that you are not carrying chains. The shuttle service is a good regular service for customers who do not have chains for their vehicle. 

No chains, No access, No exceptions!

Chain Hire Services

Chain Hire is available from the following locations:

  • St Arnaud -  Alpine Lodge- 03 5211869 
  • Blenheim - Snow Chainz Ltd - 213 Weld St, Witherlea - 03-5780220.
  • Motueka - Sportsworld -  201 High Street - 5289845.
  • Motueka - Abel Tasman Outdoors - 241 High St - 5288646.

Purchasing Chains

Chains can be purchased from the following retailers:

Repco Nelson, 49 Gloucester Street, Nelson ph.03 546 9992
Repco Blenheim, 32 Main Street, Blenheim ph.03 577 8141
Repco Richmond, 8 Gladstone Road, Richmond ph.03 543 9301
Repco Motueka, 400 High Street, Motueka ph.03 528 1101

Don't want to drive up with chains? - Check out the other transport options available to you.