29th August 2013 – Wanaka, New Zealand - Fresh snow and blue skies made for the perfect start to The North Face® Freeski Open of New Zealand today. The Southern Hemisphere’s premier freeski event got underway with men’s slopestyle qualifiers at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
Norwegian skiers topped the results table with Aleksander Aurdal the top qualifier in heat one, PC Fosse second in the same heat, Espen Bergh topping heat two, with Lars Bjorum third in heat two.
Today’s competition format included two heats with 33 riders in each. A rider’s final score was determined by the best of two runs. The top six riders from each heat plus the next three top qualifiers progressed to the semi-finals which are scheduled for tomorrow (Friday). The 15 qualified riders will be joined by 10 invited riders who progressed straight to semi-finals.
The Slopestyle course is composed of a wall-ride to start, with a choice of rails including a down-flat-down for the second feature, followed by a choice of cannon rail or rainbow rail before the three jumps.
Aleksander Aurdal’s winning run in heat one included a three sixty nose tap, a downhill 450 on the close out, followed by a blind 6 Japan grab on the cannon tube, right nine Japan, switch left cork nine tail to dub cork ten nose mute.
Espen Bergh’s top scoring run in heat two started with an air over the top feature to disaster 270 on the down-flat-down rail. From there Bergh opted to hit the rainbow rail, pulling a blind 270 to right nine tail, switch left cork nose tail and finishing with a left side dub cork 12 mute.
New Zealand was also well represented within the top 15 qualifiers. Alec Savery took fourth place in heat one with Beau-James Wells fourth in heat two and Hamish McDougall close behind, fifth in heat two.
Beau-James described the course as “really good fun despite cold and windy conditions.” He was pleased with his result and enjoyed competing in front of a home crowd. The North Face® Freeski Open is renowned for combining a relaxed, sociable atmosphere with world-class competition. “Competing with your friends is always fun,” remarked Beau-James Wells.
Classified as a silver level event by the AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) World Tour, The North Face® Freeski Open has, once again, attracted some of the world’s best athletes, many of whom have their sights on podium results at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014. While The North Face® Freeski Open is not a FIS points earner and will not count towards Olympic qualification, riders will treat it as an important training opportunity whilst earning valuable AFP points.
As well as the men’s slopestyle semi-finals and finals the women’s slopestyle competition will be held tomorrow (Friday). 20 registered and eight invited female riders will battle it out in semi-finals and the top six will progress through to finals tomorrow afternoon.
Results from the Men’s Slopestyle Qualifiers Heat One are available here.
Results from the Men’s Slopestyle Qualifiers Heat Two are available here
The start list for the Men’s Slopestyle Semi-finals is available here
The start list for the Women’s Slopestyle Semi-finals is available here
Videos will be available to view throughout the competition at the following link: http://vimeo.com/thenorthfaceaunz
For further information visit www.nzfreeskiopen.com
Image: Aleksander Aurdal competing in The North Face® Freeski Open of New Zealand today
Credit: Nick Johnson