Winter conditions on the Crown Range above Arrowtown greeted competitors in the Trustpower Adventure Quest on Sunday after the event was postponed on Saturday due to heavy snowfalls.
Twenty nine teams turned out for the event and Race Director Geoff Hunt says while it was a smaller field than usual it was due to Saturday's postponement.
"Several teams who had come to Queenstown for the Quest were unable to stay when we put it off until Sunday. However we did have two teams from Auckland who were entering for the first time and we got them underway ahead of the main field so they could complete the event before flying out in the afternoon."
Hunt says the clues went up to the skyline and competitors had to trek in snow to get to some of the higher checkpoints.
"While the conditions were cool with some snow flurries during the day we had great racing and there were only a couple of teams who didn't make the six hour cut off."
The Quest is an annual event which involves both biking and walking/running and the field included elite athletes, family groups, and orienteering experts. The course covered trekking in the Crown Terrace area while the mountain biking section went down Tobin's Track, around the streets of Arrowtown to the Morven Ferry Flats and back to the Crown Terrace via the Crown Range road zig-zag.
There was a tight tussle for honours in the open section with last year's winners New Zealand orienteering representative Bruce McLeod and Phil Wood of Queenstown, racing under the banner of Epic Navigation Lactic Turkey finishing ahead of the R&R Sports Central team represented by Malcolm McLeod and Geoff Blance by 11 points.
"It was an excellent contest between the two," says Hunt. "In fact R&R Sports Central managed to score virtually the same points on the mountain bike section which put them in a very favourable position, but it was the navigation skills of Bruce and Phil on the trek that saw them score more in this section. Three teams actually finished on the same points but it came down to the finishing time to decide who took the second place"
The winners found the course "tough and physically demanding."
"It was a great course," says Bruce McLeod," but it certainly wasn't easy. We covered some diverse county and went to places we had never been before which is always good. We had to wade through fresh snow in parts and there was some serious navigation particularly in the trekking section. "
The Funksters won Mixed adventure division actually scoring higher than the second place open teams.
The youngest competitor was 8-year-old Imogen Blance, daughter of Geoff Blance, who competed with her mother Denise Thorn as Team Mama and Mea and proved to be an adventure sport athlete to watch in the future.
"Imogen was there until the bitter end and loved being part of the event," says Hunt. "The Quest is definitely geared for all age groups and is a lot of fun for families to undertake together."
The social Womens division was won by long term stalwarts of the event the Blondines, who completed only the biking stage, but scored so well on this that is was sufficient to win the division. Another team who have competed in all but one of the events 'Physio's Delight' won the mixed social with the highest social division score of 35 points. Team Just for Fun won the open social division.
The event is sponsored by TrustPower, Hamills Restaurant, Onsen Hot Pools, Fat Tyre Adventures and Whittakers.
Full results are posted on the internet at www.southerntraverse.com.