re-sized NZ Winter Games

New Zealand’s month of winter events

Fine weather is predicted until Saturday which is great news for the World Heli Challenge, I mean just check out this video to see how perfect the conditions are!

Having had a late start, the snow in New Zealand is now epic. In fact, they say they have received more than anyone can remember before. Near Wanaka on the South Island, heliskiers have been able to ride from the summits of peaks  all the way to the valley bottoms for the first time in over 30 years. It only really started snowing in the second half of July, but within days there was a 2m base and the powder is just to die for! They’re calling it “the season of powder”.

The World Heli Challenge is not the only competition being held in New Zealand’s Southern Alps this month… it’s just one long party with the Billabong Slope Style also on this week, followed by the Burton Open next week and finally the NZ Winter Games beginning on the 13th.

The Billabong Slope Style celebrates its 10th year at Snowpark in Wanaka – and the competition starts tomorrow, Thursday, 4th August. The show kicks off with a launch party at the Revolver Bar in Queenstown and will end with another at the Woolshed, Snowpark. Some of the top riders from around the world and New Zealand will be competing. Current TTR World Women’s Champion Jamie Anderson, Antti Autti, Robbie Walker, Clint Allan (2010 Open Men’s winner), Wanaka local Jake Koia, Sebastien Toutant & Zach Stone are some of the names that you will see there. And to help out spectators, Billabong have organised for some free buses to take you up the hill and back from Wanaka to Snowpark. It’s going to be a fabulous weekend.

Smartly after that comes the Burton Open, starting on the 8th and finishing on the 13th. This is an established annual event within the Burton family. With 8 years already under its belt, the New Zealand Open kick-starts Burton’s 2012 Global Open Series. Held in Cardrona, the event includes the Half Pipe and Slopestyle disciplines and is known as the Southern Hemisphere’s premier snowboarding event. In addition to the world class snowboarding action taking place all week, Burton is proud to announce a host of BNZO evening activities for both riders and attendees to enjoy.

But that’s not all. The last day of the Burton Open is the first day of the 100% Pure NZ Winter Games. They start on the 13th and end on Sunday the 28th. Over 140 of New Zealand’s top snow and ice sport athletes are preparing to compete against a strong representation from the world’s best. Included in the New Zealand team are a number of Olympians such as snowboarders Rebecca Sinclair, Mitchell Brown and Kendall Brown who will all compete in the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Halfpipe against a field that includes world number one, Nathan Johnstone (AUS) and world number two, Holly Crawford (AUS).

This is also the event, the only elite winter sports event in the world, where both able bodied and adaptive athletes compete over the same course. New Zealand’s gold medal Paralympian, Adam Hall, will race in all the alpine skiing disciplines at Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt.

What a month it is going to be – a month of challenge and parties.

Feature photo courtesy of  jeremyeanlittle

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