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The Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival , home of the Southern Hemisphere's ultimate winter celebration, June 23 to July 2 2006

Mary Todd - 07/07/06

Extracts from Mary’s daily reports

23 June
Prime Minister gets the party started

The Lindauer Festival Opening Party lit up Queenstown Bay with an hour-and-a-half of fantastic free entertainment tonight (Friday 23 June) followed by the legendary American Express Fireworks.

Entertainment kicked off with The Superhighway Band and special guests included Jackie Clark and Tina Cross, plus appearances from the stars of Legends in Concert, renowned Tom Jones and Neil Diamond performers Jacques Renay and Peter Byrne, and Shane Cortese with highlights from his Class of 58 show.

Queenstown’s own Flame Fire Productions fused fire, theatre and high-energy dance to create a spectacular on stage visual experience, setting a dramatic scene.

On a clear and crisp night, Prime Minister Helen Clark welcomed festival revellers and winter’s conspicuous arrival.


Helen Clark arriving at the Crowne Plaza.
Helen Clark arriving at the Crowne Plaza.
Fri 23rd June 06

”It’s going to be a great festival with 50,000 people doing wonders for the Queenstown economy,” she said. “They’re going to come to ski, to skate, see the ice hockey, eat their hearts out, be entertained and to party. It’s wonderful to see people here from all over New Zealand and around the world.”

Across town at the Queenstown Fun Centre, the eagerly anticipated International Ice Hockey started with a swoosh, as the Queenstown Rangers took on the Canadian Moose. Watched by a capacity crowd over more than 500, the Moose narrowly beat the Rangers by three goals to two in a tense game with plenty of fun full-on action.

Saturday 24 June 2006
Downtown and mountain top action delight
Downtown

Under crisp, clear blue skies and with a few rays of sun to warm the soul, thousands of spectators turned out to cheer along the floats in the ever-colourful and spectacular SKYCITY Community Trust Festival Parade today.


Stilt walkers at the SKYCITY Community Trust Festival Parade.
Stilt walkers at the SKYCITY Community Trust Festival Parade.
Saturday 24th June 06.

As 38 colourful floats snaked round the streets of downtown, children and families delighted in visual entertainment that included a stilt-walking poodle, an all-dancing, all-singing Muppet show, a number of variations on the Narnia theme, a skier and snowboarder precariously performing tricks on the back of snow-covered truck, and even a King Kong float, complete with realistic-looking Empire State building.

The Telecom Family Fun Day continued throughout the afternoon for younger festival goers with a Snowman Making competition, Ronald McDonald Magic Show and the ever-popular CivicCorp Pets on Parade.


Going through the hoops at the CivicCorp Pets on Parade.
Going through the hoops at the CivicCorp Pets on Parade.
Saturday 24th June 06

At Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak’s festival mountain events kicked off in perfect conditions with the Bike Fix Ironhorse Mountain Bikes on Snow, where the action was of the slip-sliding variety. Thrills and spills were not in short supply, as a strong field of mountain bikers raced each other on a boarder-cross style course consisting of gates and jumps.

Sunday 25 June 2006
Art patrons dig deep for good causes and lakeside fun gets pulses racing

A leisurely Sunday morning brunch and the chance to watch acclaimed artists at work had a heartwarming result this morning when more than $30,000 was raised for Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival official charity Cure Kids and the Wakatipu High School art department.

Renowned sculptors Kon Dimopoulos, Phil Price and Caroline Robinson and artists Darryn George, Nicky Foreman, Kristen Peren, Minhal al Halabi and Petra Bagust created works that were snapped up by eager bidders at the American Express Big Brunch and Sofitel Art in the Mountains event.

Snickers Day on the Bay is always a festival highlight and this year’s event didn’t disappoint. On a blue skies day, an estimated crowd of 2,000 people clapped and cheered as some hardy souls braved the incredibly chilly waters of Lake Wakatipu for the MORE FM Birdman.In manmade flying contraptions fit to make the Wright Brothers turn in their graves, they plunged into the lake, some with more finesse and style than others.


Nikki of Hush Spa on the winning Birdman entry.
Nikki of Hush Spa on the winning Birdman entry.
Saturday 24th June 06

In the Snickers Queenstown Bay Classic, four Top Bloke teams performed a series of tasks on and off the water some with fairy costumes and wings to help them go faster. Makeup was scarily apparent.

Monday 26 June 2006
Teddy bears, great food, cabin crew mayhem and whiskey

A magical start to today saw tots and their favourite teddies go on a magical journey through the pine trees to the Skyline Gondola building for the Skyline Teddy Bears Picnic. Quilly the Clown and special guest TV presenter Jane Keily hosted over 50 animated young children as they enjoyed stories and playtime.

Getting creative in the Queenstown Resort College kitchen with his QRC Quick Smart Mediterranean Cooking Class was celebrated chef Ray McVinnie. Cooking up a storm with tasty dishes including succulent homemade pork sausages with zucchini and eggplant salad and a winter pesto of parsley and walnut sauce, tasty Roman Chicken with lentils and a calorific but divine French chocolate cake with peach semi-freddo.

Showing their fun side, participants in the World Cabin Crew Alpine Challenge were 10 teams of two made up from cabin crew members and other travel industry members from throughout New Zealand and Australia. They went from a blind-folded make up mayhem, to trolley races, drinks delivery and eating a cold lunch concoction in Earnslaw Park, before heading up to Coronet Peak to create more havoc on the mountain.

The afternoon’s International Whiskey Tasting Experience in association with Sofitel Queenstown gave whiskey lovers and novice quaffers the chance to get intimate with the world's finest whiskeys.

