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The Carnival is over for another year as the 39th American Express Queenstown Winter Festival draws to a close.

July 2, 2013 DESTINATION No Comments Email Email

The penultimate night and day of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter celebration didn’t disappoint as Queenstowners watched epic one on one battles ringside, snow boarders and skiers competed for slopestyle honours and families took a global trip around downtown Queenstown.

Queenstowners with careers as varied as a DJ, a policeman, a builder, a hair dresser and a massage therapist took to the ring in front of a sell-out crowd to raise funds for the Branches Charitable Trust in the Mountain Scene Thriller in the Chiller Charity Boxing event.

Thriller in the Chiller is touted as one of Queenstown’s hottest nights of the year and the enthusiastic black tie and glitzy dress clad crowd would have agreed, cheering their favourite contestants during the ten hard-fought bouts.

Thriller in the Chiller event manager Simon Green said that this year’s event saw ‘some of the best bouts’ in the four year history of the event.

“In terms of the calibre of the boxing, the bar has been lifted again,” said Simon.

“The pure heart of these amateur boxers in the name of charity was inspirational.”

After a gruelling 12 weeks of training, the 20 competitors did themselves and their trainers proud providing a fantastic evening of entertainment that the audience recognised with a standing ovation at the end of the 10 bouts.

Undoubtedly the fights of the night were between crowd favourite Henry ‘Hand Grenade’ Youngman and Geoff ‘Grizzler’ Chapman and Sarah ‘Storm Born’ Bergin and Megan ‘Mayhem’ Mathews.  Both bouts were scored tightly with Geoff ‘Grizzler’ Chapman and Megan ‘Mayhem’ Mathews winning on points.

On the last day of the 39th American Express Winter Festival, the mountain came to Remarkables Park Town Centre for the Kids Big Snow Dig. Parents took a break from shopping to watch the kids dig in the fresh snow, trucked down especially from the mountains by NZSki Ltd.

At The Remarkables, the Quiksilver Slopestyle Invitational saw some of the best local snowboarders and skiers alongside a line-up of New Zealand’s best. Local Nick Hyne took out the men’s Quiksilver Invitational Slopestyle snowboarding and Alec Savery the skiing divisions. Adrie Lawrence took out the women’s skiing title. Young Cool Wakushima was one of three siblings of the Queenstown based Wakushima family competing and won the women’s division.

Tonight the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival came to a close with a positively global vibe at the inaugural Auckland Airport Community Carnival. Dotted around the streets of the CBD, the diverse cultures of Queenstown’s residents were represented by ‘zones’.

Families poured into downtown Queenstown for the carnival-style street event visiting an eclectic mix of more than 20 stalls run by local charities, schools, restaurants and cultural groups and listened to buskers and bands on street corners.

American Express Queenstown Winter Festival Director Lisa Buckingham said she was “happily exhausted” and “thrilled” with how well this year’s Festival had gone and was looking forward to celebrating tonight.

“It’s been so great to see the local community and visitors enjoying ten of the coolest days of winter on and off the slopes and fully embracing all that the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival stands for – bringing people and fun together to mark the start of winter.”

“I am sure it’ll be a great 2013 season and already we’re excited about next year’s 40th anniversary American Express Queenstown Winter Festival. Watch this space!”

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