Winter Games NZ is an elite international winter sports event held annually in Central Otago, New Zealand. 2019 was our seventh edition of the Games, taking place from 23 August – 7 September 2019 across Naseby, Queenstown and Wanaka.
In what was our tenth year of celebrating excellence, we hosted 26 events at 6 venues over 17 action-packed days and showcasing some of the world’s best winter sporting talent.
Coronet Peak was where the Winter Games NZ party started, with the dramatic Night Parallel Slalom kicking the Games off in style. Staged under floodlights, featuring top skiers from New Zealand and around the world, the music was pumping for the exciting racing and Night Ski party atmosphere. It was a great opportunity to bring family and friends up for the party.
Coronet Peak also hosted an exhilarating Alpine ski racing programme with two FIS Australia New Zealand Cups in Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super G alongside a World Para Alpine Super G. The breath-taking Super G events was held on the Hurdle taking pride of place in the heart of the mountain, and was a must watch event.
Cardrona Alpine Resort, the home of the New Zealand Ski and Snowboard Adaptive Team hosted a World Para Alpine Slalom and Giant Slalom in the second week of the Games. New Zealand’s best para athletes pitted themselves against a strong international line up.
The world’s best competed in freestyle skiing and snowboarding World Cups at the internationally acclaimed venue of Cardrona Alpine Resort. The Park and Pipe events started with the thrilling FIS World Cup Snowboard Big Air, then featured the Freeski and Snowboard Halfpipe and Slopestyle FIS Australia New Zealand Cups and closed with the spectacular FIS World Cup Freestyle Ski Halfpipe.
The North Face Frontier is the Freeride event within the Winter Games NZ calendar, held at The Remarkables in Queenstown and is made up of a 2* and 4* Freeride World Qualifying Tour events. These talented skiers and snowboarders ride from the top to the bottom of the natural (ungroomed) face with as much fluidity, style and speed as possible while performing tricks on natural features, like rock drops and cornices. The two events were impressive to watch and guaranteed to give you that heart in your mouth feeling as they launch off the top.
A world-class international Mixed Doubles Curling tournament was competed for at the Maniototo International Curling Rink in Naseby. Elite teams competed in a five-day tournament with the top four teams from pool play progressing into the semi-finals and finals on Saturday 31 August. Always exciting to watch, each match lasts around 90 minutes and during pool play four sheets (rinks) were operating simultaneously providing continuous entertainment for the spectators. Everyone loves the warm Naseby welcome and the classic kiwi feeling you come away with from the Central Otago town, one event not to be missed.
The FIS ANC cross country events were held at the iconic Snow Farm NZ with a Classic Sprint, Interval Start and a Mass Start across three days. The picturesque Snow Farm is a beautiful backdrop for this endurance sport and the best part is you can rent gear and give it a go yourself, creating an epic day out in this winter wonderland.
We all love a bit of New Zealand v Australia rivalry and the Ice Hockey ramped that right up a notch. The Queenstown Ice Arena hosted the three Test Trans-Tasman Challenge presented by Queenstown Resort College between the NZ Ice Blacks and the Australian Mighty Roos which cluminated in a historic win for the Ice Blacks marking the first time New Zealand has ever won back-to-back hockey titles over their Australian rivals.
Marty has an extensive and in-depth knowledge of elite winter sports. This is his second year as the CEO of Winter Games NZ, prior to this role Marty was the CEO of Snow Sports NZ for six years. He is also the Chair of the Ski Areas Association of NZ (SAANZ), represents NZ on a number of FIS Committees and was recently appointed Chef de Mission of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games. His passion for winter sports and belief in his team drives him to tirelessly work to ensure Winter Games NZ is continuously evolving to be the best it can be.
Anna Hiatt is the Commercial Manager and has been a part of the team in a variety of roles for six Games editions. Key aspects of the role include seeking event sponsorship and funding as well as stakeholder management and she oversees the Experiences and Branding teams. With a passion for events and people, this is a dream job in a great team.
Operations and Delivery Manager
Over 14 years ago now Gemma was thrown in the deep end in with sports event management and absolutely loved it. She enjoys working behind the scenes of major sporting events and the challenges it brings. She has worn a few different hats within the Games team and is now managing the venues and awards team.
Communications and Marketing Manager
Sophie has a passion for sports, media and the mountains. As a past professional sportswoman herself, she focuses on telling the athletes stories and has over 15 years experience in international sports events. This will be her second year with the Games and she is proud to be part of this elite and uniquely kiwi Winter Sports event. She manages Media, Marketing, Broadcast and the Communications teams.
Tim has been an integral part of the Winter Games NZ team for three years now, starting out as an intern and now in 2019 he is the Sports Manager. Prior to Winter Games Tim was a part of the Sport NZ Graduate programme. He loves working with the Games team as they're such an awesome crew and he feels really proud when he sees Kiwis standing on top of the podium. In his spare time you will find Tim cruising Lake Wanaka in his sailing boat.
