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Best costume Shotover Jet at The Hits 90.4 Birdman 2017 JG 09

Shenanigans from lakefront to mountain top rule Day 3.

MEDIA RELEASE: Shenanigans from lakefront to mountain top rule the day at the 43rd Queenstown Winter Festival 

Sunny skies and crowds turned out for action on Queenstown Bay, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables Ski Area for the third day and night of the 43rd Queenstown Winter Festival.

“Today had so many ‘only at Queenstown Winter Festival’ at its best moments from icy lake plunges and crowds enjoying the spectacle on the waterfront, bob sleds, suitcases and mountain bikes on snow, and the glamour of the Skycity Ball,” said Lisa Buckingham, Festival Director of the Queenstown Winter Festival.

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow was held under stunning sunny blue skies at the Remarkables Ski Area. Forty seven women and 18 women lined up to compete on the packed-snow covered course. The deceivingly rolling course saw competitors pick up serious speed on the packed snow by the time they reached the home straight.

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow men’s division winner and President of the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club Jimmy Carling was out to improve on his 3rd placing in 2017 and reported reaching a speed of 82km an hour as he almost straight-lined it down the Remarkables Ski Area for the finish line followed by David Perez Nanni (Queenstown) and Tim Hall (Queenstown). 

The woman’s division was a photo finish with Natalie Jakobs and Kathy Morns (both from Queenstown) coming first equal and Amy Freedman (Queenstown) and Melissa Newell (Wanaka) coming 3rd equal. Natalie Jakobs was second in 2016.

iHeart Radio Day on the Bay delivered on its promise of Festival craziness. The Mitre10 Mega Raft Race saw DIY rafts take to the lake with mixed results for the handy men and women’s efforts. Go Orange won convincingly while xxx had to get an assisting nudge from Harbourmaster Marty Black on his jetski.

Whether the JUCY Undy 500 competitors were shivering from anticipation or the nip in the air, the energy being expended was soon converted to adrenalin as they raced a brutal course across the stony beach, through icy lake water, over rough hay bales and the final challenge, a huge inflatable obstacle course. Competitors wore only sponsors apparel – JUCY undies and wigs, feather boas and in one instance possum nipple warmers.

The JUCY Undy 500 always attracts an international crowd as visiting backpackers try to win some extra funds for their Queenstown adventures.  New Zealanders took out the top places with visitors making a good showing. The 2017 JUCY Undy 500 men’s division winner was Alex Radley (Auckland) with Marcel Stettler (Switzerland) in second and Harold Chiffoleau (USA) in third. The Women’s division winner was Georgia Holt (Winton), in second Amanda Broughton (Wellington) and third was Amelia Zupan (USA).

Five local jet boat operators lined up for the Vincent Holdings Jet Sprints, competing on a snake like course that combined slalom and sprinting skills. A previous winner on multiple occasions Kevin Molloy from Skippers Canyon Jet took it out once more.

The Hits 90.4 Birdman competition attracted entries from ten local businesses and brave members of the public including a trio from Melbourne who entered last minute. Best flight was judged to be Surfin Bird from Mitre10 Mega,  Best Corporate entry was SKYCITY as Pokemon, and Best Costume/contraption went to the Shotover Jet entry ‘flown’ by a jetboat driver who is part way through his 120 hour training program and had been told that performing in The Hits 90.4 Birdman was part of the training programme. The best overall entry was judged to be Queenstown Fire Rescue whose team of four had the crowds wondering whether they would sink to the bottom – until they performed a calendar worthy burlesque and removed their fire gear.

The Opening of Night Skiing at Coronet Peak was a welcome return to the programme and doubly so as it hosted the Olympus Bob Sled Race and the Auckland Airport Suitcase Race. Competitors attempted to rival Jimmy Carling’s speed of 82kph but the truth will remain stuff of legend as no measurement was possible. The Olympus Bobsled Race was taken out by Chris Neill from Gisborne. The Auckland Airport Suitcase Race’s women’s division was won by Meriel Farr (Queenstown) and the men’s by Corey Sinteur (Queenstown).

The Skycity Stampede made it two from two as they beat Auckland’s Botany Swarm in the second game of an ice hockey double header. In a presumed first for the NZIHL competition, both teams featured a trio of brothers – Cameron, Lachlan and Mitchell Frear of Queenstown for the Skycity Stampede and Andrew, Oliver and Joshua Hay of Auckland for the Botany Swarm.

Across town the Shanghai Nights Skycity Ball saw contact and co-ordinated moves of another kind as ski gear and merino layers were shed for more glamorous attire.  At the Heritage Hotel, PechaKucha Queenstown Vol. 7 presented by Macpac featured ten speakers.  The challenge is to limit your presentation to 20 slides that can only appear for 20 seconds each ensuring a lively and fast paced evening.

The Festival continues on the streets of downtown Queenstown and Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Areas until Sunday 25 June 2017 at 9pm.


The Hits 90.4 Birdman
Best Flight: Mitre 10
Best Costume/contraption Shotover Jet
Best Corporate: SKYCITY
Best Overall: Queenstown Fire Rescue

JUCY Undy 500 Men’s
1st Alex Radley (Auckland)
2nd Marcel Stettler (Switzerland)
3rd Harold Chiffoleau (USA)

JUCY Undy 500 Women’s
1st Georgia Holt (Winton)
2nd Amanda Broughton (Wellington)
3rd Amelia Zupan (USA)

Vincent Holdings Jet Sprints
Winner Kevin Molloy, Skippers Canyon Jet.

Mitre 10 Mega Raft Race
1st Go Orange
2nd REESpect

Ahoy Matey Award (for bad pirate like behaviour)
Landsker Construction Ltd

Most Epic Raft
Dart River

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow
Women’s Division
1st = Natalie Jakobs and Kathy Morris (both from Queenstown)
3rd = Amy Freedman (Queenstown) and Melissa Newell (Wanaka)

Men’s Division
1st Jimmy Carling (Queenstown)
2nd David Perez Nanni (Queenstown)
3rd Tim Hall (Queenstown)

Olympus Bobsled Race
1st Chris Neill (Gisborne)
2nd Julien Facci (Queenstown)
3rd Chris Heaven (Perth)

Best Dressed
Kieran Metherell (Christchurch)

Auckland Airport Suitcase Race
Women’s Division
1st Meriel Farr (Queenstown)

Men’s Division
1st Corey Sinteur (Queenstown)

Best Dressed
Chris Heaven (Perth)


Downloadable hi res images for media are available here;

Public galleries with more downloadable hi res images for each event are here;

Fresh images will be uploaded hourly from 22 – 27 June 2017. Please check the metadata for detailed captions, photographer credits and waiver confirmation. Email [email protected] if any further information is required.

Raw video footage courtesy of Olympus is available for the 2017 Monteith’s Dog Derby and Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow. Email [email protected] to request a Dropbox folder share. 

Contact: Simone Flight
Media Relations Manager
Tel: 021 1656 218
[email protected]

The Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates the start of winter as only Queenstown can. From 22-25 June 2017 from lake front to mountain top Queenstown brims with locals and visitors, street parties, music, comedy, family fun and wintery themed madness. Visit and sign up to the Friends of Festival mailing list and follow the Festival on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.