A Gay Ski Week With a Kiwi Twist

The organizers of the upcoming Gay Ski Week New Zealand (Aug. 29-Sept. 6) roll out the kiwi carpet to skiers and non-skiers around the world, starting with Advocate.com's own Dennis Hensley.

BY Dennis Hensley

July 15 2009 12:00 AM ET

NEW ZEALAND DENNIS HENSLEY BUNGY XLRG (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.CO

I'll do my best to get the word out. Is it all men? Sanford: A small but enthusiastic number of girls come. Last year the girls took over the dance floor at the Welcome Party [ Laughs ]. And the local girls seem to come out of the woodwork for the Queenstown's Got Talent karaoke night.

What's unique about the skiing in Queenstown? Sanford: We've got some of the best ski fields in this part of the world. Coronet Peak is only a 20-minute car ride and then you've got the Remarkables, which is about an hour away, and there are another three ski fields at Wanaka. And this year we're doing night skiing, something we've never done before.

Are most of your attendees experienced skiers? Sanford: We have a good mix, from people who don't ski at all right through to the top end. Lawson: We also have instructors and, oh my God, the Swedish ski instructors? Hot hot hot! Every year I come I'm like, "I'm learning to ski again. Pick me up off the ground, please!" Sanford: As the event's grown, we've gotten more couples where one skis and one doesn't, so we're adding more daytime non-ski events.

Like tandem skydiving, which I saw on the website. Sanford: One of the sexiest things you can do, I think, is being strapped to a guy and jumping out of an airplane. There's also the world-famous Shotover Jet boat ride. It's scary but fun. Or you could do something more relaxing like drive out to Arrowtown. It's a really charming old prospector town where you can have a meal or play a round of golf.

I visited Arrowtown last night, had some delicious Indian food at Mantra and took in a flick at Dorothy Browns cinema. Lawson: There are so many things you can do. Queenstown is also the home of bungee jumping, where it all started.

I jumped yesterday at the Canyon River Swing ! I was so terrified, but now I feel quite studly.Lawson: You'll never get me bungeeing. [ Laughs ]

Not even at the "Horizontal Bungee Mayhem" event during Gay Ski Week? What is that exactly? Lawson: There's an elastic band that's strapped on you and then you have to run as fast as you can. We do it in a bar and have the bungee professionals come down and organize it. It's a lot of fun.

Tell me about the parties at Gay Ski Week. Lawson: On the first night, we have our Welcome Party at the Novotel. Then there's our midweek Busted Party where you come dressed as your favorite busted character, like Britney Spears or Heather Locklear. And then the closing party is the White Out Party, which is the best night ever! Last year we had about 400 guys.

There's also something called "The Spectacular Spectacular." Lawson: That's where you take a gondola ride up to a ballroom at the top of the mountain, a beautiful setting overlooking Queenstown. We'll have entertainment, dinner, and show. Fantastic.

Tags: Travel

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