The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival 2010 wrapped up today (Sunday July 4) with a huge day at Coronet Peak ski area and oodles of downtown fun for littlies.
And looking back over ten fun-filled, full-on days, festival manager Simon Green declared it “one of the best ever”.
“The weather gods came to the party with tons of snow just before opening and followed that up with perfect clear blue skies and cold, crisp days,” he said. “I’d love to take the credit for that but I probably can’t!”
“What I would like to acknowledge is the sheer hard work and professionalism shown by every single member of the winter festival team and the dozens of volunteers who have freely given their time and without whom we couldn’t possibly make this community event happen.”
Up at Coronet Peak, the Budget-Rent-A-Car Mountain Bikes on Snow encompassed everything that symbolises festival – a bunch of madcap, crazy mountain bikers with serious attitude and some seriously gnarly tyres slipping, sliding and occasionally gaining control on a specially-constructed downhill course in the snow.
Thrills, spills and a lot of laughs were the order of the day for the record field of riders. A huge spectator crowd saw Niall Renwick take out first place in the Male division while Reon Boe came in second and Jimmy Caling was third. In the Female division, mountain biker Naomi Wilson was in first place, Chrissie Sergeant second and Helen Wathng third. Junior division, Michelle Scannell was first, Dan McCombie second and Jordan Deans third. This year saw a Snow Scoot division where Chris Darby was first, Lewis Dowling second and Jason Buckley third.
Down at the Queenstown Events Centre, it was all excitement, laughter and fun as hundreds of littlies enjoyed their very own festival party at the Cookie Time Teddy Bears Picnic.
An enthusiastic bunch of over 500 mums, dads, nanas, bubs and teddy bears were entertained and enthralled. In a fairytale setting, rugs were set up and BYO picnics were the order of the day.
The big red furry Cookie Muncher was the most popular party ‘host’ in town, in constant demand for cuddles, hugs, ‘high fives’ and photo opportunities.
Youngsters listened enthralled to stories and joined in fun and games before prizes were awarded for the littlie with the most teddy bears (won by Sophie Hutchins of Queenstown with a whopping 9 in total). Prize for the best dressed little person went to the Hutchins girls with Natalie, Sophie and Anna, all dressed as Snow White.
The final wrap party for the ten-day festival was held at Coronet Peak from 4pm where the cools sounds of festival favourites Ddub rocked the deck at the Jim Beam Closing Party as night skiing began for the 2010 winter season.
“It’s been an absolute blast and I’d like to thank all the thousands of people who’ve supported us and taken part in events over the past ten days,” said a tired but elated Simon Green.
“The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party will be back doing it all again from 24 June to 3 July next year.”