Doubling fun with two dog derbies

The Dog Derby, part of the Queenstown Winter Festival, in 2016. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Dog Derby, part of the Queenstown Winter Festival, in 2016. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Queenstown Lakes now has two dog derbies.

Coronet Peak ski area owner NZSki announced yesterday it will hold races in the snow for dogs and their owners on September 29.

That is about three months after Cardrona Alpine Resort hosted its version of the long-running event as part of the Queenstown Winter Festival.

Coronet Peak ski area manager Nigel Kerr said the dog derby was returning "where the event originated".

It had hosted the derby almost every year for more than 40 years, since former staff member Des Gavin came up with the idea in 1974.

He was confident it would attract good numbers, despite it being late in the season.

Although lambing made it a busy time for farmers, "you can't pick a date that's going to be perfect for everybody".

"We've had a lot of public feedback - it'll be well supported.

"It's a lot warmer, a lot more comfortable, and everyone will have much more of a social day, and that's what it's all about.

"And bear in mind that when the winter festival first started, it was in late August anyway."

NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson raised the prospect of the company holding its own dog derby back in April.

The company is apparently determined to carve out a new profile for Coronet Peak and its other Queenstown ski area, the Remarkables, after the winter festival's on-mountain events - including the dog derby - were moved to rival skifield Cardrona Alpine Resort this year.

Cardrona is owned by Real Journeys, which became the festival's naming rights sponsor last October.

Last month, it was announced Coronet Peak and the Remarkables would host on-mountain events for the Snowboxx festival, a one-week music-oriented festival expected to be held in the resort next September.

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