The Speight’s Dog Derby | Image: Coronet Peak
Excitement is snowballing at Coronet Peak as the ski area gears up towards the 36th Queenstown Winter Festival which starts on Friday June 25.
As the mountain home to the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival, Coronet Peak will once again host festival favourites including mountain bikes on snow and the Speight’s Dog Derby.
Ski Area Manager Hamish McCrostie says staff are, as always, really looking forward to the festival and its unique celebration of winter.
“The festival is a great way to celebrate the start of winter for us and a time when we welcome both skiers and non skiers to the mountain to enjoy the wacky events that we all know and love,” said Mr McCrostie.
The on-mountain celebrations kick off bright and early on Tuesday 29 June with the Tararua Skin to the Summit. Back by popular demand, this event sees ‘skinners’ take off from Coronet Peak’s base building and skin up a new and improved course, ski down, then skin up again to the finish line.
“Skinning up the mountain is the perfect way to start the day,” said Mr McCrostie. “You get to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, get some good exercise in, and hopefully have time to enjoy breakfast at the café afterwards.”
Festival’s longest running event – the mad cap Speight’s Dog Derby, to be held on Thursday (July 1), is high country hilarity at its best. Year after year dozens of farmers and their faithful hounds go up the mountain on the chairlift and hurtle down on foot (or on their bottoms!) to the base building – the first pair to make it down together win. It’s hilarious and complete chaos with lots of barking, shouting and ‘rustic’ language!
There’s more mad mountain fun and crazy antics for all the family on Saturday (July 3) at the Grabaseat Mountain Mayhem. Expect the unexpected at as Suitcase Race competitors careen down the mountain on classic (or hotted-up) suitcases and Dash for Cash racers ski down the mountain then run up and over an obstacle course.
On Sunday (July 4) adrenaline seekers with some serious attitude test out their mountain bikes on snow, coming down a hard and fast downhill course for the Budget Rent-A-Car Mountain Bikes on Snow.
Mr McCrostie is expecting a big crowd up the mountain for the Festival’s grand finale, the free Jim Beam Closing Concert which starts at 4pm. New Zealand’s leading Reggae/Ska/Dub band, dDub, will be slope-side at 5pm to entertain the masses and Night Skiing will also kick off for the season.
“What better way to celebrate a great day on the mountain and the end of the festival than with a ride under the stars to the sounds of one of New Zealand’s hottest bands?” says Mr McCrostie.
For more information about Coronet Peak’s Winter Festival events, including entry fees and registration, check out winterfestival.co.nz.