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

Introducing our Winter Games NZ Ambassadors

We are proud to announce our Winter Games 2019 athlete ambassadors, Tiarn Collins, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Nico Porteous and Alice Robinson. These talented kiwi athletes were the youngest four members of the 2018 New Zealand Winter Olympic Team.

Tiarn is a World Cup medallist in both Big Air and Slopestyle, a huge feat competing against athletes ten years older than him. Tiarn was selected to represent NZ at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games but a training accident in Pyeongchang just before the Games kept him from competing.

Zoi competed at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang where, at just 16 years old, she won the Bronze Medal in Snowboard Big Air claiming NZ’s first Olympic medal in 26 years. Zoi has had a legendary start to 2019, winning the ‘triple crown’, X Games Gold, World Champs Gold and Burton US Open Gold.

Nico mirrored Zoi’s historic Olympic success with his own, making history again with a Bronze Medal in Freeski Halfpipe, becoming NZ’s youngest Olympic medallist (16 years, 91 days), NZ’s first freeskier to earn an Olympic medal and the first male NZ athlete to medal at the Winter Olympic Games.

Alice burst onto the global Alpine Ski Racing scene earlier this year when she won New Zealand’s first Alpine Ski Racing World Cup medal in 17 years. She finished in Silver Medal position just 0.30s behind world number one Mikaela Shiffrin at the World Cup Finals Giant Slalom in Andorra. Alice earned her start at the World Cup Finals as the current Junior World Champion in Giant Slalom.

SKY Sport and Winter Games NZ unveil three-year partnership

Winter Games NZ is proud to announce SKY Sport will be the Official Broadcast Partner of the Games in the lead up to the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. The elite international winter sports event is celebrating 10 years of excellence in 2019, and in conjunction with SKY Sport will bring over four times as much content to New Zealand fans. The focus will be on Live Broadcasts of the major ice and snow sports events and Highlight shows of the 26 events being held across six venues over 17 action packed days.

The Games get underway on Friday 23rd August with a Parallel Slalom under lights at Coronet Peak in Queenstown, featuring top skiers from New Zealand and around the world. Each day SKY Sport and Winter Games NZ will be bringing fans the best of winter sports not only during the day on SKY Sport, but also via a dedicated highlights show in the evening.

“This partnership is a game changer for New Zealand winter sports fans and we are excited about working closely with SKY Sport over the next three years. SKY Sport are invested in becoming the Home of Winter Sports and promoting athletes and our event to the nation. Our venues love to host spectators, but if you can’t travel to Central Otago, or you want to replay the action what better way to get your winter sports fix than tuning in on SKY Sport”, said Marty Toomey, Winter Games NZ, CEO.

SKY Director of Sport, Tex Teixeira says: “It’s exciting to announce this new three-year partnership with Winter Games NZ to deliver Kiwi fans exceptional coverage of this great event. With our Kiwi athletes building towards the 2022 Winter Olympic Games there will no doubt be interest in the Winter Games NZ, and we’re excited to be a part of the athlete’s journeys as they work towards Beijing.”

New Zealand sports fans will be able to watch coverage of the Winter Games NZ via SKY Sport, SKY Sport Now and SKY GO (with a SKY Sport subscription). They’ll also be able to catch up on the action from Central Otago with highlights clips available on the SKY Sport Highlights app.

Sports fans without a SKY Sport subscription will be able to purchase a new weekly or monthly pass via SKY Sport Now. In addition there will be a new fan focused initiative, a SKY Sport News channel with daily news from New Zealand and around the world, live from 1st August, with special local shows starting on the 2nd September. The Winter Games NZ will feature on the SKY Sport News channel with exclusive interviews and features to keep every keen sports fan ‘in the know’.

Details of Prime’s free-to-air coverage of the Winter Games NZ will be announced closer to the competition.

SKY Sport broadcast details will be released in the coming days.