Tuesday 27 June 2006
Stars Come Out to Play at Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival

Festival debate
Nationally renowned comedians and raconteurs led the way last night in a hilarious reality check, debating Is this the real life or TV reality? Favourites from the past joined new faces in a battle of wits, under the watchful eye of Debate Chair, Jason Gunn. Debaters Te Radar, plus Southern gems Tim Shadbolt and Emma Lange, argued reality TV is real, while More FMs Jeremy Corbett (who made his Queenstown debating debut last year), joined Petra Bagust and her old Ice TV co-host, Jon Bridges, to argue it’s not.

In the end, the winner was subjectively named to be the affirmative team Southern Gems by Ray Smith of American Express.

Lindauer Stars on Snow
Enjoying near-perfect skiing conditions at the festivals mountain home, Coronet Peak, a melee of nationally well known and local skiers and riders gathered for the Lindauer Stars on Snow.

Some took it more seriously than others, with Local Hero winner Fraser Skinner easily beating his luckless competitors while Simon Dallow and Jason Gunn made a great game of the slide down the mountain with lots of rough and tumble dancing on snow between them. Jason earned the Best Crash award despite heavy objections from Simon.


Simon Dallow and Jason Gunn 'dancing on the snow' together.
Simon Dallow and Jason Gunn 'dancing on the snow' together.
Tuesday 27th June 06

Thursday 29 June 2006
It’s a dog’s life, but a good one

In a day devoted to man’s best friend, canines were the star of the Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival today.

Speights Dog Derby
In a spectacular Speights Dog Derby at Coronet Peak, 60 very excited dogs and their owners turned up, taking a break from moving sheep, to show how unity between man and dog can end in complete and utter chaos.


Shepherds try to make their dogs understand what’s going on in the Speights Dog Derby on Coronet Peak on
Shepherds try to make their dogs understand what’s going on in the Speights Dog Derby on Coronet Peak on Thursday.
Thursday 29th June 06

Amongst the mayhem of shouts, whistles, dogs barking, and balls and other objects being thrown, the judges after much deliberation decided the winners.

First-time competitor Mathew Middlemass with three-year-old Queen from Castle Hill station won first prize and a dozen Speights prize pack. Mindful of the opposition, he declined to reveal his winning tactics, other than to say that he slid down the mountain on his chest. Those tactics may or may not have explained his black eye.

Speights Dog Barking competition
Later in the day, anyone in the vicinity of the Village Green, or in fact Queenstown, couldn’t help but hear the cacophony that was the Speights Dog Barking competition. If the dog wouldn’t bark, the owners did - some barking themselves nearly hoarse in the process.

Friday 30 June 2006
Big Movies and phat moves
Video Ezy Drive-in

Capacity audiences of 90 packed cars turned up for each movie showing during the first ever Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival Video Ezy Drive-in last night. The drive-in concept went down a treat with audiences watching fabulous 1950s flick Grease and hit winter movie First Descent. Audiences tuned in to a local radio station to hear the sound tracks, and despite the cold, some eager moviegoers even left the warmth of their vehicles to boogie on down to Grease in front of the big screen.

Stolichnaya Expression Session
Conditions were perfect at Coronet Peak as the first ever Stolichnaya Expression Session got underway this afternoon. A large crowd of about 1500 people watched as some of New Zealand’s best freestyle skiers and boarders laid it down on the rails in an informal jam session.

Eight members of the paragliding Bollé Acro Team opened the event with an impressive display complete with paragliders descending with red signal smoke streaming behind.

Eighty-seven competitors in the jam session hit stairs, rails and big boxes -- cheered on by the crowd and with non-stop commentary from local snowboarding guru Luca Soulos and Coronet Peak Youth Action Sports Co-ordinator Josh Clark.

Continuous entertainment
Throughout the comp, New Zealand freestyle bar flair champion Lisandro Walfisch gave cocktail demonstrations at the Stolli Bar on the main stage, while grafitti artist Tim Rihhi worked on a display piece, fire dancers thrilled crowds on the Coronet Peak sundeck, and awesome beats from a live DJ pumped up the atmosphere.

Sunday 2 July 2006
Jazz notes and mountain fun as festival wraps up a resounding success.

Saturday’s Family Mountain Carnival got underway to fine and sunny conditions with good fields in all events.

The course in the Browns/Volkl Dash for Cash was tough and fast, quickly sorting the experienced mountain multisporters from the rest.

There was hilarious action in the Suitcase Race as contestants in fancy dress packed themselves into their suitcases to take on the hard and fast course.

After lunch there was hot competition in the Family Mountain Challenge. The mild enough looking course ended up turning into a surprisingly competitive multisport event for families. Teams of two, generally a parent and young child, faced a series of tasks including racing up the hill, slaloming through poles, sliding down on a sled, dragging child and sled through another slalom course, retrieving lollies and plunging head first into a bucket of water to retrieve an apple with the mouth. 14 teams entered and by the time the winners were established, several dads were looking very much worse for wear!

The INCA Half Pipe
A strong field of 21 competitors took part in the fun and mellow event, as the music pumped out and MC Luca Soulos kept a good crowd of spectators informed and entertained throughout the day.

The Coronet Peak terrain park crew made it a very different half pipe for competitors on the day, with a fun box on one side of the pipe and a pole actually inside it, so competitors could stall on it during their run. Each competitor had two practice runs, followed by two judged.

Looking back
Festival director Simon Green said the ten-day festival had run extremely smoothly, thanks in part to fantastic weather and snow conditions, and the management team are already talking about what’s going to happen next year!

Start planning now to attend next year's festival - 22 June to 1 July 2007.

The photos in this article were supplied by the Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival.

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