Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals underway despite challenging conditions

The opening day of the Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals saw ski competitors racing head-to-head down the Salomon Skier Cross course at Cardrona. The athletes have come from all over New Zealand and range from five years old to the Masters division.  

For the first time ever the Cardrona Freestyle Junior Nationals are now the Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals. All the age divisions that have previously been included are still here (U8 – U18), but now there is an added Open division for athletes who feel they’re ready to step up and compete on the bigger venues and against competitors of any age.  

The Big Air, Slopestyle and Halfpipe events are also FIS Australia New Zealand Cup’s (ANC) for those FIS registered athletes in the Open division. This provides an opportunity for athletes to earn valuable FIS points during the NZ season. 

The Skier-cross discipline involves each athlete taking an individual timed run down the course to seed them into heats, in which they race head-to-head in a knockout format until a winner is crowned.  

The U12 ski girls was the biggest skier cross division today, with 19 athletes lining up in the gates. Winner Clover Rogers, who is from Australia but trains with the Wanaka Ski Team, had a fantastic race, taking the win. Clover said “my favourite moment was the end, when everyone says good job and congratulates each other. I love competing because I love the whole experience of it, and I love going fast!” 

Wānaka local Dylan Hedley Dunbar took out the top spot in the boys U10 division. He said, “my favourite thing about today was making it to the finals and skiing with my friends like Kiri and George.”  

Luke Hetzel, Snow Sports NZ High Performance Manager and Masters Men’s division third place finisher, explained how, “The masters division keeps parents engaged and allows them to experience what their children are experiencing. The Open Division and inclusion of FIS ANC events is a huge positive for our development pathway, allowing Kiwi athletes to secure FIS points on home turf before heading away to the Northern Hemisphere.” 

Also scheduled for today was the K2 Snowboard Big Air U14 – Open FIS ANC event. Although the athletes battled the tough conditions in training, the decision was ultimately made to postpone this event until later in the week. 

The competition continues at Cardrona tomorrow (Tuesday 4 October) with the Salomon Snowboard Boarder-Cross, the K2 Ski Big Air and the Ski Freeride. 

The Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals run from the 3rd to the 7th of October 2022.

Cardrona NZ Freestyle Nationals underway despite challenging conditions

20 months ago