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World's elite train at Cardrona's Spring Camp

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The world’s elite snow sports athletes honed their skills and pushed the envelope at this year’s Spring Camp at Cardrona, which saw the end of the resort’s 2015 winter operations last Sunday. The annual two-week training camp attracted world class skiers and snowboarders from New Zealand and overseas as they prepared for the northern hemisphere competition season.

Spring Camp at Cardrona was attended by around 93 athletes from 6 different nations. Top athletes included US superstar Shaun White, who relentlessly practised trick after trick into the camp’s specialised halfpipe airbag. Among many others, he was joined by fellow American Olympian and X Games medallist Louie Vito, Sochi Olympic silver medallist Ayumu Hirano, and Australian FIS World Halfpipe Champ Scotty James. Wanaka’s favourite sons the Wells brothers hosted a slew of freeskiing’s top contenders, including Great Britain’s James "Woodsy" Woods and USA’s Noah Bowman.

Alongside the long list of professional snow sports athletes, young Kiwis and Australians trained in race and freestyle disciplines as part of their high performance programmes. Cardrona General Manager Bridget Legnavsky says that seeing the progression of local and national athletes is one of the highlights of Spring Camp every year. "We are proud to be the official supplier of the Cardrona New Zealand Park and Pipe team. This camp is about helping them develop and succeed in a home environment when it’s warm and the snow is soft. As part of this, we open the Spring Camp up for top international athletes to also join in. It is a privilege to sit in the sun, in an incredible supportive environment and watch the world’s best push their own boundaries and witness new tricks go down right here at Cardrona" says Ms Legnavsky. This year’s camp took place at the end of a bumper snow year for the resort, with a large stockpile of snow available to maintain features for the athletes. US halfpipe snowboarder Louie Vito says the way the features were maintained was one of the highlights of the camp.

"I’ve been coming to New Zealand for over 10 years and this was the first Spring Camp I’ve actually stayed for, and I’ll tell you what - this was a banger one! We had so many great days, the weather was amazing, the halfpipe was great and the big air was going off!" "The park staff did such an amazing job maintaining everything. We had such warm, beautiful weather that made the pipe very slushy and they did a great job of holding it together so we had not only great halfpipe days, but long ones too. I look forward to coming back down for Spring Camp again" Vito says.

Cardrona’s Spring Camp features included the 22ft Olympic halfpipe and an extended wall on the neighbouring International halfpipe, creating two 22ft walls into an airbag for the athletes to perfect new tricks. Also on offer were the "Big Bucks" World Cup Slopestyle Course and the Cardrona Big Air, which included a second jump into another airbag. For the second week, the 3CS Cardrona Park Crew also added a rail section to the learner’s slope area.

Cardrona are now preparing for their upcoming summer operations which offers lift accessed mountain biking trails, hiking, sightseeing and more. Cardrona opens for summer on the 27th of December.

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