Porters Ski Area has hosted Oktoberfest for some 20 years with visitors celebrating in traditional Bavarian costumes

Oktoberfest in the snow

by Ann van Engelen

More than 1,000 people celebrated Oktoberfest at Porters Ski Area on Saturday, dressing in traditional Bavarian costumes whilst celebrating the end of the ski season.

“I introduced Oktoberfest on the mountain some 20 years ago to coincide with the official event held in Munich. I lived close to Munich and moved here in 1982 as a young ski instructor and have never regretted relocating,” says Porters Ski Area general manager Uli Disenbacher.

“Saturday was a bluebird day and people relaxed, and the skiing was still good. We had wooden benches for seating, and it was a sunny, calm day.

Our Oktoberfest has become a tradition for many people in the region, and they come together and dress up in Bavarian outfits called Tracht. Women wear traditional dirndl — dresses, while men wear leather lederhosen — shorts and hats. Throughout history, Bavarian outfits were everyday facets of life for common people in Munich from going around town to working in the fields.

“We had German food and beer available with Bavarian music playing all day.

“Oktoberfest is like Thanksgiving as October is harvest time, and farmers bring their animals down from grazing on the mountains to the lowlands. It is a time to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of autumn with traditional dancing and music in the different villages as they prepare for winter in Germany.

“Here at Porters Ski Area, we have two weeks left in the ski season and a few events coming up with Super Cross and The Banked Slalom on Sunday, October 6, our last day of the season. It has been a really successful year and one of the better seasons with schools including Darfield, Hororata and Glentunnel students regularly visiting gaining ski skills.

“It is great to see as they are our future, and it is good as a family involvement sport that everyone can join in on.”