The front slope on the field resembles a white shirt front, resulting in the name ‘The Shirt Front’. Over the years the contour has been reworked but still provides a challenge for some and a fun quick descent for others.
Shirtfront-Earthworks as told by David Dew.
“One of the bugbears at Rainbow was the area known as the shirtfront which is just above the main lift terminal. It was difficult for beginner/intermediate skiers and hard to maintain snow cover on.
We applied to DOC for permission to re-contour it by effectively taking about 3 metres out of the top of it and filing the bottom. Helen Clark was the Minister for Conservation at the time. She flew in by Airforce Helicopter to inspect the proposal and approved both the work and the Code we proposed for such work. This became the code adopted for all Ski fields in NZ.
The work was done by a large bulldozer and made a fantastic difference and of course is still how the slope is configured. We were also allowed to do rock grooming on the main runs. This helps opening on limited snow. At the time this work was being done Dirk Robinson showed us how a 20-tonne digger could ski.“
Looking up the shirt front at the Rainbow Ski Field as a D8 dozer goes over the crest of the escarpment during reshaping and modification of the slope.
(Photo taken March/April 1988)
This photo gives an idea of the size of the shirt front slope and the area that was reshaped and manicured. This vantage point shows the large D8 dozer working on the slope and looking like a dinky toy.
(Photo taken March April 1988 by Karen and Mike Ryan)