With the Summer Olympic athletes resting from their recent achievements it is time for the winter snow sports professionals to take centre stage for the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Ski Halfpipe World Cups at Cardrona Alpine Resort this week.
Over 200 athletes representing 26 nations will battle it out in Cardrona’s 22ft superpipe for a combined prize pool of NZ$115,000. The skiers and riders will be performing a creative mix of tricks, flips, back-to-back rotations and big air grabs guaranteeing high adrenalin action.
The freestyle ski competition just got tougher with confirmation of Tanner Hall (USA) and current Overall AFP World Champion Devin Logan (USA) on the start list. Logan joins five times European Open Champion Virginie Faivre (SUI) and Kiwi entrants Janina Kuzma and Rose Battersby in what promises to be an exciting opening competition on Wednesday.
The men’s freeski field is packed with some of the biggest names in the sport including current FIS World Cup Champion Benoit Valentin (FRA), last season’s AFP Overall World Champion Gus Kenworthy (USA) up against New Zealand’s Jossi Wells and Lyndon Sheehan.
The snowboarders will be ready for action on Saturday and Sunday with an all-star field in place. The stakes in the men’s snowboard event rose with the recent entry of Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov, World Snowboarding Championships gold medallist and multiple X Games medallist.
Competing against Podladtchikov will be last season’s World Cup champion Nathan Johnstone (AUS), the current Bronze Olympic medal holder Ryo Aono (JPN) and Scott Lago (USA). The women’s field is equally strong with nine of the top ten Olympic field on the start list including the Gold medallist Torah Bright (AUS) and 2012 Winter X Games gold medallist Kelly Clark (USA), fresh from her win of the Burton High Fives last week. Representing New Zealand will be Ben Stewart, James Hamilton and Rebecca Sinclair.
Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap believes the quality entries show just how important this competition is as the first qualifier in the world for the 2014 Winter Olympics. "Both events are going to be great for the competitors as well as the spectators. Snow sports competitions in New Zealand have certainly raised the bar over the past five years and this will continue through to next season when we host the 2013 Winter Games NZ. The 2013 Games will include at least five World Cups and feature many who will go on to podium at Socchi." he said.
Off mountain the Winter Games Adventure Film Festival from the 24-26 August returns to Queenstown. There’s an action packed programme of spectacular adventure films to inspire and entertain. Tickets are still available.
The FIS Freestyle Ski Halfpipe World Cup will take place on 22 August while the FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup will take place on 25-56 August, both at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
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