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News

Big mountain draws big names and even bigger fields

  • August 24, 2017

Press Release August 24

The Audi quattro Winter Games NZ has responded to an overwhelming demand for entries in this year’s The North Face Frontier by increasing the field, which will have a direct benefit to more local talent.

The New Zealand stop on the Freeride World Qualifying Tour will now play host to 85 competitors in the 2* and 50 in the 4*.

“Increasing the 4* event capacity has allowed us to secure spots for more world-class big mountain skiers and snowboarders including some top Kiwi riders meaning NZL now have over 40 riders competing across the two events,” says Winter Games NZ Sports Manager Anna McConville.

Head Judge Dion Newport reiterated McConville’s sentiments and highlighted some of the event’s drawcards. “It is amazing to see four of the 2017 Freeride World Tour athletes along with a heavy-hitting field of qualifying riders. Many have travelled a long way for this event and they will not be disappointed with the level of riding that we will witness.’

“The Remarkables’ venues are filling in nicely this season and we should see some creative lines with all that good early season snow.”

Local skier Sam Lee is back to defend his 2017 title and will headline the event, using it as preparation for the 2018 Freeride World Tour as will Wanaka’s Craig Murray.

The increase in entries has also ensured the likes of Hank Bilous, Andrew Wylie, Charlie Murray and Jamesa Hampton get the chance to compete in front of their home supporters.

Newport also alluded to some of the big-name internationals who will be keen to spoil the Kiwis’ home coming. “Carl Renvall from Switzerland will be hungry to earn his way back on the (Freeride) World Tour (FWT), while Switzerland’s Theo Cheli, Frenchman Sebastian Varlet and Germany’s Konstantin Ottner were all narrowly off making the FWT so they need to carry that momentum.”

‘’Spain’s Laia Castellarnau Plaza, Germans Verena Fendl and local lady Anna Smoothy are all top of FWQ ranks and there will be a fierce battle.

“It’s also great to see the Kiwi power couple Maria Kuzma and Roland Morley-Brown venturing home to compete in our NZ event,” Newport added.

The North Face Frontier will be competed across a six-day weather window with the two best days selected for competition, with eight of the top riders in the 2* gaining entry into the 4*. Competition dates are September 03 – 08. With the 4* September 05 -08.

Spectators are encouraged to head to The Remarkables to watch this year’s competition for free; however, a lift pass is required with the 2* competition being held in the Remarkables Shadow Basin and Alta Lake for the 4*.

ENDS