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

Winter Games NZ 2021 cancelled

In light of the nationwide lockdown and ongoing uncertainty around Covid alert levels Winter Games NZ 2021 has been cancelled. 

The cancellation includes The North Face Frontier 2* and 4* events at The Remarkables (29 August to 2 September) and the SKY Big Air at Cardrona Alpine Resort (4 September). 

Winter Games NZ, CEO Marty Toomey says “While it is disappointing to cancel the event, we know it is the right decision and we will now turn our attention towards delivering another world class event in 2022”.

Winter Games NZ 2021 event lineup confirmed

With New Zealand’s international borders still closed the Winter Games NZ team have opted for a small but spectacular event this year comprising the North Face Frontier 2* and 4* at The Remarkables Ski Area from 29th August to 2nd September and the Sky Big Air showcase at Cardrona Alpine Resort on 4th September.

“We are excited to have three world class events lined up for the 2021 season,” said Winter Games NZ CEO, Marty Toomey. “Delivering these events helps New Zealand athletes prepare for their northern hemisphere seasons and allows us to honour Winter Games NZ Founder Sir Eion Edgar who tragically passed away in June.” 

The North Face Frontier 2* and 4* events are both Freeride World Qualifier Tour events with the events held on the best snow and weather days during the window of 29th August – 2nd September. The 2* event will be held in Shadow Basin, while the 4* event will be hosted in the Alta Chutes with Lake Alta providing an epic viewing platform.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting The North Face Frontier 2* and 4* again this year at The Remarkables. We have some of the most adventurous and fun freeride terrain in the country up here and boast awesome spectator viewing as well. We’re stoked to showcase it to some of the best freeride athletes during the Winter Games,” commented Ross Lawrence, The Remarkables Ski Area Manager.

Cardrona Alpine Resort will host the Sky Big Air showcase on the 4th of September in the world-renowned Big Bucks Park. The Sky Big Air showcase will see Freeski and Snowboard athletes hit the third jump in Big Bucks Park and performing their best combinations of tricks for the judges and spectators alike. The competition format is being co-designed with athletes to ensure they can showcase their incredible talent. 

“We are really excited to be creating with Winter Games NZ such a fantastic event, despite the closed borders and the pandemic still affecting the world. We love celebrating sport and with our incredible athletes down here in New Zealand, we look forward to seeing them showcase their talent, as they prepare for the Winter Olympics,” says a thrilled Bridget Legnavsky, GM of Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone.

New Zealand snowboarding star, Olympic Bronze medalist in Big Air and 2021 FIS Slopestyle World Champion, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is stoked to see the event on the calendar and has confirmed her attendance, alongside fellow Olympic snowboarder Tiarn Collins.

For more information on how you can join the fun at The Remarkables and Cardrona Alpine Resort keep an eye on the Winter Games NZ social media channels and website for updates. 

For specific The North Face Frontier weather window updates please follow The North Face Frontier Facebook Page

Thanks to the generous support from our supporters, we now look forward to delivering the Winter Games NZ 2021.

Broadcast Partner – Sky 

Long term sponsor – The North Face

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Regional Events Fund

Cardrona Alpine Resort

The Remarkables

Key Dates

The North Face Frontier 2* – Sunday 29 August – Wednesday 1 September – The Remarkables Ski Area
The North Face Frontier 4*- Monday 30th August – Thursday 2 September – The Remarkables Ski Area
Big Air Showcase – Saturday 4th September – Cardrona Alpine Resort

Obsidian Big Air – Margaux Hackett, Carlos Garcia Knight and Nico Porteous Land on Top.

The decision was made on Tuesday night in conjunction with Cardrona Alpine Resort to continue with the Obsidian Big Air yesterday. The Winter Games NZ team moved into their Level 2 contingency plan and operating procedures, to ensure they provided a safe venue and event for all members of the Obsidian. Cardrona closed their ski fields to the public as they plan their response to the Level 2 environment and prepare their facilities. At the closed venue the athletes acknowledged how appreciative they were to be allowed to still compete and perform on a world stage.

