Tina Moore is in her element in Queenstown.
If you're a fan of champagne, food, fashion and alpine adventures (and let's face it, who isn't), Queenstown's annual Clicquot in the Snow is an absolute must-do. It has become a regular fixture on the winter social calendar, with people coming from all over the country to paint the town yellow.
When the opportunity to cover the four-day alpine champagne festival, it was a no-brainer. I am an adventurous alpine skier (tick), love great food and champagne (tick, tick), adore Queenstown (tick) and I'm a self-confessed fashion addict (tick).
Day one kicked off with the Snow Shoe Clicquot Experience at Snow Farm. In the snow-covered hills of the Southern Alps, we trekked a few easy kilometres through pristine powder to the Meadow Hut, where we were treated to a grazing platter and, of course, the first of the many glasses of Veuve Clicquot that I was to enjoy over the coming days. I also learned the art of "sabrage" — a technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber, which feels super lavish and certainly sets the scene for a celebration.
The snowshoeing plus the super-early start (7am flight out of Auckland) called for an early night. We had to be fresh for a 6am wake-up call.
It was still pitch black when the alarm went off but excitement levels were high as I dosed up on caffeine and prepared for First Tracks at Coronet Peak. We arrived at base just in time for the first lift at 8am, and we enjoyed uninterrupted access to the fresh-groomed tracks until 9am, when the mountain opens to everyone else without a First Tracks pass.
It's absolutely worth the early wake-up to have the mountain to yourself, with the beautiful views and sunrise over the valley below. We'd had so many runs in by the time the masses arrived on the slopes that we had to take a breather at Heidi's Hut — a spot at the base of the Rocky Gully T-bar that offers pizza and pasta, or a cheeky mulled wine, crisp beer or glass of bubbles. Naturally, we went with the latter.
Later that evening, after a solid disco-nap, the girls and I zhooshed up for the exclusive launch of Kathryn Wilson's Spring/Summer '18 collection at Jack's Point. This is one of the highlights of Clicquot in the Snow, so I was not surprised to see the South Island's most stylish women arriving en masse. The show kicked off with a sassy Boh Runga rocking down the runway beating a drum, followed by a squadron of babes bedecked in Clicquot yellow and fabulous footwear. My mental shopping list grew impossibly long as the show continued. Afterwards the guests kicked up their fine heels.
Fortunately, after those shenanigans, we had a sleep-in the next day before glamming up for the Long Lunch at Rata Restaurant designed by celebrity chef Josh Emett — an exquisite four-course degustation paired with champagne. This set me up well for a shopping mission to find a fabulous outfit to wear for the Clicquot Colourama Gala, the soiree that brought festivities to a glamorous close.
I'm already planning a trip back for next year's event.
The party continues throughout August, so if you want a piece of the action, public access is still available to the following activities:
● Snow Shoe Clicquot Experience at Snowfarm.
● Clicquot Snow Helicopter Landing Soak in Queenstown's unique alpine peaks with a scenic helicopter flight, followed by a special landing on a snow-capped peak to enjoy a bottle of chilled Veuve Clicquot & your own matching beanie.
● Eforea Clicquot Spa at Hilton Queenstown will be offering a bespoke Flute & Facial'experience at their luxurious Eforea spa.
● Skyline Clicquot High Tea at the Hilton Hotel Queenstown and SKYLINE, includes a selection of savouries and sweets paired with Veuve Clicquot champagne.