Lake Wanaka, New Zealand (18 August 2015) –The North Face Freeski Open of New Zealand – the only event to stage Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Big Mountain competitions in one – has added another unique twist to its formula. This year’s Big Mountain event will be open to snowboard competitors as well as skiers.
The Freeski Open of NZ is sanctioned as a three star Freeride World Tour Qualifier event and this year both skiers and snowboarders will have the opportunity to earn world tour qualifying points.
New Zealand’s top freeskiers, including Sam Smoothy, Charlie Lyons and Janina Kuzma have used the Freeski Open of NZ as a stepping stone to the prestigious Freeride World Tour. In 2015 snowboarders will be able to follow the same pathway.
“We’re excited to be able to include a snowboard division in the Freeski Open of NZ Big Mountain,” explains Snow Sports NZ’s Director of Sport Development, Adam Dooney. “There was a gap in the development pathway for our snowboarders with no other senior level freeride (Big Mountain) competitions being staged in New Zealand this season. Including a snowboard division in The Freeski Open of NZ is the perfect way to bridge the gap and we see it as a win-win both for the event and our athletes as well as for the sport as a whole.”
Maria Kuzma, sister of seven time Freeski Open of NZ Big Mountain winner Janina, will be on the start list when competition kicks off at The Remarkables ski area in Queenstown next month.
Like her sister, Maria is no stranger to the podium and has notched up an impressive string of results over her years competing on the Freeride World Qualifier tour including second place at the 2015 edition of Big Mountain Hochfugen in Austria.
“I'm super stoked to be competing!” says Maria.
“It's good to be able to compete in a Freeride World Qualifier comp before heading into the 2015/16 Northern Hemisphere winter. It’s awesome to start this competition season off fresh in NZ!”
The Freeski Open of NZ Big Mountain event will take place at Queenstown’s The Remarkables ski field between 1-6 September. Registration is via the Freeride World Tour website and will be available until 25 August: http://freerideworldqualifier.com/calendar/north-face-freeski-open-new-zealand-2015
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