Snow Sports New Zealand announced today that all three Wanaka-area ski fields will share the spotlight for this August’s 2010 FIS Snowboard & Freestyle Junior World Championships.
The event, scheduled for 19-31 August, marks the first time a FIS World Championship will be staged in New Zealand, and also marks the first time that snowboarding and freestyle skiing will share the same stage in a World Championship.
“For two weeks in August, Wanaka will be centre stage for a major international ski and snowboard competition,” said Snow Sports New Zealand CEO Ross Palmer. “It’s a great opportunity for the local ski resorts and for elite junior freestyle and snowboard athletes to showcase our sports and the region.”
Snow Park will host the slopestyle competitions for both skiers and snowboarders; Treble Cone is set to host the snowboard parallel giant slalom and snowboard parallel slalom; Cardrona will stage the ski and snowboard halfpipe, ski- and snowboard-cross and snowboard big air competitions. All three resorts are just 30 minutes drive from downtown Wanaka.
The inclusion of slopestyle competitions in both skiing and snowboarding is one of the major breakthroughs for the event. FIS has never staged a slopestyle competition for skiers and only this year staged their first snowboard slopestyle competition at the World Cup level.
Wanaka local Jossi Wells, who last week won the prestigious Dew Cup on the heels of his second Winter X Games Silver Medal, is scheduled to compete in the ski slopestyle and ski halfpipe, as are younger brothers Byron and Beau-James. Byron’s recent successes in the Northern Hemisphere indicate he’ll be challenging Jossi for podiums in the not-to-distant future.
As host nation, New Zealand will have ample quota spots, providing the opportunity for the nation’s top junior riders to compete against some of the best juniors in the world.
Typically, FIS World Championships are staged during the Northern Hemisphere winter, but with New Zealand’s growing reputation as a world-class snow sports destination, organisers are confident they’ll be able to attract full fields for the event, which is expected to include a range of off-snow events and attractions in Wanaka.
Lake Wanaka Tourism General Manager James Helmore is working with event organizer Arthur Klap to ensure that the benefits of hosting the event are realised by local businesses and tourism operators.
“Securing the FIS Junior World Champs is a coup for our reputation as a snow sports destination, with Wanaka offering arguably the best skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand across 4 ski areas and extensive heli-ski terrain,” said Hellmore. “Hosting these up-and-coming athletes and future stars is a great opportunity to showcase the Wanaka region, with interest
from worldwide media likely to be huge. While skiing and snowboarding are key reasons for people to visit Wanaka, the whole of the Wanaka region will benefit hugely from this event.”
A finalised schedule will be announced in the next week, and posted on the Snow Sports New Zealand website (www.snowsports.co.nz).
Cardrona Alpine Resort (www.cardrona.com) is renowned as New Zealand’s favourite ski resort for families, beginners and intermediate skiers. In recent years Cardrona has also cemented its reputation as a world-class training and competition venue for elite freestyle athletes. Cardrona’s extensive facilities comprise up to three halfpipes, including Australasia’s only 22-ft Olympic Halfpipe, three Terrain Parks, a permanent Gravity X and a 70-ft Big Air.
Snow Park (www.snowparknz.com) is recognised internationally as one of the top freestyle parks in the world, and this season will be putting extra emphasis on its Slopestyle courses, all visible from the base facilities, making the Junior Worlds fantastic for spectators.
Treble Cone (www.treblecone.com) is a big mountain renowned for its stunning scenery across Lake Wanaka, long runs & deep Nor’West powder days.