6 weeks until the opening of the 10th year of Winter Games NZ

Winter has arrived in Naseby, Queenstown and Wanaka and entries are now open for the seventh Winter Games NZ. In what will be our tenth year of celebrating excellence, we  will be hosting 26  events at 6 venues over 17 action-packed days and showcasing some of the world’s best winter sporting talent.

Coronet Peak  is where the Winter Games NZ party will get started, with the dramatic Night Parallel Slalom kicking the Games off in style. Staged under floodlights, featuring top skiers from New Zealand and around the world, the music will be pumping for the exciting racing and Night Ski party atmosphere. A great opportunity to bring family and friends up for the party. 

Coronet Peak will also host an exhilarating Alpine ski racing programme with two FIS Australia New Zealand Cups in Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super G alongside a World Para Alpine Super G. The breath-taking Super G events will be held on the Hurdle taking pride of place in the heart of the mountain, and will be must watch events.

Cardrona Alpine Resort, the home of the New Zealand Ski and Snowboard Adaptive Team will host a World Para Alpine Slalom and Giant Slalom in the second week of the Games. New Zealand’s best  para athletes will be on show pitting themselves against a strong international line up. 

The  world’s best will compete in freestyle skiing and snowboarding World Cups at the internationally acclaimed venue of Cardrona Alpine Resort. The Park and Pipe events start with the thrilling FIS World Cup Snowboard Big Air, then feature the Freeski and Snowboard Halfpipe and Slopestyle FIS Australia New Zealand Cups and closing with the spectacular  FIS World Cup Freestyle Ski Halfpipe.

The North Face Frontier is the Freeride event within the Winter Games NZ calendar, held at The Remarkables in Queenstown  and is made up of a 2* and 4* Freeride World Qualifying Tour events. These talented skiers and snowboarders  ride from the top to the bottom of the natural (ungroomed) face with as much fluidity, style and speed as possible while performing tricks on  natural features, like rock drops and cornices. The two events are impressive to watch and are guaranteed to give you that heart in your mouth feeling as they launch off the top. 

A world-class international Mixed Doubles Curling tournament will be competed for at the Maniototo International Curling Rink in Naseby. Elite teams will compete in a five-day tournament with the top four teams from pool play progressing into the semi-finals and finals on Saturday 31 August. Always exciting to watch, each match lasts around 90 minutes and during pool  play four sheets (rinks) will be operating simultaneously providing continuous entertainment for the spectators. Everyone loves the warm Naseby welcome and the classic kiwi feeling you come away with from the Central Otago town, one event not to be missed. 

The FIS ANC cross country events will be held at the iconic Snow Farm NZ with a Classic Sprint, Interval Start and a Mass Start across three days. The picturesque Snow Farm is a beautiful backdrop for this endurance sport and the best part is you can rent gear and give it a go yourself, creating an epic day out in this winter wonderland. 

We all love a bit of New Zealand v Australia rivalry and the Ice Hockey ramps that right up a notch.  The Queenstown Ice Arena will host the three Test Trans-Tasman Challenge presented by Queenstown Resort College between the NZ Ice Blacks and the Australian Mighty Roos to get you up on your feet and cheering. Always a fantastic night out in the heart of Queenstown. 

Robinson skis from strength to strength

Kiwi snow sports prodigy and Winter Games NZ ambassador Alice Robinson has had an exceptional season, winning New Zealand’s first Alpine Ski Racing World Cup medal in 17 years. After her impressive debut on the world stage at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Alice has been continuously performing at an outstanding level.

In March 2019 she claimed New Zealand’s first Alpine Ski Racing World Cup medal since 2002, finishing with a silver medal in Giant Slalom at the FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Andorra. The 17-year-old finished 0.30s behind Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) who holds the world number one ranking on the World Cup tour. Current World Champion Petra Vlhova (SVK) finished in third place. Prior to this the last NZ athlete to podium at a FIS Alpine World Cup was Claudia Riegler in Slalom in 2002.

Alice earned her start at the World Cup Finals due to her success at the Alpine World Junior Ski Championships in Italy on February 19 2019. Alice crossed the finish line in the Giant Slalom over a second ahead of her closest competitor, silver medal winner Camille Rast (SUI).

