High jinks, high adrenaline and hilarity were the focus of Day 3 of the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival today (Sunday 24 June) with wild and wacky sports on and off the slopes.
A perfect winter's day greeted competitors at Queenstown's Coronet Peak this morning as a field of hardy skiers and boarders competed in the R&R Sport Skin to the Summit. Queenstowner Hadyn Key was first over the line in the men's division while Sarah Cairns took out the women's division.
Next up, there were plenty of thrills and spills in the Mophie Mountain Bikes on Snow with first place in the women's division going to Amy Freedman, followed by Indri Clendon and Harriet Latchem. In the men's division Niall Renwrick took line honours, with second and third places going to Isaac Lvoni and Michael Ellis respectively.
Meanwhile, downtown, thousands of spectators massed along Queenstown's Marine Parade to watch the action at the MoreFM Day on the Bay.
Female driver Kylie Tomlin from Thunder Jet claimed the Fisherman's Friend Jet Sprints title for 2012 in a time of 1 minute and 4 seconds, becoming the first woman to ever win the race. Second place went to Chris Hansen of Skippers Canyon Jet (1.07) with Nick Simpson of Shotover Jet third (1.12).
'Smooth Riders' Mike Stewart, Andrew (Slappy) Salek and Baz Smith from the Alpine Boards Riders Club won the Quiksilver Paddle Board race for the second year in a row and promptly retired "while they were on a high". 'SUP it Slow' won the women's division.
A bunch of guys and girls braved the freezing waters of Lake Wakatipu for the Mophie Splash & Dash, a 50 meters swim followed by a dash down the beach. Nick Farrell from the USA won the men's division, while Paula Barker beat out her fellow women competitors to take first place.
The final event was the Inappropriate Marketing Undy 500 where competitors in male and female divisions completed an obstacle course in and out of the water. Gemma Eva took first place in the women's event while Anaru Curwood won the men's division after a hotly contended race.
Always a crowd pleaser, the More FM Birdman competition once again delivered plenty of crazy costumes and performances. This year's field featured everything from pole dancers to cardboard rally cars but all inevitably ended up the water. The Pack & Send team featuring the Wiggles driving a tank took out first prize for the best corporate Birdman entry while reigning champions 'The Orange Men' won the best individual entry.
Winter Festival Director Simon Green praised all the "good sports" who entered the races.
"These events always draw a big crowd and today our competitors put on some priceless entertainment."
Those looking to start their Sunday at a more leisurely pace had the choice of two 'top nosh' events. Brunch at The Hills featured a performance from 2011 Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner Sergey Malov, while over at the Hilton Queenstown Executive Chef Peter Thornley created 5-star culinary experience for the American Express Jazz Brunch. Guests were treated to a sumptuous brunch and music from Kiwi jazz duo Richard Adams and Nigel Gavin of Nairobi Trio.
More entertainment is on the way this evening with a sold out performance from New Zealand comedic export Flight of the Conchords at Queenstown Events Centre and the Southern Stampede vs. West Auckland Admirals ice hockey match at the Ice Arena at 7pm.
Everyone will have a chance to rest up tomorrow (Monday) morning before festival events get underway at midday with the Alpine Health & Fitness Zumba Mania at Earnslaw Park. That will be followed by the Alpine Health & Fitness Ladies Fashion Challenge at Queenstown Memorial Hall, the George FM Apres Ski Party at Zephyr Bar and the Skycity Winter Quiz Night at Skycity Casino, all starting at 8pm.
To see the full line up of the programme and individual event details check out the complete American Express Queenstown Winter Festival calendar online at www.winterfestival.co.nz or pick up a programme at information outlets throughout the region.
Winter Starts Here! From 22 June to 1 July the 2012 American Express Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates 38 years of winter fun and festivities with 10 days of totally outrageous and uniquely Queenstown events. Join us on Facebook, become a Friend of Festival and keep an eye on www.winterfestival.co.nz to be first with the latest news and hot updates.