World’s elite skiers and boarders converge in Wanaka NZ

All eyes of the international snowsports world are on New Zealand right now with some of the world’s best flying south for the 2013 World Heli Challenge.

This year’s event kicks off on Friday, 26 July with the first-ever Junior World Heli Challenge for 12-16 year old athletes.

Event director Tony “Harro” Harrington explains, “The World Heli Challenge has always had a ‘young gun’ component and has launched the competitive careers of athletes such as Jossi Wells and our Junior World Heli Challenge ambassador Mitch Reeves. With so much interest and young talent out there, we decided it was time to take it a step further and create an event for the younger athletes.”

The elite level ski and snowboard event will then take place from 4 to 22 August this year with a strong local line up including 2012 winner Will Jackways and Wanaka legends Sam Smoothy and Fraser McDougall. International athletes are also flying down for a piece of the action including snowboarder Antti Autti from Finland and women’s champ from 2012, Jacqui Edgerly from the US.

“We are excited to be based right in Wanaka this year for the two weeks of the event enjoying the town, adventure activities in the local area and the chilled après vibe down by the lake.”

A series of events will be held in the evenings at the Lonestar Café & Restaurant providing plenty of opportunity for everyone to come and mingle with the competitors throughout the two weeks.

The World Heli Challenge will climax with the iON Showcase Awards and Canon Shootout. “It’s a film festival on steroids” explains Harro. The night promises to be one of Wanaka’s best parties of the year, featuring awards for photography, cinematography and athlete winners of each day as well as announcements of the overall winners of the event.

The World Heli Challenge is open to elite freeskiers and snowboarders aged 16 years and over. Places are restricted to just 32 athlete slots across men, women, ski and snowboard categories. With just a few spots remaining, it’s not too late to secure a slot in this year’s competition. Email for info.

About the World Heli Challenge

The World Heli Challenge is an elite heli-accessed ski and snowboard event attracting athletes from around the world to challenge themselves in the backcountry terrain surrounding Wanaka. Southern Lakes Heli fly the competitors on two competition days – a Freestyle Day and Extreme Day. Athletes are judged on their overall performance across both days, their abilities to showcase their freeriding skills in steep and challenging terrain and to deliver a smooth, strong and consistent line.

Outside the two competition days athletes explore the local area enjoying the town and getting a local flavour of New Zealand with opportunities to shear sheep, plant native flax with locals, ski at Treble Cone and Cardrona and a keep their adrenaline levels high with host of adventure activities in the area.

The Canon Shootout film and photographic competition is as hotly contested as the skiing and snowboarding and attracts world-class action filmers and photographers who follow the athletes and create stunning short films and photos screened and judged at the ION Showcase Awards Night.

DOWNLOAD PHOTO: NZ skier George Pengelly shows some freestyle flair at Black Peak in the World Heli Challenge 2012. Credit – Miles Holden, WHC Canon Shootout 2012.