Why are we writing about snow sports in September? Because it’s winter in New Zealand!
The Audi quattro Winter Games are becoming a bigger and bigger deal down under and have FIS World Cup Big Air competitions – the real thing with points that count – this weekend.
The NZ Winter Games are being held at the Cardrona Alpine Resort, which has had more than a week of various skiing events, which will be completed with these World Cup openers.
In the Freestyle Big Air, the one returning World Cup medalist from last season is Sweden’s Oscar Wester, who earned a silver medal in Germany in December 2017. Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand was the Olympic bronze medalist in Slopestyle in Korea and James Woods (GBR) was fourth. American Alex Hall won the Slopestyle World Cup in Salvaplana (SUI) last season.
There are only six women entered; Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru won the World Junior Championships silver in Big Air in Cardrona in August. Canada’s Dara Howell and Silvia Bertagna (ITA) were 1-2 in the Big Air World Cup last season in Quebec City (CAN), and American Caroline Claire won a Slopestyle World Cup last season.
In the Snowboard Big Air, a Slopestyle event was held in Cardrona last season, with Markus Kleveland (NOR) and Jamie Anderson of the U.S. as the winners. The World Cup leaders from last season in Big Air were Chris Corning of the U.S., Yuri Okubo (JPN) and Jonas Bosiger (SUI) among the men and Anna Gasser (AUT), Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN) and Julia Marino (USA) for the women.