Dump no worries for Winter Festival


Yesterday’s snowfall hasn’t got Winter Festival boss Simon Green too worried – despite a heavy dump wreaking havoc three years ago. 

About 3cm settled on Queenstown’s streets on Wednesday ahead of the resort’s big winter party kicking off tomorrow. 

Green describes the fall as “just a wee snow bomb” and doesn’t expect a repeat of 2007, when many events during the 10-day long party had to be cancelled or postponed due to a whiteout. 

On that occasion, flights were disrupted, the opening party was cancelled and organisers were stung tens of thousands in lost revenue – but a similar scenario isn’t likely this time, Green insists. 

“Hell no. The weather looks beautiful for the end of the week.” 

The snow flurry was a bit of a treat for Green, who turned 38 on Tuesday. 

“It always snows on my birthday,” he says. “It was my birthday on opening day in 2007 when we had to cancel it.” 

The snowfall has thrown up a few hurdles for Winter Festival preparations. 

Three trucks stocked with sound and lighting equipment were temporarily stuck in Christchurch until the roads reopened – but events are on schedule, according to Green. 

Local meteorologist David Crow has forecast chilly but clear days this week, although he predicts frost will cement the snow in place until Saturday, when the festival’s street parade is scheduled. 

Crow joins the crowd every year to watch the floats go past and wants to be on the sidelines as usual. 

“Bugger the weather,” is his attitude, if plans go pear-shaped. 

The snow forced Queenstown Airport to cancel flights yesterday morning but it was back in operation by the afternoon. 

Sergeant Brian Cameron says Queenstown police dealt with a number of minor car crashes during the morning after wintry conditions caught people by surprise, but there were no injuries. 

Meanwhile, local school kids had the whole day off to enjoy the powder.