The second day of the Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals saw freeski competitors throwing down in the K2 Big Air event and snowboard competitors racing head-to-head down the Salomon boarder cross course at Cardrona.
The freeski Big Air open division was a FIS sanctioned Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC), drawing an international field with athletes from nine countries competing. Each athlete had three attempts at the jump with their top two scores combined for a total score.
Local Wānaka athlete Luca Harrington (18) showed why he is one of the brightest upcoming stars, with all three of his jumps scoring in the 90’s (out of 100). Harrington landed a right triple cork 1440 and switch right double 1800, being awarded a combined score of 194.34 to secure the top spot on the podium.
Luca explained, “Being on top of the podium is always awesome, it was nice to get out there today and get the competition done with a good crew. There were a lot of international athletes and the competition was of a really high level, so for me to be able to ski the way I wanted to ski is really amazing. For me personally this is good competition training to be landing my tricks under pressure. It gets me more comfortable and confident in the start gate before heading away to the Northern Hemisphere and into those bigger competitions.”
Victoria Beattie, Head Ski Judge and Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals Judging Coordinator said, “I think having the FIS ANC events in the Freestyle Nationals is awesome, it has drawn a big international, high level field. It gives athletes a hint of World Cup competition and allows them to peg themselves against international athletes. Today was the debut of the Big Air being part of the Freestyle Nationals and the athlete feedback has been really positive.”
Daisy Thomas of Australia was the winner in the women’s field, landing a switch cork 540 and a left 720 to take the win with a combined score of 136.00.
The judges were also very impressed with Canadian athlete Caoimhe Heavey who was attempting a technical cork 900, although she couldn’t quite manage to land them.
The boarder cross discipline involves each athlete taking an individual timed run down the course to seed them into heats, in which they race head to head in a knockout format until a winner is crowned.
96 snowboarders took to the course to battle it out today. The U14 Boys division was the largest category with 16 athletes lining up in the start gate. Jake Anderson of Australia fought hard and took the win.
New for 2022, the masters division had a good showing, with Paralympian Carl Murphy taking the win in the men's division. Two time Winter Olympian Juliane Bray took out the women’s masters division.
Also scheduled for today was the K2 Ski Freeride event, but unfortunately hard snow conditions in the Lil Tulips venue meant it wasn’t suitable to hold the event. Along with the K2 Snowboard Freeride event, it will be postponed to later in the week.
The competition continues at Cardrona on Thursday with the Snowboard and Freeski halfpipe events being held across both of Cardrona’s world class halfpipes. The open division (to be held in the Olympic Superpipe) will also be a FIS ANC event.
The Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals run from the 3rd to the 7th of October 2022.
17 months ago