Perfect powder: Gay Ski Week Queenstown is ready to put on a snow show
In the past few years Gay Ski Week Queenstown (Gay Ski Week QT) has grown to become one of the biggest Pride celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere Gay Ski Week QT event organiser Sally Whitewoods give us the lowdown on the 2015 festival.
Gay Ski Week QT, the official Gay Ski Week of NZ is back again for another fabulous year. The largest Winter Pride event in the Southern Hemisphere, the festival kicks off on Saturday August 29 2015 and ends with a huge bang on Saturday 5th September 2015.
Local couple and event organisers Sally Whitewoods and partner Mandy of Glam Enterprises are taking the event into its fourth year and are excited to share what’s in store.
Whitewoods and her partner rescued the event in 2011 from the previous owner, Mike Sanford, who approached the couple to help out 100s of stranded tourists when his event went belly–up and was forced into liquidation. Since then, the duo have successfully transformed Gay Ski Week QT to a highlight on the queer calendar. Thanks to Sally and Mandy, Gay Ski Week QT showcases the best of Queenstown and queer culture to a growing group of avid fans.
Whitewoods says the driving force behind this great alpine event is the unbelievable community support and fantastic sponsors. “We are lucky to have such amazing support from the local community that they helped us along the way. Event management was not something we had done before but we love it and have worked closely with the council and community to make it the event it is today.”
Running over the course of a week, Gay Ski Week QT offers a range of activities that cater to all sectors of the community, from dance parties to ski adventures to hot tub indulgences.
Image; Sally and Mandy
“We think one of the most important aspects for us is to make it an all inclusive event,” Whitewoods told GNN. “It is a high priority for us to make sure that visitors know that we support the LGBTIQ spectrum. We have guests that are either virgins to the event or are returning customers. We are also so proud that we are mentioned in the Lonely Planet 2015 too. It must mean we have been getting things right.”
Whitewoods suggests Queenstown is the perfect location for a gay ski event as it offers visitors access to a range of fabulous activities. Adrenaline junkies can catch a buzz from a bungee jump, snowboards can grab a helicopter for a mountain jump into virgin snow or those with a penchant for a drop or two can sip on some the region’s best wine.
“This year’s event has more choice, more variety and allows us to showcase more of Queenstown’s hidden gems” says Whitewoods who describes Gay Ski Week QT as “electric and fun”.
“We love it. Queenstown comes alive as the community is fully behind us, so they support the event too.”
Asked what the punters can expect from their week in Queenstown, Whitewoods is adamant whether you’re a Gay Ski Week QT virgin or a repeat visitor, there will be new and exciting opportunities.
“Apart from a lot of fun, we offer some recurring events as well as trying to keep other events changing constantly. We are aware that not everyone does the same holiday each year. However, we like to change things up just in case they do and then we can offer something new.”
She cites the local community as integral to the success of the event and says Queenstown’s reputation as the adrenaline capital of the world coupled with the locals ‘try anything once’ attitude is symbiotic and embracing of both LGBTIQ people and an LGBTIQ event.
“We have a thriving tourism industry and this means that anyone and everyone visits the area. The locals are very welcoming to everyone and due to the turn-around of travellers in the area, Queenstown appeals to a wide range of people. We love it here and have never had a problem walking hand in hand.”
The 2015 Gay Ski Week QT events are endless with something on offer every night. This year’s event kicks off with the ever so popular MoreFM Opening Party, SKYCITY Queenstown Karaoke hosted by Miss Ribena and wraps up with a final night hosted by Broken Shed with the theme ‘Once Upon a Time’.
This winter, Gay Ski Week QT is the place to be! Don’t miss out - tickets are on sale now at www.gayskiweekqt.com. Travel packages to Gay Ski Week QT start from $495 per person through Kirra Holidays. For more information on travel packages and flights head to www.kirraholidays.com