Volunteers really are the heart, soul and engine of an event. Jo’s role as the Volunteer Manager allows her to connect with this core crew and to create a culture that they want to be part of. As an avid snow dweller and ski slider with extensive event experience and community connectedness, this is her ideal job.
Georgina has an extensive and varied marketing background and a passion for creating experiences that are memorable and consistent across every aspect of an organisation’s activities. Georgina has recently joined the Winter Games NZ team, however her involvement in the snow sports industry spans over 18 years. Her industry experience includes; ski instructing, frontline guest experience, marketing, and events.
Louis is debuting on the Winter Games team as being the man in charge of planning and delivering all of the branding and signage for the Winter Games and its partners. With a background in music and sporting events, Louis has a real passion for New Zealand events and is extremely excited and proud to be part of the Winter Games team.
Originally from the UK with extensive experience assisting higher education senior management, Catherine has brought her corporate skills to the Central Otago events scene. This is Catherine's third year with the Winter Games NZ team and loves her role here as it enables her to combine her love of the outdoors and the mountains with her corporate skillset including attention to detail.
Winter Games NZ 2019 is Flick's second year working with the Winter Games, although she is not new to the ski industry. A member of the Wanaka Ski and Snowsports Club for 12 years Flick certainly knows how to put on a world class Alpine event. She loves spending time in the mountains and outdoors, partaking in golf, walking and, of course, skiing.
Freeski & Snowboard Manager
This year will be Ritchie's first year working directly with Winter Games NZ, although he has been around the competitive Freeski and Snowboard World for a considerable time. Ritchie has spent three years with FIS as Asst. Contest Director, five years with US Ski & Snowboard as Grand Prix Technical Advisor and 12 years at Copper Mountain, Colorado as the Competitions Manager. An avid skier himself Ritchie loves working in the mix with exciting Freeski and Snowboard events.
Colleen is enjoying her 3rd year in the role of Cross-Country Sport Manager with Winter Games NZ and said she's constantly in awe of how super fit, skilled and dedicated Cross-Country Skiers of this level are...how far they push themselves, in each and every race. She said it's an honour to organise the FIS ANC Cross-Country event for all athletes from the first time FIS competitors to Olympic Gold medalists. Snow Farm NZ and the Winter Games NZ Cross-Country Team put on a world class event and Colleen is very proud to be part of that.
This year is Toby's second year as the Freeride Manager for the Winter Games NZ. His favourite thing about the role is watching the raw talent of riders dropping in on a purely visual inspection, selecting incredible lines and raising the bar every year with style and level of tricks. Toby is a part of the Freeride community, with his son Alistair currently competing in the FWQ events and his daughter Phoebe is the current Junior Women's Freeride No.1 and will be forerunning the face on the day. The North Face Frontier will be a family day out for Toby!
Ice Hockey Manager
Simone is the Ice Hockey Manager organizing the Trans-Tasman Challenge test series between NZ’s Ice Blacks and Australia’s Mighty Roo’s. She has been involved in events from the America’s Cup to RWC2011 to Queenstown Winter Festival in NZ and the US for longer than she cares to remember but assesses her key qualification for the job as being an ice hockey mum.
Cardrona Venue Manager
Originally from the UK, Maria flew into Queenstown for one last winter season in 2014, but somehow never left. Fast forward five years later and she now calls Wanaka home! Maria has a background in events and marketing, and her true passion lies within snow sports events. Hobbies include snowboarding, hiking and hanging out with one year old daughter, Lily.
Coronet Peak Venue Manager
Janey has been a part of the Winter Games NZ team for four years now, previously working on the signage team and now working as the Coronet Peak Venue Manager. Working up a ski field in an events role is her dream job. Winter Games allows her to work with an awesome team and she gets the opportunity to see the most beautiful sunrises, zoom around on skidoos and get first tracks! Janey has been skiing since she was four years old and loves powder hunting and teaching her daughter to ski.
Remarkables Venue Manager
This is Campbell's second year with the Winter Games team. In 2018 he interned with athlete services and has now stepped into the Venue Manager role. Campbell is passionate about working in the event industry on major sporting events. He enjoys being active and having a balance of working in the office and outdoors. He loves working with the Games team and meeting the inspiring athletes.
Vicky has been part of the Winter Games team for three years, after a long career in the ski industry in NZ retail. She has been skiing for 45 years and is a photographer by trade. Vicky loves working with the Winter Games team as everyone is fantastic at their jobs and always deliver a great Games with a fun vibe.
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Britt was an intern at Winter Games 2018 and is stoked to be a part of such an epic team for 2019. Coming from a professional athlete background, Britt has competed at Winter Games for many years and is loving being on the other side of the event now. Working with a sport she is passionate about and getting to spend her time up the mountain is why Britt loves her job.
Cardrona Media Coordinator
Alex is Snow Sports NZ’s Communications Manager and enjoys being part of the Winter Games NZ team as the Venue Media Manager at Cardrona Alpine Resort. She loves that she gets to call the mountains her office and has the awesome job of writing daily media releases for the Park and Pipe and Para alpine events.