Rainbow Ski Area

At the top of the South Island, the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions are blessed with the Nelson Lakes National Park and Rainbow Ski Area. It’s a seriously fun and friendly ski area, with facilities to match a medium-sized commercial operation. There’s extensive snowmaking, a terrain park (with its own tow), 5 tows including a T-bar and Platter, with plenty of grooming. The terrain caters for beginners, intermediate and advanced.

About Rainbow

Located in the St Arnaud Range, the ski area is approximately 1½ hours’ drive from Nelson or Blenheim and only 40 minutes from St Arnaud Township. Carry chains and put them on if directed. There’s also a regular shuttle service from the bottom of the access road.

A series of well-groomed pistes ensure there are plenty of trails down and great skiing. Off-piste, the terrain ranges from jibby features to wide open powder bowls. Accessing significant backcountry terrain is possible along the St Arnaud Range. Check with their snow patrol to share your intentions.

For those that wish to lap the Rainbow Community Park there is a great variety of features with 3 jump terraces and plenty of scope to progress.

The base area is home to the rental shop, car park and awesome Rainbow café. The delicious fare on offer is all made in-house with fresh ingredients and awesome coffee.

Trail Map

Chill Alpine Ski Areas Rainbow Trail Map

Terrain and Weather Tip

Westerlies provide the best snow for Rainbow. The sunny east-facing slopes make for great skiing. West Bowl access tow is awesome for off-piste skiing.

Chill Tip

Keep an eye on those weather maps, as Rainbow is the most northern ski area on the Chill Pass and it often catches heavy westerly snow that can miss the mountains further South.

ACC Concussion - Recognise the signs

Check List

For a Great Picture: Take the access tow to West Bowl and ski to the ridge for views of Nelson Lakes National Park and Lake Rotoiti below.
For all Abilities: Jump in the park, there are mini features for groms and the ‘too old’ alike.

Snow Forecast

Rainbow Stats

Beginner 25%
Intermediate 55%
Advanced 20%

Piste: Main Runs Groomed

Main Lifts 1x T-Bar, 1x Intermediate Platter, 2 x Fixed Grip Rope Tows
Learner Lifts 1x Fixed Grip Rope Tow
Terrain Park: Yes

Top Elevation 1758m
Bottom Elevation 1540m

Ski/Board Hire: Yes
Lessons: Yes
Access: 2WD with chains when required

Day Pass Rates:
Adult $80
Student $55
Child $39 (U7 FREE!)

Draw Card: Sunny faces, spectacular views and uncrowded slopes.
Chill Pass Offer: Non-Ski Day Offer: Private Lesson (midweek)

Key Contacts

Website: skirainbow.co.nz
Mountain Phone: +64 3 521 1861

Useful Links

Where to eat
Chill Passes

Mountain Safety Council Avalanche Awareness Banner Chill Alpine



The Chill Mountains

In 2020 The Chill6 accesses the five following Ski Areas in the Selwyn District;  Porters, Cheeseman, Broken River, Temple Basin and Mt Olympus.

The Chill12 accesses the five ski areas above plus Rainbow, Hanmer Springs, Mt Lyford, Fox Peak, Mt Dobson and Awakino.

The Chill Travel Pass accesses the 11 mountains on the Chill12 Pass as well as Christchurch Adventure Park. Up to two clips on the Chill Travel Pass can be used at Porters and/or CAP.

The Chill Regions/Accommodation

Find out more about where to stay and play in the regions around the Chill Mountains. From Nelson Lakes & Marlborough in the North down to Queenstown & Wanaka in the South. In between there's Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs, Sensational Selwyn, the township of Methven, the Mackenzie District and Waitaki Valley and of course the home of Chill, Christchurch City. Here we share places to stay, eat, shop and explore to help plan your adventure in the Southern Alps.