Sometimes we advise people, ‘go jump in the lake’, but that’s actually happening during this afternoon’s opening party for a jam-packed 10-day Queenstown Bike Festival.

Action commences at 4pm with a log ride by Steamer Wharf, in which mountain bike riders try to avoid falling into the lake.

Then, from the Earnslaw wharf from 6.45pm, riders will be showing off their tricks as they leap into Lake Whakatipu.

Ten years ago, in a similar event, legendary pro rider, the late Kelly McGarry, leapt off the Earnslaw itself.

This year’s festival once again concludes with the three-day McGazza Fest in his honour — he died, aged 33, in 2016.

Festival organiser, Queenstown Mountain Bike Club’s Emmerson Wilken, says he’s expecting the event will again attract hundreds of out-of-town riders, including many from Australia.

Two events, tomorrow’s Coro1200 on Coronet Peak and next Wednesday’s Downhill, on Queenstown Bike Park, form part of national series.

However, there are also many fun events including tomnorrow afternoon’s 16-inch Pub Champs at Canyon Brewing, relocated from Gantley’s
Tavern due to building work there.

Though there’ll be a lot of pro riders – including Robin Goomes, pictured left with Harriet Burbidge-Smith – Wilken says the ‘‘grassroots’’ festival’s very much geared towards providing opportunities for kids and up-and-coming riders.

‘‘It’s kind of cool where a little 10-year-old who aspires to be pretty good gets to ride alongside one of his idols.’’

He’s delighted at the number of vollies they’ve recruited — ‘‘I imagine we’ll have, like, 80 volunteers’’.

However, he says the sponsorship market’s tough.

‘‘We’ve definitely scraped it together just to make it happen, but it’s how things happen with the mountain bike club, we just pull things off on the smell of an oily rag, really.’’

Despite that, Wilken says they’re committed to keeping most entry fees cheap or free, ‘‘so more people and more kids can do more of the events rather than just try to pick a few out’’.

Mark your diary

Queenstown Bike Fest highlights include:

● Today: Opening party, 4pm, Log Ride by Steamer Wharf; 6.45, Lake Jump off Earnslaw wharf
● Tomorrow, January 20: 12pm, Coro1200 Race, Coronet Peak; 5pm, 16-inch Pub Champs, Canyon Brewing
● Sunday, January 21: Slopestyle, Wynyard Bike Park, 1pm kids, 3pm women and men
● Monday, January 22: Dual Slalom, Frankton Beach, 3pm kids, 5pm women and men
● Tuesday, January 23: Pump Track, Kerry Drive, 3pm kids, 5pm adults
● Wednesday, January 24: 6pm, Whip Off, Skyline
● Friday, January 26 to Sunday, January 28: McGazza Fest (details next week’s Mountain Scene)
For more details, visit

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