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LATEST NEWS: Winter Games NZ Confirmed for 2022, committed to 2023, 2024 & 2025!

Three New Zealanders on the Podium at the Winter Games NZ ANC Slopestyle Finals!

Finals day brought a spectacular showdown at the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski & Snowboard Slopestyle presented by Cardrona Alpine Resort today with three NZ Freeskiers making the podium. Ben Barclay (Auckland) claimed the win in Men’s Freeski. Ruby Andrews (Queenstown) finished second in Women’s Freeski, and Luca Harrington (Wanaka) third in Men’s Freeski.

Ben Barclay was never in doubt for a podium placing as soon as he had the first run on the scoreboard, taking the lead right from the get-go with a score of 87.33. Scoring highly for the difficulty and variety of his rail tricks and then backing up with well-executed and technical jump tricks, the win was his for the taking.

“I’m over the moon with the win,” said Ben after the competition. “It was a long road after that high score being on my first run, I was pretty anxious throughout but overall I couldn’t ask for a better result.”

With three ANC podium placings this season (including first and second in Freeski Big Air) the 17-year-old is well set for the upcoming Northern Hemisphere season.

Taisei Yamamoto (JPN) also had a high scoring first run with a technical rail section and big clean grabs on his jumps but lost points for a small bobble on the rails and finished his day in second place.

A delighted Luca Harrington (Wanaka) claimed “the biggest result I’ve ever had”, finishing in third. “I’m in shock, I’m in disbelief, I’m just so happy right now,” he said after the competition.

Although not quite the run he had in mind, Luca scored 80.66 on run one and upped that to 83.00 on run two, finishing with a huge switch left double cork 1080 safety.

Ruby Andrews backed up her qualifying result to finish in second place in today’s Women’s Freeski finals. Ruby landed her top score on her third run, showing well-executed rail tricks, and making an impressive come back from a crash on her second run.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking but I just got out there and stomped it,” said Ruby.

Eileen Gu was the deserved winner, getting solid grabs on every spin and demonstrating solid trick execution throughout her run. An 88.33 on her first run of the day was enough to seal the win.

“I think today it came down to style and consistency. I was really focusing on trying to make everything clean, everything grabbed and I think that worked out well for me,” said Eileen after the competition.

Australia’s Abi Harrigan jumped up in to third place on her very last run by adding a 720 as her second jump trick and being duly rewarded with an increased score.

One of the most experienced athletes in the competition and celebrating her 26th birthday today, World Cup ranked number two Silje Norendal landed three solid runs in the Women’s Snowboard, saving her best for last with a winning score of 95.33 on run three.

“I had a lot of fun on my last run and fun riding with all these girls. Second place is eleven years younger than me!” laughed Silje after the competition, going on to congratulate second-place-getter Melissa Peperkamp (NED) on her strong riding and the stomped 720 at the end of her run.

Melissa was on impressive form all morning, landing three good runs and earning her place on the podium with her second run. She said that she was “very happy” with her result.

Third place on the women’s Snowboard Slopestyle podium went to the FIS Junior World Champion, Sommer Gendron (CAN) who kept her calm after bobbles on her first two runs, finally stomping her 720 on the last jump of her third run.

The men’s Snowboard competition saw a few shuffles in the rankings before the final podium placings were locked in. Hiroaki Kumitake (JPN) set the bar with a first run score of 92.33 but countryman Ryoma Kimata went one better, coming back from a crash on his first run to land 93.33 on his second run and jump in to first place.

Easing back in to his first competition since March 2018, Norway’s Torgeir Bergrem “just tried to keep it clean and not do the most technical run but make it look really smooth.” He was happy enough to get a solid first run down for a score of 87.00 but was looking to step up on his next two runs.

Unable to do so, he held on to third place while the rest of the field took their third runs, with the expectation that top qualifier Matty Cox (AUS) would come through and knock him out of the top three.

But today simply wasn’t Matty’s day, with uncharacteristic slip ups on the rails on his first two runs and a hand down on the second jump of his third run it was “a rough day in the office” and he would finish 10th, with Torgeir claiming third.

The day didn’t go quite how NZ athlete Mitchell Davern (NZL) would have hoped. Qualifying top of his heat in yesterday’s competition, Mitchell got his first run down clean but needed a big step up to lift his score of 74.66 to match the podium. He couldn’t execute and finished his day in seventh.

FIS ANC Freeski & Snowboard Slopestyle creates World Cup opportunity for Kiwi and Australian Athletes

The Kiwi or Australian athlete who wins the 2019 FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) series will win themselves a coveted personal World Cup start for the 2020 season. Due to a change in World Cup start quotas, as a result of a growing number of athletes wanting to compete in the World Cups, FIS has restricted the number of athletes permitted to start at each event to 60 men and 30 women.

The new quota system means that each country with an athlete who meets minimum points for a Basic Nation Quota will have one spot allocated to them. It is at the discretion of a country’s national sporting body which athlete they offer the Basic Nation Quota to. It is possible to earn an additional Nation Quota if you have highly ranked athletes in the discipline and there are leftover spots, which is unlikely, or if you are the host nation of the FIS World Cup.

The only way for an athlete to guarantee they have a start at every FIS World Cup for the 2020 season is to earn a personal quota spot. This spot is earned by an individual athlete and it is theirs and theirs alone. There are a few ways this highly sought-after spot can be earned, the most direct and achievable for our Kiwi athletes is to win the ANC series across Australia and New Zealand within the 2019 season.

Winter Games NZ hosts two of the ANC series events, Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe along with the Freeski & Snowboard Slopestyle. These events, which traditionally were lower level events, will now be attracting top Australian and New Zealand riders because of the huge incentive of winning your very own World Cup spot. Make sure you come up to Cardrona to watch the ANC Halfpipe on the 26 & 27 of August and the ANC Slopestyle from the 30 August – 1 September.

