Downtown rink may return

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Ice skating in downtown Queenstown will become an annual event if the Winter Festival boss has his way. 

The Wonderland ice rink was erected over the Village Green during the 10-day extravaganza – and Simon Green hopes it’ll become festival regular. 

The rink – shipped out from America – cost Winter Festival, Red Events and Stars on Ice about $140,000 between them to put on. 

Green hopes it’ll be self-sustaining in future years but ash cloud problems and a late start to the snow season knocked visitor numbers this year. 

“People that were on there were enjoying themselves immensely, but numbers aren’t necessarily what we had hoped for…if the town was gangbusters and the mountain was open and we were all guns blazing, the numbers would have obviously been better,” Green says. 

“It goes without saying if two carriers aren’t flying into Queenstown because of the ash cloud, there’s going to be less people here.” 

Green adds the “vast majority” of the people donning skates for a blast on the ice were first-timers and the rink raised the profile of ice skating in the town.