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Whats in a Name - Ski Trails

Allan's Way

The first trail map was done by John Lundon around 1985. Details on the names are below. 

Alans Way was named after Alan Pritchard.

Mike Morrison was the Ski Area Manager at the time we put the chairlift in and he become friendly with Alan Pritchard who used to ski a lot mid-week.

Alan made a good donation to Rainbow to assist the mountain and to recognise this we named a run “ Alan’s Way “  circa 1992

Harry's Way

Harry’s Way is named after another early committee member David Dew.

The story goes that a local newspaper misreported David’s name in a rugby game report and the nick-name Harry stuck for a while. 

David, a lawyer in Blenheim, is credited with doing the hard yards to achieve a zone change which enabled the ski field to develop.

John Lundon who was also very involved in Rainbow put Harry's Way on the first trail map.

Barry’s Trail (West Bowl)

Barry Rance was involved with the new Rainbow from its origins in 2003. 

He wanted to ensure a local ski field continued to exist, especially for children and youth in the future. His carpentry and ‘fixit skills’ were legendary, and he earned a reputation for always carrying an extensive tool kit on ski days to fix whatever needed fixing especially around the buildings.

The committee named Barry’s Trail in recognition of his dedication as a volunteer at Rainbow.  Barry passed away in June 2012.

The Shirt Front

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)

The Easy Way Home

Originally called the Upper Access Road, ‘The Easy Way Home’ provided access for equipment to the upper field during early development days.

It is still used as a way to access equipment for repairs and maintenance, for ski patrol and a gentler route down than the Shirt Front.

Looking along the Upper Access Road either side of the rope tow. The hut seen in the centre of the track housed the radio repeater equipment for the phone link and was a shelter hut for field workers and in case of emergency.

When finished this access track gave skiers an easier way to get down the steep slope from the rope tow.

The Cheapskates (2021) Terrain Park

This park has changed name over the years depending on the business sponsor for that year.

2021 the Terrain Park will be supported again by Cheapskates.

West Bowl

‘West Bowl’ got its name from the bowl-shaped area on the west side of the field. To access it skiers and boarders take the T-bar to the top, traverse a little then grab a short rope tow. The bowl is a lake which freezes and covers with snow most years from mid-season onwards.

Six One

A peak to the west side of the field challenges fitter and more adventurous skiers and boarders. From the top of the T-Bar they traverse past the rope tow to West Bowl then trek up to Six One.

The peak Six One is named due to its height in feet (6,161 ft), on the old pre-metric maps it may have been called point 6161.

Powder Valley

‘Powder Valley’ is named for its quality snow. This tempting valley lies just outside the east of the field boundary. Keen skiers trek from the top of the T-bar across the east ridge then drop down into the valley. The exit is some distance down the road where hopefully a ride awaits back to base.

The Planets, The Gun Barrell, Aeroplane Corner, Roller Coaster and Boulder Ride

The origin of these names is presently unknown but the terrain offers a few clues.