Approximately 1,500 adventurous skiers from New Zealand and Australia gathered at Queenstown’s ski field to shatter multiple winter records, clad only in their swimwear.
As part of the Snow Machine festival, the “Polar Bare” event at the Remarkables Ski Field set a new benchmark for the largest gathering of skiers in swimwear, surpassing last year’s record. In just its second year, the event witnessed a remarkable 40 percent increase compared to 2022, establishing an unofficial world record, according to event officials.
“Our Polar Bare event is all about fun for our participants, so we haven’t yet felt the need to involve Guinness World Record officials. However, this year’s turnout exceeded our 2022 figures,” explained a spokesperson for Snow Machine. They expressed intentions to engage record officials in the following year for an official record attempt.
The previous official record was held by a ski field in Sochi, Russia, with approximately 1,200 skiers donning swimwear. The stage is now set for a potential challenge in 2024.
One record that remained undisputed:
The event on Thursday also broke NZSki resort’s own record for the highest number of visitors in a single day.
The success of Queenstown’s Snow Machine comes after a challenging start to its second year.
The winter music festival had to change its initial venue abruptly, as Queenstown Recreation Ground denied access for nightly parties due to objections from the neighboring Kiwi Park. Mountain Scene reported that the party had disrupted the bird breeding season at Kiwi Park.
Drawing approximately 6,000 attendees, with 90 percent hailing from Australia, Snow Machine relocated to the Remarkables Park in Frankton just two weeks before its scheduled dates from September 5 to 10.
The festival organizers praised the new venue for its layout and crowd management, providing ample space for patrons to enjoy themselves. The festival also arranged bus links between the city center and the festival grounds.
With the Remarkables ski field expected to close on October 8 and Coronet Peak on September 24, the conclusion of the ski season promises to be filled with vibrant events.
In the midst of mild spring and El Niño weather, it’s challenging to discern whether people are gearing up for the beach or the ski slopes, showcasing the versatility of winter sports attire.