World-Class Competition on Finals Day at the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe at Cardrona

Competitors brought their A game to the finals of the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe presented by Cardrona Alpine Resort at the QRC Winter Games NZ, fuelled by Forsyth Barr today.

The judges had their work cut out for them all day long with competitors pushing their limits to earn their spot on the podium. Halfpipe judging criteria is based on trick variety, difficulty and execution as well as the amplitude a competitor can gain above the wall of the 22ft high pipe.

The skiers were the first to drop in to superpipe with the 10 men and eight women each taking three runs and their top score deciding the final results.

Top qualifier Jaxin Hoerter (USA) held the lead for the first two runs but run three turned out to be the decider for the top step on the podium. Cassidy Jarrell (USA) was the first to challenge for top honours, the technical difficulty of his back to back doubles and huge amplitude edging his score just above his countryman.

“I’ve never done that combination of tricks before in a competition and to get it on the first try was unreal. That was something really special for me,” said Cassidy.

Next came China’s Bingqiang Mao, coming back from a crash on his left double 1260 on the first hit of his second run, getting the trick down clean on run three and jumping in to first place.

Last to drop in for run three, Jaxin looked like he might be able to claim back the top ranking, going for a left alley oop double flat 720 but couldn’t execute and finished his day in third, Cassidy in second and Bingqiang taking the win.

In the Women’s Freeski field, top qualifier Eileen Gu (CHN) had victory in her sights right from her very first run with a score of 88.00. Valeriya Demidova (RUS), second place qualifier, was once again hot on Eileen’s heels, lifting her first run score of 85.00 to 86.66 on run two but couldn’t match the Chinese athlete on technical difficulty or amplitude and would finish her day in second place.

“This is the first time I’ve skied pipe since December so every time in the pipe is about going as hard as I can and having fun. I’m just very happy,” said 15-year-old Eileen after the competition.

Zoe Atkin (GBR) put down a solid second run, incorporating a tidy switch combo in the middle, to land herself in third place.

Chinese athletes took a clean sweep of the Women’s Snowboard podium with Xuetong Cai carrying her top qualifying form through to finals for a convincing 94.66 point win ahead of Shaotong Wu on 76.66.

“It feels really good,” said Xuetong, who as the current world number two, is no stranger to the podium.

Leng Qiu claimed the third spot on the podium on her final run of three, just nudging Australia’s Emily Arthur back in to fourth place.

The Men’s Snowboard podium was decided on the very last run of the day when top qualifier Yiwei Zhang (CHN) called third time lucky and managed to land the run he’d been gunning for all day. His combo of front 900, back 900, front double 1080, cab double 1080 earned him a score of 91.00 and top step on the podium.

“That’s why it’s good to have three runs,” explained Yiwei after his final run.

Ziyang Wang CHN led the field for most of the day, staking his claim in the top three with a first run score of 84.00 but in the end would have to settle for second place.

13 year old Korean rider Chaeun Lee impressed the judges with the variety and difficulty of his tricks, landing 78.33 points for a well-executed front double 1080 indy, Haakon flip, Front 900 melon, Back 900 mute, Indy Air.

NZ’s Rakai Tait tentatively held on to a third place spot until Yiwei’s final run pushed him off the podium in to fourth. The home crowd felt the weight of his disappointed when he stomped two technical runs in a row but failed to land the last trick on both his second and third runs.

Fletcher Craig (NZ) was also just outside the top placings, finishing his day in fifth place.

The Park and Pipe Series presented by Cardrona Alpine Resort returns to the QRC Winter Games NZ fuelled by Forsyth Barr schedule on Friday for the qualifying rounds of the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski Slopestyle.

FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe Qualifiers Postponed due to Weather

Falling snow and reduced visibility meant that the qualifying rounds for the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe presented by Cardrona Alpine Resort had to be postponed for today. However, they will be back on the schedule at the QRC Winter Games NZ, fuelled by Forsyth Barr tomorrow (Tuesday 27 August).

104 competitors will be dropping in to the 22ft high, 160m long superpipe with two chances to qualify through to the finals. In the Snowboard category, six women and 10 men will go through, and in Freeski, eight women and 10 men.

It promises to be a tight competition with some of the world’s best Halfpipe athletes on the start list including Women’s Freeski Halfpipe World Champion Kelly Sildaru (EST) and world number three Kexin Zhang (CHN). Sildaru’s younger brother, Henry will be competing in his first FIS event and even at just 12-years-old could be one to watch in the Men’s Freeski field. He will be up against NZ’s Miguel Porteous, currently ranked sixth in the world and gunning for a top result on home snow.

The Women’s Snowboard field includes world number two Xuetong Cai, a seasoned campaigner who last claimed victory in the Cardrona superpipe back in 2015. Australian rider Emily Arthur will be a strong challenger and is no stranger to the podium having won the Cardrona ANC in 2017. NZ Olympian Rakai Tait will have the backing of the home crowd, looking to boost out of the pipe and on to the Men’s Snowboard podium. Korea’s Kwang Ki Lee is also back and looking for a repeat of his ANC win in 2018.

The schedule will be as follows:

Women’s Freeski & Snowboard
Training: 07.30 – 8.00
Qualification: 08.05 – 09.35 (run 1 and run 2)

Men’s Freeski & Snowboard
Training: 09.40 – 10.10
Qualification: 10.15 – 12.15 (run 1 and run 2

Live scoring will be available at these links:
Freeski: http://ow.ly/EHXu30ppMGh
Snowboard: http://ow.ly/Bzwc30ppMGt

Finals are now scheduled to take place on Wednesday 28 August and will be shown live on Sky Sport.