Alice has been turning heads this Northern Hemisphere season with a string of impressive results, including a Europa Cup win and two Europa Cup silver medals and a seventeenth place – including the fastest second run time – at the World Champs in Sweden in February.

Alice is a member of the NZ National Alpine Ski Team A Team and tells her story in Snow Sport NZ’s latest ‘Be Next’ campaign (video below).

ZOI SADOWSKI-SYNNOTT NOMINATED FOR BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE AT ESPYS

Following an outstanding year of results – which include a World Championship title, gold and silver X Games medals and a Burton U.S Open Snowboarding Championship title – New Zealand snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has been nominated for the Best Female Action Sports Athlete award at the ESPYS.

Running since 1993, the ESPYS are presented by the American broadcast television network ABC and previously ESPN, to recognise individual and team sporting achievements on the world stage. Award winners are chosen through voting by fans as well as a panel of sportswriters, broadcasters, sports executives, and sportspersons.

Sadowski-Synnott is one of four NZ athletes nominated for 2019 ESPYs. MMA fighter Israel Adesanya, Indy Car driver Scott Dixon and footballer Abby Erceg are also nominees in their respective sports.

New Zealand athletes previously nominated for ESPYs include golfer Lydia Ko – named Best Female Golfer in 2015 and 2016 and nominated for Best International Athlete in 2015 – and Kiwi IndyCar driver Scott Dixon who was nominated for Best Driver in 2015.

“I just look at the past year in wonder and can’t believe how everything’s gone. I’m stoked to be nominated, it’s a huge honour,” says Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who hopes to attend the awards ceremony in Los Angeles on 10 July.

Snowboarders Jamie Anderson (USA) and Anna Gasser (AUT) are previous winners of the Best Female Action Sports Athlete award (2014 and 2017 respectively) and Sadowski-Synnott says it feels “crazy” to be following in their footsteps as a nominee. US snowboarder Chloe Kim who won Breakthrough Athlete and Best Female Action Sports Athlete in 2016, and Best U.S Female Olympian, Best Female Action Sports Athlete and Best Female Athlete in 2018, is also a nominee this year.

Sadowski-Synnott is up against stiff competition in her category with Estonian freeskier Kelly Sildaru also in the running. Sildaru notched up three medals at this year’s X Games (gold in Ski Slopestyle, silver in Ski Superpipe, bronze in Ski Big Air) bringing her career total to an impressive seven X Games podiums.

Australian Stephanie Gilmore – with Seven World Surf League Championship titles to her name – rounds out the list of nominees for Best Female Action Sports Athlete.

Since being named Snow Sports NZ Athlete of the Year in 2017, the accolades have spread further and further afield for Zoi Sadowski Synnott. She was named Central Otago Junior Sportswoman of the Year 2019, Supreme Winner and Sportswoman of the Year at the ASB Otago Sports Awards in 2018 and 2019, and was a finalist for Sportswoman of the Year at the 56th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards in February 2019.

Fans have the chance to select the 2019 ESPY winners by voting online. Follow this link to vote.

Alex Kerr
Communications Manager
Snow Sports NZ

Thank you from the Team

From the entire Audi quattro Winter Games NZ team (Board and staff) we would like to thank and congratulate everyone who was part of a very successful and highly memorable Games! From the amazing achievements of the world class athletes we hosted in Central Otago and the Southern Lakes to the 200 plus volunteers who were the heart of our event, we are extremely proud of the Winter Games whanau and its accomplishments. 
 
We want to thank firstly the athletes as without them we would not have a world class sporting event. The athletes brought their talent, competitive drive and smiling faces and delivered exciting, nail-biting competition. We couldn’t have asked for more! 
 
Our generous sponsors were integral to the success of this years event and we thank them for all the work they put in. From the Audi quattro Ice Melt, the enthusiasm of Queenstown Resort College, The North Face’s invaluable freeride support, to Somersby’s Sweet Mix Kids getting us into the mood and Asahi’s Onsen which had the best view in the world, our sponsors certainly put on a great show. 
 
