Winter weather cancels Queenstown’s winter festival

A view of Queenstown from the Queenstown Skyline, covered in snow on Wednesday morning. - Photo: Skyline Queenstown / Facebook

Heavy snow has disrupted events at Queenstown's annual winter festival this morning.

Snow is falling on the Crown Range and on ski fields in the Wakatipu Basin, prompting warnings for people to carry chains and drive to conditions.

The weather has forced organisers of the Queenstown Winter Festival to cancel Sunday Mountain events due to extreme weather conditions which would compromise safety.

Festival director Rae Baker said the heavy snow affected visibility and there was strong winds and a deteriorating forecast.

Therefore, the decision was made to cancel two festival events at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

This will affect Macpac Tour de Cardies and the Macpac Mountain bikes on snow events.

Event and mountain staff set the courses for the event late yesterday and were "extremely disappointed" to make the call this morning.

However, competitor safety was the primary responsibility, Ms Baker said.

The festival will refund all entry fees.

MetService said wet weather this morning was brought on by a series of fronts moving up the country.

Meteorologist Claire Flynn said the rain was expected to ease off to light showers this afternoon, and some sunny spells could emerge later.