New Zealand was well represented on the podium in all four of the freeride skiing and snowboarding events at the Mt Ruapehu Xtreme competition at Whakapapa Ski Area in September.
Sam Lee (Wanaka) was the winner in the men's ski event ahead of Austrians Fabian Lentsch and Raphael Webhofer. Another Wanaka athlete, Colin Boyd, then claimed the top spot in the men's snowboard event with Jordan Decker of Warkworth taking second and Raphael Bullet of Switzerland coming third.
In the women’s field New Zealanders Anna Smoothy and Erica Prestige were second and third place-getters behind Australia’s Nat Segal.
Wanaka's Maria Kuzma was the sole Kiwi on the podium in the women’s snowboard event, taking out second behind Swiss Ana Marea Zgraggen and ahead of Malin Lindroos of Finland in third place.
The Mount Ruapehu Xtreme competition is a three-star qualification event for the Freeride World Tour.
Free Ride World Head Ski Judge Dion Newport commented on the important status of the event on the world stage: "We had a huge international field, and the level of talent from home-grown riders was a standout for this Xtreme event. I am always happy coming back to my home field to judge, and it's great to have an event of this status in the North Island," says Newport.