The funding we received from the New Zealand Government (New Zealand Major Events), local government funder QLDC, a multitude of local and national Charitable, Community and Gaming Trusts, local tourism organisations Destination Queenstown and Lake Wanaka Tourism and our support sponsors and suppliers allowed us to deliver a world class event. 
 
To our venue partners, a huge thank you for all the time and effort your staff put into the Games. You opened your facilities to a huge influx of competitors and you consistently provided a first-class experience and world class venues for the athletes to compete on.
 
To the army of volunteers who generously gave their time and energy, thank you. You welcomed our international guests to our beautiful part of the world and showed them true Kiwi hospitality. Without you, the event simply couldn’t run. Volunteers are the life blood of New Zealand sport and we applaud you all!  
 
All these groups came together to bring the Games to life and with your continued help and support the future of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ is exciting. In the coming years, we plan to become a must do event on the international winter sports calendar. 
 
I took up the mantle this year of leading a group of experienced event professionals into our inaugural annual event and I have had the privilege of working alongside them and getting to know them. The Winter Games staff have gone above and beyond to create an edition we can all be proud of – 16 days, 17 sporting disciplines, 6 locations – great work team! 
 
Kia Kaha! 
 
Marty Toomey
CEO
Audi quattro Winter Games NZ

Chris Corning and Reira Iwabuchi Win World Cup Gold on Spectacular Final Day at Winter Games NZ

Cardrona, New Zealand (8 September 2018) – The FIS Snowboard World Cup Big Air provided a spectacular finale to the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ snow sports schedule at Cardrona Alpine Resort today. The USA’s Chris Corning was able to celebrate a gold medal win on his 19th birthday, while Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi claimed the ladies’ gold medal at the 2018/19 World Cup season opener.

Conditions were once again clear and calm, setting the stage for some jaw-dropping action on the 75-foot jump. Competitors each had three runs, with their best two jump scores combined to determine the medal placings. As well as a FIS World Cup, today’s competition was also sanctioned as a World Snowboard Tour Elite International Event.

At the end of the first run Corning was sitting in second place having put down a tidy flat spin 1440 for a 90.60, while 2018 Junior World Champion Takeru Otsuka held the lead with a score of 95.6 for his cab 1620 indy.

Corning laid it all on the line on run two with a backside quad 1800 melon grab, the biggest trick of the day, which had his fellow competitors cheering and landed him a score of 98.00 to take the lead.

Otsuka’s frontside triple 1440 mute on run three was enough to secure him the silver medal but there was no stopping the birthday boy Chris Corning who upped his score on run three with a frontside 1440 chicken salad for the win.

“I couldn’t ask for a better birthday,” said Corning. “I haven’t done the quad since the Olympics and I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth since that (where he finished fourth). I’ve been thinking about doing it and when I landed my first trick I knew I had two chances to go for it.”

Norway’s Mons Roisland claimed World Cup bronze, recovering from a crashed landing on run one to land a switch backside 1620 mute on run two for a score of 93.6, and a backside triple 1080 mute on run three with a score of 81.8.

Top qualifier in the ladies’ field, Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi held the lead from her very first run, when she landed a backside 720 mute grab. A frontside 720 mutegrab on run two and the gold medal was all hers.

“I did what I wanted to do and I’m really happy,” said Iwabuchi.

Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN) and Klaudia Medlova (SVK) battled hard for the silver medal, PyeongChang silver medallist Medlova initially in front with a score of 85.6 for her backside 540 indy on run one and Onitsuka scoring 80.00 for her cab 900 stalefish. A stomped backside 720 mute grab on her third run had Onitsuka leapfrog in to second place, with Medlova only just getting her frontside 720 mute grab down but taking the bronze medal.

