Instead, six teams of four from Auckland, Queenstown, Wanaka and Frankton are taking their firepower to the snow to raise money for the Bruce Grant Youth Trust.
The Trust provides funding for young people looking to further themselves in the arts, sports or cultural fields, in memory of Queenstown mountaineer Bruce Grant who died on K2 in 1995.
The Firefighter Chillfactor Challenge is organised by Auckland Airport firefighter Tony Scott, who together with co-ordinator Bobby Lamont is the man behind the annual firefighter Sky Tower Challenge.
“We just love coming down to Queenstown to raise money for the trust and have a huge amount of fun in the process,” said Mr Scott.
Over a two-hour period from 8am to 10am, teams of firemen and women travel up the Coronet Express chairlift as often as they can, skiing or boarding down together all holding onto the hose.
“That’s trickier than you might think!” said Mr Scott. “We have to have a few practice runs the afternoon before because if you don’t get the timing right, the person on the end of the hose gets flung off like it’s a slingshot.”
The team that completes the most number of runs wins the challenge, something that generates huge amounts of friendly rivalry.
“Queenstown’s the defending champion and Wanaka wants to win it really, really badly, while our Auckland Airport team is always out to beat the team from Queenstown Airport,” said Mr Scott.
“We have a huge amount of fun doing it and we’re hugely thankful to NZSki for embracing us and the support we have, and at the end of the day we’re there to raise money for local young people.”
In the three years since the event started it’s raised about $22,000 for the trust, and organisers hope to raise a further $10,000 this year. A ‘Hose Haul’ will also be held this year on the Coronet Peak deck involving members of the public who will be invited to take part in a fun activity to raise even more funds.
Bruce Grant Youth Trust secretary and trustee member Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson said they had a “great” relationship with Tony and visiting firefighters who had really “bought into” the trust.
“We never cease to be amazed at their fundraising efforts, as they’ve been outstanding support to the trust and money they’ve raised over the past three years enables us to continue our October grants every year.”
Mr Ferguson said he looked forward to them returning to the mountain next year for the 20th anniversary of Bruce’s death.