Team Jossi took out the top spot in each of the three categories today, with Nico Porteous, Margaux Hackett and Carlos Garcia Knight’s strong performances. This would normally have meant they were at the top of the overall standings for the day, but Team Kuzma strategically played their Joker card on the Big Air event. This card allows the team to gain double points on the day they use it. This pushed them infront with 160 points, to Team Wells’ 100 points and Team Smoothy in third with 60 points.

Nico Porteous, bronze medalist at PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, was crowned overall Men’s Freeski Big Air Champion on a bluebird day. “My day was off the charts. I haven’t had a day like this for so long. It was unbelievable,” said Porteous. “I ended up coming out and doing tricks I have only done twice before in my life. Beyond stoked to be standing on that top podium.” Winning with a Left double 16 safety, right double 16 mute combo.

Jackson Wells, 2018 Olympian and the youngest of the Wells brothers, showed consistency across all his tricks and came in second place. Winter Games NZ 2018 World Cup Big Air bronze medallist, Finn Bilous, rounded off the Men’s Freeski podium in third place with a huge performance. He stomped a right double cork 1440 with a safety grab which was very stylish and went for the triple cork but was not able to land either attempt.

Margaux Hackett, World Cup Big Air athlete, took first place and blew the women’s field apart with her right cork 900 with a tail grab and her switch right misty 900. “It was really cool battling it out with Zoi (Sadowski-Synnott).” The jam format pitted Hackett against the snowboard women and freeski women in one category.

Jess Hotter (Freeride World Tour podium athlete) boosted her way into second place with some huge straight airs and solid grabs. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott was here to win and went all out attempting a backside double 1080 but unfortunately just couldn’t find her feet today.

The Men’s snowboard category was world class, with Carlos Garcia Knight taking the win. Garcia Knight landed both a switch backside 1260 with an indy grab and a backside 1260 and he also styled out with a huge, floaty backside rodeo. “I tried to do it bit different today. I tried to do the tricks that makes snowboarding look cool and what I like about snowboarding.”

Tiarn Collins took out second and had the stand out trick of the day, a cab double cork 1440, but with our jam format judging criteria, one awesome trick is not enough to take the top spot. Up and coming Mitchell Davern was right on Collins and Garcia Knight’s tail landing the same two tricks as Garcia Knight, they were unfortunately not as clean.

The Winter Games NZ Obsidian is being run in a weather window between the 10 – 20 August, with the next predicted event being the Freeride on Saturday 15 August.

Big Air Confirmed!

The Big Air will be the first of the five Winter Games NZ 2020 challenges and will be held up at Cardrona Alpine Resort on Wednesday 12th August.

Watch our park athletes bringing their A game to the third jump in Cardrona’s Big Bucks park. Bryon Wells and James “Woodsy” Woods will be on the mic bringing you an epic vibe. Athletes will go toe to toe in a knockout format until one athlete is left victorious and crowned the Obsidian Big Air Champion.

We will have live scoring available here so you can follow along, or if you’re in Wanaka or Queenstown get on up here to watch New Zealand best athletes throwing down! 

The event will kick off at 10.30am and there will be a chill zone at the top of the course so meet your hero there!

We are assessing the weather and snow conditions on a daily basis and making decisions to ensure we give the athletes, videographers and venues the best opportunity to bring their A game and create epic content that we can share with you!

Make sure you follow along on our Social Media channels for the most up to date information.

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.

Schedule change for FIS ANC Super G presented by Coronet Peak

Falling snow and high winds across the top section of the course delayed the morning start times of the much anticipated FIS ANC Super G event presented by Coronet Peak. But it would be the soft snow conditions which raised safety concerns, finally causing a postponement of the days racing when the clouds parted just after midday over the Wakatipu Basin.

The Winter Games NZ Alpine Ski Racing speed events continue at Coronet Peak tomorrow with the ANC Super G and WPAS Southern Hemisphere Cup Super G presented by Coronet Peak.

An update of the Alpine Ski Racing schedule will be listed on the Winter Games NZ website schedule and the Alpine sports page as soon as the update is received after the Team Captains Meeting today.

Let the Games begin!