Ragettli, Gaskell Claim First Big Air World Cup Gold Medals of the Season at Winter Games NZ

Cardrona, New Zealand (7 September 2018) – The finals of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ FIS Freeski World Cup Big Air were held in picture perfect conditions today at Cardrona Alpine Resort. Canada’s Elena Gaskell and Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli (SUI) claimed the gold medals. New Zealand’s Finn Bilous earned his first World Cup medal, finishing in third place in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

The FIS Freeski World Cup Big Air at Winter Games NZ is the first event on the 2019 World Cup calendar; it is also sanctioned as an AFP Platinum level event. The 10 men and five women made the most of the blue skies and calm conditions and pushed their skiing to the limit.

Gaskell landed a switch cork 1260 with a strong grab and solid landing on her second run of three, boosting her in to first place with a score of 93.00. Her fellow competitors congratulated her on throwing such a technical trick on the huge 75-foot jump.

“She’s changing our sport!” said supportive team mate Yuki Tsubota who finished in the bronze medal position with a left 900 tail grab and right 540 mute grab.

“I’m pretty stoked!” agreed Gaskell. “My training was bad so I was nervous coming in. My first jump, I kept it pretty simple just doing a 720. Then my second jump I did one of my harder tricks, the switch 12 and landed so I was pretty stoked. It’s a good way to start the season off.”

Caroline Claire of the USA claimed the silver medal with a switch 900 octo grab and a left 720 tailgrab.

The gold medal result in the men’s competition was decided on the final run of three with each competitor’s top two scores combined to decide final rankings. Ragettli crashed on the triple 16 on his first run but then pulled through with a score of 91.00 for his triple 16 truckdriver on his second attempt, with everything to play for on run three. A stomped switch triple 1440 truckdriver and another score of 91.00 put him to the top of the leaderboard.

“It feels amazing, what a start to the new season,” said Ragettli. “My day started not that well, I missed my first jump, didn’t land it, but then put the second and third run down perfectly and won the event, I’m super stoked.”

Despite topping the qualifying rounds earlier in the week, Canada’s Evan McEachran wasn’t counting on landing in the medals in today’s World Cup final.

“I’m not much of a Big Air skier so I kind of surprised myself today,” said McEachran who finished in the silver medal spot, putting down a switch double 1800 tailgrab, backed up with a right triple 1660 safety grab.

It has been a week for new experiences for NZ skier Finn Bilous who landed a new trick (a switch triple rodeo 1440) in qualifying rounds yesterday (Thursday) which put him through to finals in second place, and then decided to try out another brand-new trick (forwards triple cork 1440) in practice ahead of today’s finals.

Bilous explains: “We got up here, conditions were perfect and training went off. Everyone was doing crazy tricks from the get-go so you knew it was going to be a gnarly contest, it definitely lived up to those expectations. I landed a new trick both yesterday and today and those were the tricks that just got me on the podium.”

Bilous’ first jump, the switch triple rodeo 1440, was the single highest scoring tick of the day (93.6) and had him in first place at the end of run one. He went a bit too big with the forwards triple cork 1440 on run two and had to squat down on landing but cleaned it up for run three to finish in third place, claiming his first world cup medal, just 0.2 points behind silver medallist McEachran.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Bilous. “I’m super stoked just to land the jumps, and to end up on the podium in front of the home crowd is very rewarding.”

All Star Line Up for FIS World Cup Big Air at Winter Games NZ

Cardrona, New Zealand (6 September 2018) – The FIS Junior World Champions in Snowboard Parallel Slalom were crowned today at Cardrona Alpine Resort, while over at the Big Air jump, the world’s best freeskiers and snowboarders were vying for spots in the FIS World Cup final at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ.

After some tight racing through the qualifying rounds, the Snowboard Parallel Slalom field was cut down to sixteen racers in each of the ladies’ and men’s finals. Having dominated yesterday’s JWC Giant Slalom, Team Russia was back on top form with Dmitry Loginov and Llia Vitugov the fastest qualifiers in the men’s field.

Competitors raced head-to-head two at a time through the knock out rounds, with Loginov and Vitugov racing off in the ‘big final’ and Loginov storming home for the JWC title. It was another clean sweep of the podium for Russia with Iaroslav Stepanko taking bronze ahead of Switzerland’s Gian Casanova.

