The NZ Freeski open Big Mountain winners get some heli-time!

On Monday 17th August, the Big Mountain phase of The Volkl NZ Freeski Open today concluded with top finishers at The North Face Big Mountain Finals taken by helicopter to Wanaka Backcountry for The North Face Sessions, a heli-accessed expression session presented by Southern Lakes Heli-ski.

Image Credit Camilla Stoddart

Four Kiwi freeriders including Sam Smoothy, Tom Dunbar and Janina Kuzma were joined by internationals Jérémie Heitz, of Switzerland and Rebecka Eriksson, of Sweden, and flown to exclusive big mountain terrain accessed only by Southern Lakes Heli-Ski.

The challenge for the freeriders was to find skiable lines in a non-competitive environment. A welcomed change after the pressure of The North Face Big Mountain Finals a few days earlier.

Jérémie Heitz. Image Credit Dan Carr

“The concept of the heli-accessed expression session was to showcase the winners of the North Face Big Mountain doing what they do best. Throwing down their favourite tricks, in the backcountry, without the pressure they get in competition,” said Stephen Winnacott, Marketing Manager of The North Face. “We’re also capturing the day on film and will present it to the public at Wanaka’s Cinema Paradiso as part of the closing party for the entire event.”

Photo credit Dan Carr

The crew were accompanied by two photographers, a film crew and three qualified and experienced heli-ski guides to help ensure safety at all times.

The action will be filmed and featured during a public screening of the Volkl NZ Freeski Open in Wanaka this Thursday.

Image credit Camilla Stoddart

The Big Mountain phase of the NZ Freeski open has been a huge succes, but it is nort the turn of the freestylers to show off their skills. A selection of the world’s best Slopestyle and Halfpipe competitors are ramping up for the park events which are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

Twenty of the world’s best International invited freeskiers will set the benchmark giving the 140 amateur and professional athletes the chance to prove their worth on the world stage. Entrants will fight through qualifiers for a spot in the finals and a share of the $35,000 prize pool.

Wanaka’s Jossi Wells, who is regarded as one of the world’s very best freeskiers leads the Kiwi’s, while international invited riders including Russ Henshaw, of Australia, Mike Riddle, of Canada, Tom Wallish, of USA, Henrick Harlaut, of Sweden and Xavier Bertoni, of France are amongst some of the top riders up to give Wells some strong competition.


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