The Association of Freeski Professionals (AFP) has awarded platinum level sanctioning to the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ for both the halfpipe and slopestyle FIS Freestyle Ski World Cups it is hosting next month at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
Platinum is the AFP’s highest sanctioning level and puts the Winter Games NZ on the same ranking as the world’s premier freeski events such as Winter X Games and the WSI/AFP World Championship. Only seven out of 56 events on last season’s AFP World Tour were given platinum level sanctioning, representing only those that attracted the best athletes with the best courses and strongest judging panels.
Athletes confirmed for the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ include local brothers Jossi, Byron and Beau-James Wells, American Gus Kenworthy who pipped Jossi Wells to the AFP men’s overall world title this season, overall third-ranked freeskier Henrik Harlaut from Sweden, Australia’s Russ Henshaw, currently ranked second in slopestyle and winner of the 2012 North Face New Zealand Freeski Open, third-ranked slopestyler James ‘Woodsy’ Woods from Great Britain, and Canadians Mike Riddle and Justin Dorey who respectively won the AFP World Championships in 2012 and 2011.
The girls field is equally stacked including current overall world number one, Tiril Sjaastad Christianen (NOR), world number one halfpipe rider Maddie Bowman and fellow American, Devin Logan, who has won all three of the prevous Winter Games NZ.
Eric Zerrenner, Executive Director of the AFP said: "Winter Games NZ has a history of hosting a great event – well organised, well run, and well attended by top AFP athletes. After reviewing the Games’ sanctioning application, coupled with the successful history and positive athlete feedback of this event, it was clear to us that this is a Platinum Level AFP sanctioned event. It's exciting to kick off the Olympic season with such a high-calibre competition."
Arthur Klap, Chief Executive of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ said it represented real progress in the development of the Games following Gold Level AFP Sanctioning for its FIS Freestyle Ski World Cups in 2011 and 2012.
"It's a remarkable achievement to be ranked alongside the Winter X Games and other elite events by the AFP. It reinforces our status as one of the world’s top five winter sports events and means our two freeski events will be extremely valuable points-scoring opportunities for all competitors heading down under."
Winter Games NZ 2013 takes place over 11-days from 15-25 August at the international resorts of Coronet Peak, Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Farm, along with the Maniototo Curling International Rink. Set against the spectacular backdrop of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the Games also include a full Downtown Sessions festival programme featuring films, live music and entertainment in Queenstown and Lake Wanaka.
For further information, visit www.wintergamesnz.com.