Top qualifier in the ladies’ Snowboard Parallel Slalom, Daniela Ulbing (AUT) held her pace all the way through final rounds to claim the gold medal ahead of Russian athletes Anastasia Kurochkina and Elena Boltaeva.

“It is something special to win the Junior World Championships and I’ve never done it before so I’m really happy,” said Ulbing.

Over at the massive 75-foot jump, the Big Air competitors had plenty of motivation to showcase their most technical and progressive tricks with the first World Cup Big Air of the 2018/19 season also an opportunity to earn AFP Platinum level and World Snowboard Tour Elite International level points.

With 48 world-class snowboarders competing for just 10 spots in the men’s World Cup final and only two runs to impress the judges, going big was the only option. PyeongChang 2018 Olympic silver medallist (Big Air) Kyle Mack (USA) did just that, with a stomped backside triple 1440 Japan grab and a score of 90.60 for the top qualifying spot in heat one.

Recently crowned Junior World Champ in Snowboard Big Air and Slopestyle, Takeru Otsuka (JPN) was right at home in the World Cup field, scoring 88.40 on run one with a frontside triple 1440 mute grab. Teammate Yuri Okuba responded with a backside triple 1440 mute grab which put him through to finals in third place. Leon Vockensperger (GER) and Mons Roisland (NOR) claimed the final two qualifying spots in men’s snowboard heat one.

Japanese riders topped men’s Snowboard heat two, Yutaro Miyazawa spinning a backside triple 1620 mute grab and scoring a 95.60 on his second run, and Hiroaki Kunitake scoring a 92.00 for his backside triple 1440 indy.

No stranger to World Cup podiums, the USA’s Chris Corning booked his place in the finals with a backside triple 1440 melon and a 91.40 on run one. Nicholas Huber (SUI) finished fourth with Clemens Millauer (AUT) on the fifth-place bubble with a score of 88.60.

NZ rider Carlos Garcia Knight pushed hard with one of the biggest tricks of the day, a switch triple 1620, but couldn’t quite stick the landing and missed out on the final.

The women’s snowboard Big Air qualifying saw teammates Miyabi Onitsuka and Reira Iwabuchi from Japan battle for the top score. Onitsuka initially held the lead with a backside 720 mute grab and 92.40 on run one but was bested by Iwabuchi who landed the same trick but with bigger amplitude and smoother execution for a score of 94.00 on run two.

Loranne Smans (Bel) was third, Urska Pribosic (SLO) fourth, Klaudia Medlova (SVK) fifth. NZ rider Corrah Phillips put down two solid runs to qualify for finals in sixth place while Zoi Sadowski-Synnott struggled with her landings and finished outside the cut off in eighth place.

The men’s Freeski Big Air heat two qualifiers – postponed due to high winds yesterday – rounded out an action-packed day. First man out of the gate, Birk Ruud (NOR) set the bar high with a massive left triple 1620 high mute which would see him through to the finals in third place.

Evan McEachran (CAN) span the biggest trick of the day, a switch double 1800 tail grab (five full rotations in the air) with an exceptionally long grab, landing halfway down the landing and leapfrogging in to first place.

NZ’s Finn Bilous went huge with a trick he had just learned, a unique switch triple rodeo 1440, holding the grab through the rotation and stomping the landing for a first run score of 93.40 which put him through to finals in second place.

“I’m pretty stoked to put that down,” said Bilous.

Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN) recovered from a heavy landing on run one, putting down a switch triple 1260 with a bow and arrow grab on his second attempt and finishing in fourth place.

James Woods (GBR) brought his trademark octo grab to the table with a switch triple 1440 landed near the bottom of the landing, to complete the top five finalists.

The FIS Freeski World Cup Big Air Final is scheduled to take place at Cardrona Alpine Resort tomorrow (Friday) and the FIS Snowboard World Cup Big Air Final on Saturday.

