The new owners of Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week QT have taken the radical step of rebranding it.
From Thursday just gone, the long-running annual festival is renamed ‘Winter Pride’.
Locals Mike Hughes and Martin King, who took over early this year, have huge praise for the way former owners Sally and Mandy Whitewoods built up the event over seven years.
But they feel the new name will help broaden the festival’s appeal still further, especially beyond New Zealand and Australia.
King: “The words ‘gay’ and ‘ski’ can potentially be seen as a bit limiting.
“We think that ‘Winter Pride’ better captures the essence of what Queenstown offers.”
Hughes adds: “Winter Pride still includes the mountains but we’re not over-reliant on any one aspect, so if it’s a bad ski season, the festival can still continue. Internationally, the word ‘pride’ is recognised as creating safe, inclusive, tolerant spaces, and it’s not just about gender and sexuality, it’s about identity in all forms.”
It also works better with business partners, Hughes says.
“One of the things they like [about the new name] is they can all feel proud to be part of this, even if they’re straight.”
King says the name change is already helping them grow their sponsorship, in turn enabling them to grow the event and therefore grow its benefits to town.
“Our vision is we will be recognised as hosting one of the world’s biggest winter pride events in the future.”
Meanwhile, as part of broadening Winter Pride’s reach to the community at large, the organisers are planning a public ‘Pride in the Park’ event in the Gardens on September 7 during this year’s festival.
Winter Pride runs across the resort from September 1 till 9.