Some of the biggest names in international snowboarding are making their way to Wanaka, New Zealand for the sixth Burton New Zealand Open Snowboarding Championships (NZO), which kicks off on July 29 at Snow Park NZ. The NZO is the first event of this season’s Burton Global Open Series (BGOS), the most prestigious series of global competitive snowboarding events playing out on five continents where the top male and female champions claim a title worth USD$100,000. The New Zealand Open is also the first stop of the 08/09 Swatch TTR World Tour, the largest group of independent freestyle snowboard events in the world.
Top riders planning to compete at the Burton NZ Open include Peetu Piiroinen (FIN), who was the overall winner of last year’s BGOS and ranked third on the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour. He is joined by Ryoh Aono (JPN) who is the top ranked rider in the world on the World Cup circuit. Also to compete are Tim Humphreys (USA), who placed second in slopestyle at the US Open and third at the Burton European Open, and Chas Guldemond (USA), who finished second in slopestyle at the European Open and fifth overall in the BGOS.
The women’s field is equally strong with competitors such as Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark (USA) kicking off her season in NZ after finishing third in the TTR World Tour last year. Swatch TTR World Tour Champion and back-to-back X Games slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson (USA) will also be making the trip down under. Jenny Jones (GBR), who took second place in the BGOS standings in 07/08 and won last year’s NZ Open slopestyle competition, will be back to defend her title at this year’s NZ Open.
The international riders face fierce competition from New Zealand’s homegrown talent. Last year, Mitchell Brown made history by becoming the first New Zealander to win an Open title, and he’s back to defend his title on his home turf. Mitch’s sister, Kendall Brown (Mt Maunganui) and Juliane Bray (Wanaka), will be vying for top spots in the women’s competition, as will Kiwis James Hamilton (Auckland) and Stef Zeestraten (Christchurch).
Competition gets underway on Wednesday, July 30 with the men’s and women’s halfpipe qualifiers. On Thursday, July 31 the action moves to Snow Park NZ’s newly designed slopestyle course for the qualifiers followed by the slopestyle semifinals and finals on Friday August 1.
Friday night will see awe-inspiring massive air in the invitational quarterpipe under the floodlights with live music from top New Zealand DJ’s. Spectators can watch all the action for free from a specially created grandstand carved out of snow. All eyes will be on the superpipe for semi-finals and finals on Saturday, August 2 when the world’s best will fight it out for the Open title and a share of the NZ$50,000 prize purse.
The event is just as exciting off-snow with action every night of the Burton NZ Open, including an official opening party on July 29, a movie premiere featuring rider signings and after party Wednesday, and the Gravis Open Sessions on Thursday Friday and Saturday nights featuring some of the biggest names in Kiwi music. For further information visit www.opensnowboarding.com