FIS Junior World Champs Parallel Giant Slalom & Freeski World Cup Big Air Qualifying

Cardrona, New Zealand (5 September 2018) – It was scheduled to be a busy day of competition at Cardrona Alpine Resort today with the FIS Junior Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom World Championships 2018 and the FIS Freeski World Cup Big Air Qualifying both on at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ. While high winds caused delays to the Big Air and only heat one of the men’s field were able to compete, conditions were perfect on the racecourse and it was Russia’s day in the medals.

30 female racers and 39 male racers contested the morning’s qualification rounds of the Parallel Giant Slalom on the Upper Gold Rush run, each taking one run through the red course and one run through the blue course, with the combined time counting towards the top 16 cut off for finals.

Russian athletes dominated the qualifying rounds with Dmitry Loginov, Dmitriy Karlagachev and Llia Vitugov going one, two, three and signaling a challenge for the men’s podium, and Milena Bykova taking a clear lead in the ladies’ field.

Bykova came in to today’s race as defending FIS Junior World Champion in Parallel GS and with a 2018 season World Cup win already under her belt. She duly stormed through the final rounds to claim gold ahead of China’s Naiying Gong.

“I’m feeling great,” said Bykova. “I won last year so I expected my win and I was absolutely ready and I’m incredibly happy. To be honest I felt a little bit of pressure, but I knew I could win so I did it.”

The ladies’ small final also saw Russian racers going head to head, with Maria Valova racing to a bronze medal finish ahead of Elena Boltaeva.

The men’s finals went exactly to script, Loginov claiming the gold medal and Junior World Championship title, Karlagachev silver and Vitugov bronze. Germany’s Elias Huber finished in fourth place.

“I’m feeling so good about today and I’m incredibly happy about my win,” said Loginov.

“It was difficult racing against your own team mates but we’re all friends and we’re all fast so we’re happy about the win.”

As the wind died down in the afternoon there was enough time to run heat one of the men’s Freeski Big Air qualifiers, with NZ DJ duo Sweet Mix Kids playing in the background and amping up the vibe.

With dual sanctioning as an AFP Platinum level event, and the first FIS World Cup since Freeski Big Air was announced as an Olympic discipline for Beijing 2022, the start lists are a who’s-who of the sport’s heavy-hitters, and with sixteen starters and only five finals spots from each of the two men’s freeski heats, today was never going to be the day to hold back.

First man out of the gate, Canada’s Noah Morrison opened the bidding with a beautiful triple 1620 for a score of 89.60 on run one, and held on to the top spot, improving to a 93.00 on run two.

Andri Ragettli (SUI) took the second qualifying spot upping his score from 88.00 to 89.00 with a triple 1440 truck driver, a technical grab to hold through a triple.

Canada’s Teal Harle landed in third place with a technical and progressive rotation and double grab, a switch double 1440 safety to stalefish.

While 2018 Junior World Slopestyle Champion Oliwer Magnusson (SWE) was on strong form, landing an immaculate double 1440 tailgrab that was held right to the very end of the trick, putting him in to fourth place.

New Zealand’s Jackson Wells stomped his unique switch double misty 1260 double seatbelt safety grab on both runs and nailed down the fifth and final qualifying spot in a tightly fought race for the bubble.

Mac Forehand deserved a special mention for his huge switch triple 1620 safety, just missing the top five on execution points.

Team USA continues to rule over the second day of Cross Country Racing

Snow Farm, New Zealand 5 September 2018 – Kevin Bolger & Sophie Caldwell from the USA took out the cross country sprints at Snow Farm in the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freestyle Sprints.

Caldwell has taken the top spot for the Freestyle Sprints for the second year running at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ. Competing alongside her USA teammates who took the top seven placings she said “It’s awesome, I train with these girls, their my teammates, club-mates and my National Team. We train with each other every day, pushing each other so it almost feels like another work out at home, but it’s always fun to have the race suit and race bib on. It’s an awesome event and we love coming back every year.”

Ida Sargent also took out second place for a second time at the Winter Games NZ. Recently, Ida also placed third in the US Super Tour Freestyle Sprints alongside Caldwell. The two look like they will be pushing each other this season.

