Article Title:Matt's off-piste Gay Ski Week wrap-up
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:10th September 2008 - 10:52 pm
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Story ID:6470
Text:Cardrona ski field I hate people seeing me at my wibbly-wobbly worst, so I wasn't particularly keen on heading up Queenstown's slopes too often during Gay Ski Week NZ 2008. NOT AFTER LAST TIME! Picture it – September 2005. Petrol prices had increased, Winston was being naughty, and we were worried Helen would lose the election. How things have changed… It was my first Gay Ski Week, and since I'd never done snow before, I was assigned a skiing coach to guide me into it gently. He was a very patient man, a very VERY patient man, and after several tries my confidence built. He showed me how the keep my knees bent and hold my position. Soon we were slipping and sliding. Hmmm, I hope none of what I'm typing here sounds sexual! Anyway, we had a good go on the beginner slopes. Not too bad. "This is easy," I said cockily… but then I crashed into a whole bunch of kiddiewinks, knocking them all flying! I think there were some survivors, but not many. I had a great time at the parties and other events of the week that year, but politely declined to attend Gay Ski Week since then. Then 2008 rolled around, and we'd heard that some undie models from the Aussie gay DNA magazine would be there, so the people around me demanded I go and get photos. Your loyal servant obeyed. GIDDAY MATE… GRAB A BALL It looked like Queenstown, but we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, since everyone I met on the first night sounded Aussie. Not that I minded. We went for ten-pin at Queenstown's Strike Bowl in the evening. No-one seemed particularly good at bowling but with all the cocktails and pizza on offer, it didn't matter. There were loads more people involved than had been there in 2005, but I was told it was last year's bowling that was the most memorable. A couple of straight guys had been told it was Gay Ski Week so had run inside naked and did a little dance. "They were adorable, what a shame they didn't do it again this year," said one horny Sydneysider between bowls. TUESDAY: ADVENTURE DAY, PARTY NIGHT Tuesday was a day of adventuring, with loads of people going bungy jumping, sky diving, and jet boating. I just went to an internet café, naturally. The connection was so fast, I was thrilled and had to have a little lie down afterwards. So we were all exhausted but still on a high when we got together for the Ski Bum Party at a river-side pub later. Quite a low-key affair, just nibbles, a DJ, a roaring fire and a well-stocked bar, but the place was full of Ski Week explorers telling their brave and inspiring stories of wonderful days on the Shotover Jet, up the peaks again, or helicopter touring. I already recognised plenty of people from the previous night, but there were many new faces. It was one of those fun easy nights of taking photos where everyone was keen to stop and chat, mix and mingle. I left around 2am but it was still going long after that. Queenstown, with gondola in background WET WEDNESDAY Did I mention that the Crowne Plaza Hotel was lovely? It was the base hotel for the week, with most of the Ski Weekers staying there, and hosted an after-ski social drinks each evening. The information desk was in the lobby, with the lovely Craig always there ready with flyers for activities, ticket bookings and bright smiles. I say this now because on Wednesday the weather packed in, and many Ski Weekers decided not to venture out from the building at all. It was a welcome relief to a few who were tired and injured from taking on the mountains for the last few days – many said they'd use the rainy day as a chance to stop and get massaged, beauty treated, etc… but I suspect most were too laxed out to do more that just drink and eat downstairs, then head upstairs for more slumbertime. The DNA cruise dinner that night was the highlight of the week for me – aboard the old TSS Earnslaw steamship, where you can see the men shoveling in coal with their big arms. Historic! Then when we got there, the view at Walter Peak was wonderful, the meal was multi-choice buffet and I must make special mention of Miri Stacey the hilarious MC for the evening… she conducted a strange auctioning off of some of the Ski Week's most eligible hotties in which no charity was mentioned and no money changed hands. It was fun to watch though! THURSDAY SIPPING, TASTING, SINGING AND… MORE DRINKING Thursday's wine tour was a chance to check which of the Ski Weekers would spit or swallow... sorry – that's an oldie and not a goodie… anyway I'm no expert wine coiffeur but Queenstown sure has plenty of vineyards, all giving grapes that the winemakers assured us were second to none. We also had lunch, tasted cheese, feared for our lives on a bus going up and down a hill perilously close to a fenceless cliff face, and explored Gibbson Valley's cellar cave inside a mountain. One wine barrel holds up to 300 bottles of vino, is brought to NZ from France at a cost of $1,500, and can only be used three times. See, I learned heaps that day. Karaoke with Kitty Glitter Sydney's drag DJ/MC Kitty Glitter arrived at Sky City Theatre at the same time I did in the evening. The karaoke started off bleakly with loads of randoms crowding out the ski weekers and drowning them out with their rubbish singing which just sounded like so much wailing. I went across the floor to gamble, but still couldn't escape the bad karaoke which bounced around the walls of the whole place. This improved later on though, as some Kiwis arrived and mixed in very well with the hot Aussies. I started to match-make and got some good photos. There were a few lesbians and random drag queens – so it was suddenly LGBT Ski Week NZ and not just Gay Men's Sydney Week in NZ… I'm not sure if indeed 'Queenstown Has Talent' though. FRIDAY WHITE OVER AND OUT Friday afternoon I spent with Hamish from the Gay Men's Health team. He has a pimped-out van to go around the South Island in: He's lovely. Don't let the dodgy beard put you off – it gets cold in the south. We ate at Winnie's Gourmet Pizza Restaurant – the food was yummy but they raise the roof every few minutes "to let the heat out", plus there was a noisy stag night in there so I was over it and counting down to the big party. Just hours before the party started, a change of venue was announced – the big White Out Party took place at the brand new Thirsty Ram upstairs venue. I guessed that a bigger venue had been sought at the last minute due to high demand, but Mike the organiser said that the new venue was slightly smaller, with the change due to the liquor license – the previous place would have had to close at 3am, disappointing the people who wanted to dance the whole night away. The Thirsty Ram smelled of newness, and the party was busy (around 400 people), with the laser lights shipped in from Sydney. Music was provided by Kitty Glitter who is very glam and had good taste, plus Dan Murphy, who lives in Sydney but he's invited to Auckland often for Salvation parties - so I see him more often than some of my family! DJ Dan Murphy   
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