Kiwis Reclaim North Face Big Mountain titles at The Volkl NZ Freeski Open 09

(Lake Wanaka, New Zealand – August 15, 2009) –The North Face Big Mountain Finals at The Volkl NZ Freeski Open came to a spectacular close at The Remarkables Ski Area, with New Zealand Freeride skiers Geoff Small and Janina Kuzma crowned champions once again. Small, of Wanaka, has now claimed his eighth title since 1996, while Kuzma, also of Wanaka made it her fifth straight victory.

Men's podium, photo Camilla Stoddart

Small wowed the judges as he put down the run of the day with signature style of skiing. Calculated line choice and huge airs off massive cliff drops gave Small a score of 8.17 out of a possible 10.00. Hot on his heels was fellow Kiwi Sam Smoothy, scoring 7.97 while Swiss skier Jeremie Heitz secured third with 7.67.

“I knew I had to do something different today at The Remarkables and I’m really stoked to win," said Small who dedicated his victory to close friend who recently lost his life in an avalanche.

Women's podium, photo by Camilla Stoddart

Kuzma, who took out the women’s category with a score of 8.65 out of 10 is currently ranked seventh on the Nissan Freeride World Tour after a stellar Northern Hemisphere campaign.

“I’m just so happy to win again," Kuzma said. "Stoked to have such good conditions. I found my line and stuck to it right away."

Sweden’s Rebecka Eriksson, who also competes on the Freeride World Tour placed second, while Lorraine Huber, Austria, took out third.


Winners from the North Face Big Mountain are scheduled to take off on Monday for ‘The North Face Sessions’ - a back country expression session hosted by Southern Lakes Heli-Ski for winners of The North Face Big Mountain competition.

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

Establishing itself as the biggest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere and attracting athletes from across the globe, the Volkl NZ Freeski Open has now been officially recognised on the international freeski World Tour alongside the world’s biggest freeski events.

The North Face Big Mountain is the first-ever Southern Hemisphere Freeride World Qualifier Event, while the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) is including the Slopestyle and Halfpipe as an AFP points event.

The Volkl NZ Freeski Open is a collaborative effort between Snowsports New Zealand (SSNZ) and the Freeski Association New Zealand (FSANZ), organisations that share the objective of promoting awareness and participation of snow sports and freeskiing in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere.

Final Results

1 Janina Kuzma, New Zealand 8.65

2 Rebecka Eriksson, Sweden 7.05

3 Lorraine Huber, Austria 6.17

4 Nicola Campbell, New Zealand 5.47

5 Mikey Austin, New Zealand 4.72

6 Naomi Richards, Australia 3.15

7 Arianna Tricomi, Italy 2.12

8 Sarah Gillespie, New Zealand 1.3


1 Geoff Small, New Zealand 8.17

2 Sam Smoothy, New Zealand 7.97

3 Jérémie Heitz, Switzerland 7.67

4 Tom Dunbar, New Zealand 6.90

5 Neil Williman, New Zealand 6.72

6 Cam McDermid, New Zealand 5.90

6 Cam McDermid, New Zealand 5.90

7 Luke Potts, UK 5.57

8 Alex Llynden, New Zealand 5.32

9 Roy Schott, USA 4.95

10 Sean Richard, USA 3.85

11 Logan Swney, New Zealand 3.60

12 Tom Brownlee, New Zealand 3.35

13 Nicholas Fountain, New Zealand 2.75

14 Zak Hogg, New Zealand 2.15

15 Charlie Lyons, New Zealand 1.10

16 Will Prosor, USA 0.90

17 Sam Lee, New Zealand 0.75

18 Hayden Seddon, New Zealand 0.42

19 Blake Lepper, New Zealand 0.

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Volkl NZ Freeski Open Schedule

Wednesday 12th August - The North Face Big Mountain Qualifiers – The Remarkables

Friday 14th August - The North Face Big Mountain Finals – Now at THE REMARKABLES

Tuesday 18th August – Halfpipe - Cardrona

Wednesday 19th August – Slopestyle - Cardrona

Sat 15th – 18th August (Whether bracket) - The North face Sessions – Southern Lakes

Thursday 20th August - Public Screening of Volkl NZ Freeski Open featuring highlights of The North Face Sessions & TGR/The North Face Film – $15 entry Cinema Paradiso

About the Freeride World Tour Qualifier (Big Mountain)

Since 2008, the Freeride World Tour has made sports history bringing together top international freeride skiers and snowboarders, men and women, competing at prestigious resorts around the world, battling for the World Champion title. The Freeride World Tour (FWT) is welcoming The New Zealand Freeride Series 2009 as a Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) event for the 2009-2010 season. The New Zealand Freeride Series is comprised of three events, The North Face Big Mountain at the Volkl New Zealand Freeski Open at The Remarkables and Treble Cone (11-16 August), the K2 Big Mountain Chill Series at Craigieburn and Mt Olympus (26-30 August), and the Export Gold Xtreme at Whakapapa, Mt Ruapehu (8-13 September). As a premier event, the Volkl New Zealand Freeski Open offers double the points in the overall Series result.

About the Association of Freeski Professionals World Tour (Slopestyle and Halfpipe)

Event rankings are based upon course construction, prize money, media exposure and quality of competitor field and determined by the Executive Committee of the AFP. Final points for each event are determined after the start list is confirmed and the strength field based on AFP standings is weighted into consideration. The Best four results are used for halfpipe and the best three results for Slopestyle and Big Air to determine the World Champions.

The NZ Freeski open could not happen without the continued and much appreciated support of and