Bolger, who made his debut on the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ podium said, “It’s great, it’s a beautiful day and it felt good. I’m happy with how it came out”. Coming to the end of the American Summer, Bolger explained, “I think we are all stoked to be down here and getting on snow and as well as getting into some races. It’s early for us, back home we have been on roller skis all summer so it’s good to be down here with everyone and the US team, I think we are all just fired up”.

Ben Saxton of the USA came in second with Tomoki Sato of Japan joining the American’s on the podium taking third place. Sato placed 5th in the 2017 Audi quattro Winter Games FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freestyle Sprints.

Catch the final day of Cross Country action at Snow Farm tomorrow for the Classic Mass Start – FIS MENS 15km and FIS LADIES 10km
Rights Free Images available here.

Kiwi’s shine at The North Face Frontier 4*

The Remarkables, Queenstown, September 5 2018 – Kiwi underdog Blake Marshall from Queenstown rose to the top today at The North Face Frontier 4* Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) Event. Impressively jumping from 856thon the international rankings to number one on the men’s ski podium today. His win was against some international greats and the local Queenstown young man showed his style and class in the Big Mountain event as part of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ. This win will give him valuable points towards qualifying for the Freeride World Tour, the top pinnacle of the sport. 

Getting him there was a wild run kicked off with a switch one into a double cliff drop, followed by a left 360 directly into a right 360 and a big ol’ Cossack. Marshall was not finished there, he continued into exposure, effortlessly airing the classic waterfall double cliff drop and another monster air before the finish line. “I felt really good, I knew where I was going and I felt confident” – clearly a winner’s mindset from Blake Marshall today. 
 
The Kiwis proved to be unstoppable in Ski Men with Marshall being followed by Canterbury (NZ) boys Julian Jamesa Hampton and Craig Murray (Freeride World Tour athlete).

The Ski Women category was championed by the brave, gregarious Jessica Hotter of Ohakune. This lady knows how to handle hard and fast conditions. She earnt her winning spot by skiing the classic elevator line with fierce fluidity and some serious airtime.  She was followed by Emilie Terane of France (2nd) and Sofie Gidlund of Sweden (3rd). Hotter expressed various expletives and also the following profound quote to convey just how good it felt to win today: “AWESOME!”
 
The entire women’s field brought speed and technical control to the event today, with strong, fast skiing and some huge airs. This impression was noted by title sponsor The North Face who this year offered equal prize purses for both Men and Women. Closing the gender gap in action sports is a high priority for TNF. They’ve stated that offering equal prize money is just one of the ways they’re looking to encourage more women to push their limits in the outdoors. 

Spaniard Nuria Castan Baron backed up her win in The North Face Frontier 2* FWQ to take out today’s 4* TNF Frontier title. “I was really confident after winning the 2* on Monday and I was feeling good in my legs so it went well!” Fast and fluid, Nuria’s legs carried her all the way to the top of the podium. Joining her on the steps was Randa Shahin of the USA in second place and Claudia Bings of Germany in third. 

If Blake Marshall was the underdog, Cody Bramwell of Sweden is one of the FWQ top dogs. After narrowly missing the cut to qualify for Freeride World Tour 2019 (FWT), Cody travelled to New Zealand determined to get the results that will make his FWT dreams a reality.  His riding shows a wealth of experience beyond his years and we can expect to see a lot more from Cody this season. “That was the technical run I need to land for the win, so I’m really happy.” Patrick Van Horn (USA) sent a big line that placed him second behind Bramwell with Roland Morley Brown of NZ grabbing himself yet another TNF Frontier podium. 

The day was enjoyed by a huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters, freeride enthusiasts and fans. The people’s choice goes to the Para Athlete Patrick Halgren of the USA who absolutely blew the audience away by skiing the tricky and expert venue on one leg taking massive airs and cheers in his stride.

It’s been another colourful edition of The North Face Frontier, we look forward to seeing it grow year by year. 

For full results click here

Rights Free Images available here.