The QRC Winter Games NZ Mixed Doubles Curling Tournament presented by Forsyth Barr gets under way in Naseby, Central Otago tomorrow, and NZ Curling’s National Coach Peter de Boer says the Kiwi players are raring to go.

The top three teams from the 2019 New Zealand Championships will carry the home side’s hopes, including back-to-back champions Jess and Ben Smith who will use this event to gain valuable experience for the 2020 World Championship in Canada.

“Mixed Doubles will be a big part of NZ Curling’s future,” said de Boer, “and for our top players to get this sort of international competition at home is just huge.”

There is a wealth of experience amongst the rest of the field at national, world and Olympic level. Australia’s Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt reached the semi-finals this year’s World Championship, and the USA’s Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo earned bronze in 2016. Polo also won Olympic gold the with the USA Men last year, while Finland’s Markku Uusipaavalniemi also a past Olympic medallist.

Fourteen games – one from each round, including the playoffs – will be screened live through the week on Sky Sport 9.

The twelve teams will play in two pools from Tuesday through to Friday, and the top three from each pool will qualify for playoffs. The medals games will be on Saturday afternoon.

QRC Winter Games NZ fuelled by Forsyth Barr Opens in Spectacular Fashion with Night Parallel Slalom Presented by Coronet Peak

The QRC Winter Games NZ fuelled by Forsyth Barr opened in celebratory fashion with a party atmosphere and falling snow during night skiing at Coronet Peak on Friday evening. The Hon Grant Robertson, Minister of Sport officially declared the Games open with Alpine Ski Racing kicking off with the action packed head-to-head Parallel Night Slalom presented by Coronet Peak held under lights before fireworks and George FM’s DJ General Lee brought the party to the Peak to conclude the evening.

Alpine Ski Racing’s newest discipline and most spectator friendly event, the Night Parallel Slalom opened the Alpine Ski Racing programme at Coronet Peak with Poland’s Maryna Gasienica-Daniel and Luke Winters of the USA making their way to the end of the round-robin format as the fastest racers of the evening.

A twenty four thousand dollar equal gender prize purse provided a lucrative incentive for athletes to make it through to the evening’s finals via afternoon qualification to confirm the 16 men and women to contest the evening’s finals to over four rounds of racing.

Held over a side by side 20 gate course, the quick fire race format produced tight finishes, DNFs and upsets with kiwi racer and Games ambassador Alice Robinson falling victim to the less favoured red course and exiting in the semi-finals to eventual third place getter Youngseo Kang who made the first international podium of her career.

With the higher ranked athlete of each run choosing their preferred side of the course and the right hand blue course delivering majority of the winning runs of the evening Winter clinched victory in the Men’s competition against the odds when he took a different line on the red course deploying a slalom style cross blocking approach over top seed Adam Zampa who stated that he “needed to start to cross block more” after the finish. Sam Maes of Belgium rounded out the podium taking out the men’s petite final.

Women’s winner Gasienica-Daniel went against the grain picking the red course all night long finding harmony on the right hand side of the Pro-Am course claiming a close victory over Canada’s Ellery Smart.

The event was a chance to see what the Para-Alpine athletes are going to deliver in the days ahead with Paralympic Medallists Corey Peters and Adam Hall along with up and coming kiwi sit skier Aaron Ewan and the hero of last year’s The North Face Frontier 4* Freeride event Patrick Halgren giving a glimpse of the speed they are going to bring to Monday and Tuesday’s Super G courses held on the Hurdle course at Coronet Peak, a truly World Cup level race course being brought back after a long hiatus.

How to watch Winter Games NZ!

We have partnered with our friends at SKY Sport to bring you more action than ever before. So if you can’t be with us in person you won’t miss the sport.

With over 50 hours of live action from the Winter Games NZ over 17 days and thrilling daily highlight programmes, content on the SKY Sport Highlight app and social. There is no reason to miss your winter sports fix. 

And if you don’t have a pass, don’t worry. SKY Sport have just launched their new SKY Sport NOW pass which allows you to sign up for a weekly ($19.99) or monthly (49.99) pass.

So what you waiting for, world-class winter sports await you. 

If you are an international viewer visit our website and scroll down to see how to watch online or check out our Facebook Page for more information.