QNews Winter Pride Day 5: Final Days, Eternal Gays

Winter Pride Ski Flag Parde
Image: Supplied

Follow QNews as we join our friends and neighbours at Winter Pride in Queenstown. A week of on and off-mountain festivities celebrating the LGBTIQ+ community with love, diversity, visibility, safety, and inclusion, thanks to Winter Pride ’23 and Booking.com.

Winter Pride NZ events are officially over and I’m at Queenstown Airport, sitting in the departure lounge reflecting on the week I had. My flight has been delayed by an hour. I’m currently running on a collective 20-hours sleep for the week. I’m committing to a detox for September and October. My voice is a Barry White deep with an Al Pacino rasp. And I wouldn’t have had it ANY. OTHER. WAY.

QNews’ mission to Winter Pride in Queenstown with Booking.com was for us to represent the unique experience that is Winter Pride NZ in this South Island nirvana. As a writer, I don’t say this next bit lightly. There aren’t enough words to explain the whole experience, and the final weekend which wrapped everything up in a fabulous, sequined rain-bow. However, I’ll absolutely try to – I owe it to Winter Pride NZ.

Winter Pride Ski Flag Parade in action
Making my way downhill

A Mountain of Queers

The final day on the slopes for Winter Pride included the Annual Pride Ski Flag Parade at Cardona Alpine Resort. After a few runs (and a beer) with my Pride Pals, we gathered atop at the Pride Zone ready for the parade. Large rainbow and progress pride flags were distributed to everyone to brandish down the mountain. Then it was time to say, “okay ladies, now let’s get in formation” and start the parade.

Snowboarding is already one of the most liberating feelings in the world to me, and this parade added a whole level to that. Feeling as if I were Superman, complete with my flowing rainbow cape, I felt invincible. Curving and shredding down that hill, surrounded by my loud and proud LGBTIQ+ family was sensational. The cherry on top were the joyful kids calling out “rainbows, rainbows!” as we went by, absolutely LIVING for ourselves in our own little rain-bubble. This snowboarding experience now takes the top spot for me (sorry Lake Louise).

Winter Pride Propaganda Snow Ball
Kita Mean performing at the Propaganda Snow Ball

Off to the ball

With the parade over and the final on-mountain skiing event complete, it was time to head home and prepare for the penultimate event – the Propaganda Snowball. Sporting an outfit that I coined “Working Girl – classy stripper meets executive realness,” I was ready to go to the ball. Arriving, you could already feel the buzz of excitement and celebration. Piling into the Queenstown Memorial Centre, the place was decked out with a lighting and digital design that took my breath away. DJ Jordan Eskra arriving via my favourite style of entrance – a rising platform behind the DJ booth.  He then, naturally, proceeded to blast banger after banger. Kita Mean opened the show with a camp AF performance, followed by stunning shows and sets by the Jawbreakers, DJ Joelby, Kita Mean, Jimi The Kween, Beverly Kills and more!

I drank, embraced the new friends I had made and danced up an absolute snowstorm. The best way to summarise this party is with one sentence. I was there until the house lights came on. Enough said.

On my way home I stopped by what is possibly Queenstown’s most famous institution, Fergburger, for a 4am feed. How did it taste? Well, let’s just say that I went back the day after for another burger.

Winter Pride NZ 2023 Sunday Session
Sunday Session: The Winter Pride last (liquid) supper

Music, dancing and tears (mostly mine)

And then it was Sunday – the final day of Winter Pride NZ, 2023. A day of bittersweet feelings, long farewells, and a bit more dancing. Those left gathered at Sundeck Rooftop Bar on a gorgeous afternoon in sunny, crisp Queenstown for Sunday Session. This casual afternoon party was like the series finale of your favourite television show. Moments to make you smile, laugh, get misty-eyed, all wrapped up in a sense of queer-filled closure. The perfect way to end Winter Pride off, not with a bang, but with a gang hang. It was a night of sharing my final laughs, kisses, and cuddles with those I got to know along the way.

Soon (possibly too soon) it was time to head back to where it all began, the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I left with a sense of fulfillment and joy, that I haven’t felt in a while. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there absolutely is something magical about Winter Pride NZ. Perhaps it’s the gorgeous town that hosts it. Maybe it’s the top-notch ski hills and resorts to spend your days in après bliss. It’s definitely the result of Pride Pledge and Winter Pride organisers Martin King and Mike Hughes’ tireless and passion-filled efforts. And it’s absolutely thanks to the wonderful sponsors, Booking.com, SkyCity Queenstown, Accor Live Limitless, Tom Tom, Mediaworks, Real NZ and MANY more. And it is, without a doubt, the beautiful people that attend.

Winter Pride Friends
From left to right: Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, and Doc

My own personal shoutout to Aaron, Matt, Zachy Lambie, John, Brynley, Don, Alex, and many others who made me feel welcomed, included, and had me laughing my ass off for 6-days straight.

So, here I am. Reflecting on my time in Queenstown, and I have only one more thing to share. I’m already on Booking.com planning my trip next year.

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Mitch Broom

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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