Votes roll in for “Call Up” contenders

Votes are flooding in online at the World Heli Challenge “Call Up” this week in an overwhelming response to the public poll that decides which team wins a spot in the new-format Heli Challenge at Aoraki Mt Cook in September.

Just one team will earn the “People’s Choice” slot based on their short video entry and will take on a team picked by the World Heli Challenge judging panel from an international line up.

Event director Tony “Harro” Harrington explains, “It’s been an exciting way to open up the event and get the public involved. We can’t believe the massive response.  There have been moments when so many people were voting the website almost crashed and we’re stoked at how people have embraced the new format and supported the teams they want to see win.

“We have some World Heli Challenge champions back in the hunt this year and also athletes who have never competed but are hungry for the opportunity to explore backcountry New Zealand and be part of the Heli Challenge experience,”

All of the teams are busy promoting their entries on social media, tapping into their local and online media and working every possible angle to garner votes and win a coveted place for the 9-day backcountry, heli-accessed freeride competition based at Lake Ohau Lodge from 7 September.

“I’m stoked to see ski and snowboard sites, alpine resorts and industry brands getting behind the teams and promoting them during the “Call Up”.  The entry clips are seriously good and it’s going to be agony for our judges choosing only two teams.  I’d love to grow the event and fit in more – there is so much talent out there,” Harro said.

Twelve teams with a mix of skiers, snowboarders and filmers from across New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada are in the chase for the two spots and the competition has been close with the top two teams only a few percentage points apart to date.

The top polling teams to date are as follows:

  1. All of Us in Winterland – Cam McDermid and Tom Brownlee (NZL)
  2. Team Vacation – Essex Prescott (USA), Dylan Siggers (CAN) filmed by Leo Zuckerman (CAN)
  3. Coen and Will – Coen Bennie Fall, Will Nelson filmed by Tim Taylor (AUS)
  4. Team Australia – Watkin McLennan and Charlie Timmins filmed by Joey Corcoran (AUS)
  5. The Vagabonds – Sam Smoothy and Fraser McDougall (NZL)
  6. Will J and Charlie Lyon NZ – Will Jackways and Charlie Lyon filmed by Riley Bathurst (NZL)

To add to the suspense the results from the poll which have been updating live on the website all week will be blacked out from 2am* Thursday 28 August so no one will know the exact outcome of the final vote until it is shared at the Call Up Announcement at Fitzpatrick’s in Wanaka (and online) on Thursday 4 September.

Teams will be pushing hard in the final two days of the online competition to get as many supporters to vote them over line.  Supporters can make one vote daily for their chosen team until the poll closes at 4pm* Friday 29 August.

[*times are New Zealand local time]