The ninth day of competition at the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games saw some of the world’s top ranked freestyle snowboarders battle it out under picture perfect blue skies at Snow Park for the second of four snowboarding events where Norway's Torgeir Bergrem and Jamie Anderson (USA) a landed the men and women’s titles at the Air New Zealand snowboard slopestyle.
A heavy weighted men’s field of 60 riders including world number one Roope Tonteri (FIN) competed in two qualifying heats for the top 16 spots. With two runs per round, competitors faced a set of three rails followed by a choice of canon rail or tractor tyre, 40/50 jump, 60/70 jump and the Butter Box at the bottom of the course.
The first heat saw Torgeir Bergrem (NOR), Morten Kleivdal (NOR) and Roope Tonteri (FIN) take the top three spots. Showing strength in heat two was local rider Milu Multhaup-Appleton demonstrating real technical ability on the rails followed by a cab 9 to front 9. In the women’s heats, Wanaka’s Abby Lockhart recovered well going into the women’s final after a difficult first run but failed to place on the podium placing fourth overall.
Torgeir Bergrem (NOR) came out tops in the end with a huge second run gaining 91.2 points which saw him steal the lead off Antoine Truchon of Canada who took out second place with 87 points. Maxence Parrot of Canada placed third overall with 86.60 points.
“I felt really good on course today even though we had a pretty early start at 6am. It’s an amazing course and the weather was just perfect today. I fell on my first run of the final so I was nervous dropping into my second run. Everyone was killing it out there today. It’s my first Winter Games and I’m stoked to be here,” said Bergrem.
Bergrem’s winning run was made up of a Switch Backside 270, Cab 1260 Mute, Backside Double Cork 1080 Mute Grab, Frontside 180 and finishing with a Cab 540 Mute.
The women’s final showed world class performances with four of the world’s top ten taking on the course. World number Jamie Anderson lived up to expectations taking out first place with a huge score of 94.60.
“The weather and conditions were amazing today. The girls were throwing them down inspiring me to pull out my best technical skills on the rails. This is my second Winter Games and I was second last time so I’m so stocked to win today and be a part of the event. I’m really happy with my performance,” said Anderson.
Jamie took first with a Backside Lipslide, Frontside 270, Cab 360 Mute Grab, Switch Backside 540 and a Backside 180.
In second place with a score of 85.60 was Charlotte Gils Van (NED) and Rebecca Torr of New Zealand took our third with a total of 57.40.
“The competition was outstanding today with a great level of riding. What I liked the most about today’s competition was that it’s the first dual sanctioned event between TTR and FIS since the sports inclusion in the Winter Olympics, a huge step for the sport and something I’m very happy to be a part of. It’s like two families coming together,” said head judge Iztok Sumatic.
Today’s event could well be the start of an Olympic journey for many of the athletes with Snowboard Slopestyle making its Olympics debut at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games snowboarding continues Wednesday 24 August with Snowboard Big Air at Cardrona, 10am – 1pm and Saturday 27 with the Snowboard Halfpipe 8.30am – 2pm.