The 2011 American Express Queenstown Winter Festival bows out in style on Saturday night following ten days of sheer fun, laughter and magic.
Thousands have descended on downtown Queenstown and its surrounding ski areas, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables to join in Festival’s jam-packed programme of activities. From the glittering American Express Opening Party launched by Prime Minister John Key and featuring the resort’s biggest fireworks display to wild and wacky on-mountain carnage at the Speight’s Dog Derby and Air New Zealand Holidays Mountain Mayhem.
Today, some of New Zealand’s best freestylers, including Nick Hyne and Thomas Battersby, joined The Remarkables Parklife crew and dozens of locals for the Quiksilver BoxZilla competition. Dan Jenkins of Queenstown won the ski men’s open while Adie Lawrence also of Queenstown won the women’s ski open.
In the snowboarding heats Josh Zirkel of West Virginia, US, won the men’s open while Christy Prior from Auckland won for the women.
Last night more than 800 people rode the Skyline gondola to enjoy some world class Jazz music and a final slice of festival glamour at the Stoneleigh Jazz Night with some of the country’s top musicians including international jazz export Nathan Haines, LA Mitchell, Sacha Vee, Oval Office, Rythmonyx and Tahuna Breaks.
Tonight festivities draw to a close with the final two events on the Festival calendar. The Quiksilver Afterburner at Revolver with DJ Maddox features the announcement of the festival’s winning photographer and the awarding of the ‘Best Festival Shot’ in the inaugural ‘Shot of the Day’ competition.
Over at Queenstown’s newest five star hotel, Hilton Queenstown, festival winds down with a stylish foodie event, The Live of Pinot. Chef Peter Thornley will take guests an extraordinary culinary journey featuring the best fresh, seasonal and local cuisine our region has to offer.
Festival Director Simon Green said the festival had been a huge success.
“For me, the success of this festival was about how the Queenstown community rallied round to take part,” he said. “It was just amazing to see the community head into town for what must go down as one of the greatest opening parties on record. Every event was massively supported and everyone had a fantastic time. And it was wonderful to see the ski areas open during festival. Winter truly started here this year.”
For images and programme details check out the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival guide online at www.winterfestival.co.nz.