Snowboarding takes another step up for the 2008/2009 season with introduction of the first LG FIS ANC Continental Cup Slopestyle. Due to take place at Cardrona Alpine Resort on September 3, 2008, the first event of the FIS Series is expected to attract international riders from around the world before moving on to South America, Europe and North America.
“Being chosen to host Australasia’s first-ever FIS slopestyle event is a tremendous coup for New Zealand and for Cardrona Alpine Resort,” said Ross Palmer, CEO of Snow Sports New Zealand. “It’s a great opportunity for up-and-coming New Zealand athletes to gain FIS points and, just as importantly, it positions New Zealand as a leader in snowboarding.
“If this and future FIS slopestyle events are successful, there’s a distinct possibility that a slopestyle world championship will be organised,” Palmer added. “And that opens the door to potential inclusion in the Olympics in 2014.”
The first stop on the 2008/09 LG FIS Snowboard World Cup tour will take place on 6 September with over 100 athletes from 18 countries competing in the Southern Hemisphere’s only 22-foot halfpipe at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
The event has attracted a ‘who’s who’ of snowboarding, featuring high ranking riders as well as previous halfpipe World Cup winners, including Ryo Aono (JPN) who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world and who took out the men’s halfpipe World Cup title in 2007. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) won the title in 2008 and is currently ranked just behind Aono as the world’s No. 2.
An extremely strong women’s field features the top five ranked women in the world. Manuela Pesko (SUI) is currently ranked No. 1 and has won the women’s halfpipe title each of the last two years. She is tied in first place with Liu Jiayu (CHN) who is relatively new to the World Cup circuit and has been impressing judges with her massive amplitude and consistent riding. Current world No. 3 is Holly Crawford (AUS) and tied fourth are Paulina Ligocka (POL) and Soko Yamaoka (JPN), all within easy reach of a victory at this first event of the season.
New Zealand riders are ready to take on this impressive international field on their home turf with Kendall Brown and Juliane Bray leading the way in the women’s field, both looking to improve their current top-20 standings. James Hamilton and Ben Stewart will also be looking to move up the ladder from their current top 40 positions in the men’s field.
For further information, visit www.snowsports.co.nz