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Saturday 10 October 2015


GaySkiWeekQT: Day 7&8: Farewell party time

Posted in: Our Communities
By Jay Bennie - 5th September 2015

Saturday, 11pm:

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Gay and dance floor anthems are pumping at Queenstown's Memorial Hall centre where hundreds of costumed party-goers are marking the end of Gay Ski Week QT at the Once Upon A Time party.

A quick glance around the dance floor reveals Zoros, pirates, wicked witches and
cave-people in a wide range of genders. There are vikings and tiggers, a flock of dragons, Zena lookalikes and plenty of fairies of all three kinds: the glittery kind, the pink kind and the 'what the fuk, just strap a pair of $2 shop wings over the t-shirt!' kind.

There are barbarians and super-heroes and Tamati Coffey has come dressed up as Tamati Coffey. There's a big, brassy broad at the door dressed up as Auckland's Miss Ribena. There's glamour-drag and tragi-drag, goth girls and muscle boys - most of them with real muscles!

Two hours after the party kicked off taxis are still bringing folks from the colder-than-cold night air to the hot and packed venue. The coat-check folk are working their butts off.

Watch tomorrow for more photos from Aaron in our Scene pics section!

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Brother and sister Sue Taylor and Jamie Dorreen
Saturday, 8.45PM:
Earlier today we met gay man Jamie Dorreen, but I've also been chatting with his lesbian sister, Susan Taylor.

Susan, like many others, comes to Gay Ski Week as a holiday, not so much to ski as to meet up with friends she has made along the way. “We've met a whole diverse group of people, so this year we've come together with people from Christchurch, Auckland, from over in Australia.”

She also appreciates that the South Island, with its smaller glbti communities, doesn't have many other big gay events. “And most of our events are in the warmer months so this is a way to share something with gay friends in the winter months, and it's the most beautiful setting and a great advertisement for New Zealand as a whole.”

And it's not only the glbti people she finds friendly here. “The whole of Queenstown gets behind it. The community here, the people in the shops, those who live here, even those who are here on holiday but are nothing to do with Gay Ski Week are all so welcoming and inviting. We're all here having fun together and being a community together.”

A number of people I've spoken to say that skiing creates a strong bond between people, regardless of their sexuality or circumstances. And that when you're all wrapped up in layers of clothing and practical footwear and beanies, it's a great leveler... it encourages getting to know people for who they are and not so much for what they look like or how flash they are.

Susan agrees. “Absolutely. It takes everything back down to being people. It gets away from that whole body image thing. When you're out on the ski slopes it's all about skiing and through that you get to know folks and suddenly you realise: 'I like them, they're fantastic.'"

Now it's time to get ready for the final big bash. It's a dress up party and all I know for sure is that Chris Olwage, the Black Swan, is going as Prince Charming and has been labouring for half the day with craft supplies creating his outfit.

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Saturday, Noon:
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As party-goers from last night's Life's A Beach affair start to emerge blinking into the light, those that aren't up on the slopes hiding behind double-dark sunglasses that is, stories are emerging.

Lots of hot, naked flesh, quite a lot of it writhing in the middle of the dance floor, threesomes, rumours of down and dirty action in the gents, wild women, excellent DJs, and Miss Ribena on the arm of her latest husband (or two) - see pic.

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The party went on until the small hours and sounds so good that your correspondent will be at the closing party tonight, for professional reporting reasons of course. Pics from last night will be in our Scene Pics section soon.


Saturday 11.00AM:
It's the last day of skiing today with temperatures below freezing on the skifields and heaps of fresh snow. But some folks come to Gay Ski Week just for the fun, not the slopes. Folks like Jaime Dorreen.


Jamie, of Wellington, has come to Gay Ski Week QT four years in a row. He's not much of a skier. “Tried it once for five minutes before I hit my head and gave it up. So skiing hasn't been a huge drive for me to come down to Queenstown... it's always been the atmosphere and the people who keep me coming back.”


He says that 'atmosphere' “is a little more eclectic" than in the Capital. “All kinds of gay people, bears, twinks and everyone in between come here to celebrate in one great week... and all those labels go out the window because the only labels you get interested in are 'Cardrona' and all the other skifields and that's what most people are interested in and that's why it's a fantastic place to be."

Jamie is a committed socialiser, judging by the way was he working the room at the karaoke night. What's his preferred kind of day at Gay Ski Week? “It always starts with meeting at someone's room, catching up, having coffee, lunch with other people who're not going up skiing, then going off to an evening event, everything's always leading up to something next.”

The foam party is one event that stands out for him. “It was such a special event... I love them, they're fun, they're sexy, and a little bit R18. Yes, I'm pretty sure my shorts came down at one stage but I'm not going to confirm any more than that!”

Later today I'll introduce you to gay Jamie's lesbian sister Susan, who's also in town having a ball.



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The glimmer of a rainbow (centre) cheers up a grey morning as the snow turns to sleet

Saturday, 8.30am:

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It's the perfect Gay Ski Week QT start to the day... snow and a rainbow, so right for the final day of what has been a wonderful week!

Whilst the light dusting of snow at dawn fell to lake level it is only really evident on the ground a little higher up. It's a very cold morning, rather grey but dead calm and for just a few minutes, taking our regular morning update photo thru the window of the GayNZ.com mobile newsroom we could see a glimmer of a rainbow over Frankton arm. Sweet!



Friday 6.30PM:

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Coronet Peak this morning as seen from Lake Hayes

It's sometimes a good thing to remember that there is life further afield than Queenstown and the ski slopes. Today we headed through to Central Otago, through Arrowtown, Cromwell, Clyde, Alexandra, then Wanaka and home. It's a great drive with ruggedly spectacular scenery and yummy local food along the way, from excellent smoked Tekapo salmon sandwiches to the iconic Roxburgh-made Jimmy's pies.

Speaking of ruggedly spectacular and yummy, Miss Ribena's new husband (she runs through them at the rate of about two a night) is on the door of the Life's A Beach party tonight, all muscles and skimpy red shorts

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Chris Olwage and his GSWQT poster collection
Chris Olwage was this morning helping some lesbian friends get their beach costumes ready for tonight's party, giving some colourful t-shirts  a few artistic slashes to hint at the contents.

BTW, congratulations to Luke of Whangarei who wowed the judges – and the crowd – with Bohemian Rhapsody last night to win the karaoke contest! A team from Christchurch came second and an Aussie grabbed third place.

And... we hear the broken bed tally might be up to three. What's going on?






Friday, 9.30AM:

Not up to much more than looking out at our newsroom view, typical of what you see everywhere in Queenstown during Gay Ski Week... even for non-skiers the views and crisp clear air are stunning wherever you are in town.

And the spring blossoms are starting to burst into colour, already there are lots of patches of pink everywhere... and that's not just Mary (see yesterday) or bedraggled queens staggering home in the wee hours.

A quick run around of the ski conditions at nearby fields:

Coronet Peak has an average depth of 115cm, with 6cm of fresh powder from last night, It's -3 degrees and still snowing off and on.

Damn cold up at the Remarkables field... -6!!! It's snowing there too and it's the only nearby field where chains are needed today. Average snow depth is 132cm, with 10 of that from last night's snowfall.

Over the hill at Cardrona it's cold, -4degrees, but sunny. There hasn't been any new snow to speak of since Gay Ski Week QT kicked off but they've still got an average of 147cm so who cares! Mind that incredibly slushy, muddy, rutted  access road though!

Jay Bennie - 5th September 2015

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