5th September 2013 – Queenstown, New Zealand – With fresh snow on the hills, the finals of The North Face® Freeski Open of New Zealand Big Mountain competition got underway this morning in the Alta Chutes at The Remarkables alpine resort. Switzerland’s Greg Tuscher and Sweden’s Lotten Rapp took the top honours in the 3 Star Freeride World Tour Qualifying event.
“Mother Nature prevailed, setting us up with some good snow conditions, with winds easing during the day and skies clearing perfectly. The sun came out and the guns came out,” commented Head Judge Dion Newport.
“It was great to see the level of The North Face® Freeski Open continue to progress,” continued Newport, “with only one run to prove themselves, nobody was holding back.”
Seven women contested today’s finals, Rapp the stand out performer with her score of 7.83. Judges described Rapp’s skiing as “totally on point, with two solid airs and two stomped landings.”
Following closely behind Rapp in second place and a score of 7.55 was former alpine ski racer, Taylor Rapley, who claimed the top spot at the K2 Big Mountain competition last month.
“I just skied it like I was riding with friends,” enthused Rapley. “I’m so pumped and happy it was on my home mountain.”
Third placed finalist was fellow New Zealander Alex Brook with a score of 7.23.
“Things got slightly out of control at the top, so I made a quick change and ended up skiing a different run that was a lot of fun,” said Rapp. “The snow made me more confident to get a little wild!”
There was a strong Kiwi presence in the men’s field with 11 of the 17` competitors from New Zealand; however, nothing and no one could match Greg Tuscher. Tuscher’s 9.55 scored-run included a huge backflip off a jump and had the entire audience on their feet, hands in the air screaming.
“I feel great!” said Tuscher. “Today was a great day, fresh snow and beautiful sun! The vibe was perfect, we were singing on top! I’m so stoked to be in NZ!”
“Greg Tuscher blew all the Kiwis’ minds,” said Judge Dion Newport. “Our hearts were in our mouths watching his top feature of a left 360 to accidental double. Greg followed this up with four big airs, and a downhill take off back flip, landing the cleanest and most technical (and most insane) run of the day.”
New Zealand’s Sam Smoothy - currently ranked 18th on the Freeride World Tour - placed second with his score of 8.95. Sam lee (NZL) was third with his score of 8.55
Today was the final day of competition for the 2013 edition of The North Face® Freeski Open of New Zealand. The event is the only one in the world to hold a Freeride World Tour qualifier in conjunction with AFP Silver Level Slopestyle and Halfpipe competitions.
The organizers would like to thank the sponsors, patrollers, riders and volunteers that made the event possible, as well as Cardrona Alpine Resort and The Remarkables for hosting the competitions.
Click here for men’s and women’s Big Mountain Finals results: http://www.nzfreeskiopen.com/results/
Videos from the 2013 The North Face® Freeski Open are available to view at the following link: http://vimeo.com/thenorthfaceaunz
For further information visit www.nzfreeskiopen.com
Image: Sam Smoothy competing in today's Big Mountain Finals
Credit: Neil Kerr