Winter Games NZ, the elite winter sports event taking place in Wanaka, Naseby and Queenstown between August 23 through Saturday, has brought together world-class athletes to compete in a variety of heart-pumping finals and qualifiers.
Last Monday, New Zealanders Jamesa Hampton (first), Hank Bilious (second) and Craig Murray (third) filled the men’s ski podium at The North Face Frontier Freeride World Qualifier 4* at The Remarkables ski area in Queenstown.
Hampton made what judges and commentators call a ‘complete run,’ exhibiting a traditional freeride style, big technical skiing and a progressive freestyle run.
Hampton said, “I am absolutely stoked, it was a little bit sketchy. I would like to be more in control, but everything came together.”
Kiwi freeride skier Jess Hotter topped the women’s ski field as a result of her ‘strong, confident skiing and clean features,’ with Swedish skiers Eva Battolla and Sybille Blanjean gliding into second and third place thanks to their great technical form.
In the men’s snowboard field, American snowboarder Blake Moller ranked first, opening with a large freestyle trick and finishing with a fast and solid freeride style.
He was followed by Sweden’s Cody Bramwell, who won the event last year, and another previous winner, NZ’s Roland Morley-Brown, coming in third.
Spanish Nuria Castán Barón nabbed first place for her second year in the event’s women’s snowboard field.
Castán Barón said, “I’m pretty stoked to land the big cliff I did in the middle; it was kind of sketchy and the take-off was really sharky. I stomped it (clean landing) and in these conditions I couldn’t be any more happy.”
Kiwi snowboarder Claire McGregor swung into second and Mikaela Hollste, a 31-year-old from Finland, made third in the competition.
Other highlights of Winter Games NZ include junior world champion Alice Robinson from Queenstown ranking second at the FIS ANC Giant Slalom at Coronet Peak ski area, after her double win at the Super G events.
As well as American Chris Corning’s repeat of his World Cup win at the finals of the FIS Snowboard World Cup Big Air at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
Fellow competitor Redmond Gerard said, “Chris just did a perfect backside quad so that’s pretty nuts and I’m pretty psyched to see his victory lap”.
Events still to come include the FIS Freeski World Cup Halfpipe qualifiers on Friday and finals on Saturday at Cardrona Alpine Resort, along with the Trans-Tasman Challenge ice hockey match, between the NZ Ice Blacks and Australian Mighty Roos, at The Queenstown Ice Arena.
Find out more at wintergamesnz.kiwi.