“This weekend had so many ‘only at Queenstown Winter Festival’ at its best moments from icy lake plunges and crowds enjoying the spectacle on the waterfront, bob sleds, suitcases and mountain bikes on snow, and the glamour of the Skycity Ball,” said Lisa Buckingham, Festival Director of the Queenstown Winter Festival.
Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow was held under stunning sunny blue skies at the Remarkables Ski Area. Forty seven women and 18 women lined up to compete on the packed-snow covered course. The deceivingly rolling course saw competitors pick up serious speed on the packed snow by the time they reached the home straight.
Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow men’s division winner and President of the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club Jimmy Carling was out to improve on his 3rd placing in 2017 and reported reaching a speed of 82km an hour as he almost straight-lined it down the Remarkables Ski Area for the finish line followed by David Perez Nanni (Queenstown) and Tim Hall (Queenstown).
The woman’s division was a photo finish with Natalie Jakobs and Kathy Morns (both from Queenstown) coming first equal and Amy Freedman (Queenstown) and Melissa Newell (Wanaka) coming 3rd equal. Natalie Jakobs was second in 2016.
iHeart Radio Day on the Bay delivered on its promise of Festival craziness. The Mitre10 Mega Raft Race saw DIY rafts take to the lake with mixed results for the handy men and women’s efforts. Go Orange won convincingly while xxx had to get an assisting nudge from Harbourmaster Marty Black on his jetski.
Whether the JUCY Undy 500 competitors were shivering from anticipation or the nip in the air, the energy being expended was soon converted to adrenalin as they raced a brutal course across the stony beach, through icy lake water, over rough hay bales and the final challenge, a huge inflatable obstacle course. Competitors wore only sponsors apparel – JUCY undies and wigs, feather boas and in one instance possum nipple warmers.at operators lined up for the Vincent Holdings Jet Sprints, competing on a snake like course that combined slalom and sprinting skills. A previous winner on multiple occasions Kevin Molloy from Skippers Canyon Jet took it out once more.
The Hits 90.4 Birdman competition attracted entries from ten local businesses and brave members of the public including a trio from Melbourne who entered last minute. Best flight was judged to be Surfin Bird from Mitre10 Mega, Best Corporate entry was SKYCITY as Pokemon, and Best Costume/contraption went to the Shotover Jet entry ‘flown’ by a jetboat driver who is part way through his 120 hour training program and had been told that performing in The Hits 90.4 Birdman was part of the training programme. The best overall entry was judged to be Queenstown Fire Rescue whose team of four had the crowds wondering whether they would sink to the bottom – until they performed a calendar worthy burlesque and removed their fire gear.of an ice hockey double header. In a presumed first for the NZIHL competition, both teams featured a trio of brothers – Cameron, Lachlan and Mitchell Frear of Queenstown for the Skycity Stampede and Andrew, Oliver and Joshua Hay of Auckland for the Botany Swarm.
Across town the Shanghai Nights Skycity Ball saw contact and co-ordinated moves of another kind as ski gear and merino layers were shed for more glamorous attire. At the Heritage Hotel, PechaKucha Queenstown Vol. 7 presented by Macpac featured ten speakers. The challenge is to limit your presentation to 20 slides that can only appear for 20 seconds each ensuring a lively and fast paced evening.