Kickstarting on Friday 25 August through to Sunday 3 September, Winter Pride will be painting Queenstown rainbow! Organiser Martin King tells YOUR EX what we can expect from the 2023 festival.

This is the first Winter Pride in a few years to not be affected by Covid restrictions – what has that meant for you as an organiser and what will be the impact on Winter Pride’s attendees?

OMG, what a difference this has made. It’s kinda surreal not having to have a million contingencies in place for covid and it’s hard to imagine having to ever do that again. It’s meant much less stress for us to organise, our sponsors have more confidence and our guests do not have to fear restrictions imposed on events – they can just plan to make the most of the festival and we can invest in amazing events and talent. 


What do you love about organising Winter Pride?

We love lots of things about it, but mainly how people just love it year after year. For many guests, this is their favourite pride festival of the year and they travel far and wide and come back every single year. That’s pretty special and we love being able to create something that has this impact on people.

Winter Pride’s dynamic duo Marty & Mike

You have always been transparent that Winter Pride has a larger Australian audience than Kiwis. How do the expectations of an Australian audience differ from Kiwis and what do you do to meet those expectations?

The main differences are really that Aussies plan and book earlier, they stay much longer, and typically buy more event tickets or our larger passes so financially they make a much bigger contribution to the festival which gives us the ability to plan and invest more back into the festival. Other than that, I think like Kiwis they love Queenstown, and getting to celebrate pride there is a bonus and is something special – especially for our snow virgins!

Australia and New Zealand audiences aside, are you expecting people from any other countries to be flying in from any other countries for Winter Pride this year?

We have had registrations from the USA again from as far as Chicago which is fabulous and a few from Europe and Asia. It’s great to see these guests coming back and we know there will be many visitors in Queenstown already from far and wide who will make the most of our events who don’t even know it’s on yet. 

Are there any unique events that might be flying under the radar that our readers should make sure they don’t miss?

This year we have our biggest lineup of events to date which is super exciting. We love so many events, it’s always hard to point out a few. Our main message is that there is something for everyone and you do not need to ski to enjoy Winter Pride. From drag shows, games nights, dance parties, snow days, sweat events, and daily apres ski. This year, we also bring you Pride in the Snow at Coronet Night Ski, which is our first-ever full-drag show in the snow – so that is pretty exciting. 

Queenstown’s Winter Pride.

What are your expectations for the snow this year and what does that mean for ski and snowboard enthusiasts?

Queenstown and Wanaka have just had the biggest snow dump of the season and there is more on the way this week. This amount of snow usually lasts through Winter Pride, but of course, we are happy for more snow to just keep on coming. Bring it on!

I hear the scene on the mountain is quite unique during Winter Pride compared to the rest of the snow season. Tell us a bit about that.

The mountains are filled with rainbows – it is spectacular and there is just a great buzz and atmosphere with our Winter Pride DJS on the mountains each day getting people dancing in the snow, our theme days celebrating pride and Winter Pride guests just generally having an amazing time. Having Queer visibility in snow sports is special and like all sports, this is something that we have not seen much of historically You have to experience this, it’s hard to describe, but it’s special and ultimately it’s about amazing people having a great time celebrating pride and being themselves. 

A Western-themed Party from Winter Pride 2022

For more info on Winter Pride 2023 click here.