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