ATHLETES’ NEWSLETTER To the World’s Competitive Free Skiers…The NZ Open is back in Lake Wanaka from 15-25 August after successfully pulling off the inaugural event in last year’s far from perfect conditions. The ‘05 Open attracted skiers from 12 nations including X Games and Big Mountain Word Tour medallists making it a truly international event. As well as being the Southern Hemisphere’s premier free ski event, the Open is vital to growing the sport in New Zealand, building on the undoubtable talent the country has produced over the last few years. Any proceeds are given straight back into the sport.Feedback from the competitors and our aim to create the best event has led to some new activities including a private après lounge and bar for competitors in Wanaka, various downtown events ranging from skate jams to indoor curling plus the Free Skiers’ Feast at Snow Park.On snow the NZ Open hasn’t faltered from its core mandate to provide world-class competition venues. Snow Park has again invested hugely over the summer guaranteeing a world class and innovative competition venue for the Superpipe and Slopestyle events. Last year’s Big Mountain at Treble Cone exceeded competitor numbers. This year we are capping competitor numbers and introducing heats and a semi-final structure. Last year’s heli-accessed super-final was kept grounded thanks to high winds. This year we have paid the weather gods ensuring blue bird weather and have lengthened the weather window. Last year’s parties are a haze and blur, so without definitive feedback we have simply decided to make them bigger by bringing in the experts, “Base” who have continually organised the best parties in Wanaka. For those of you travelling from afar, make sure give yourself some time to truly experience New Zealand. If looking to combine your trip with shooting film and photos there are endless opportunities to get unique shots, and with New Zealand being so small it’s very easy to get around. New Zealand is fast becoming the best training ground for the off-season so don’t just listen to the hype, come and enjoy for yourself!-Hamish AclandHow to RegisterHead to the new-look web site – http://www.freeskiopennz.com - and click through to the Athletes Info page. There you can download PDFs of the entry form, rules and regulations and liability release form. In short, all entries received before 31 July will be considered. However, preference will be given to those with a proven competitive career. However, in the interest of growing the sport and discovering new talent, there will be a limited number of wild card places available in all three disciplines.Updates & Further InfoWe’ll keep you updated on all the latest news as the event progresses. While the serious planning has been well underway for several months now, we’re always looking at ways to improve and bring more to the event, for you, the competitors, for the spectators and of course for our sponsors. Our regular email updates will ensure you’re kept in the loop with what’s happening and if you’re wavering on whether to make the trip south, hopefully they’ll persuade you that this is an event not to be missed!Welcome to All Our SponsorsThe Free Ski Open NZ is delighted to have a number of sponsors return from last year, as well as welcome aboard some exciting new supporters. Snow Park, Treble Cone, Volkl, K2 and Smith have all shown their commitment to growing New Zealand’s free skiing scene by continuing their support of the Open from previous years – thank you all and we look forward to delivering you an event you’ll be proud to be associated with. A new supporter is iconic Kiwi brand, Icebreaker NZ, who is official clothing sponsor with its great pure New Zealand merino garments. Jeremy Moon, founder and CEO of Icebreaker, said he supported the event because free skiing is a new and innovative sport that is growing fast globally. “We see it as a fast growing sport that is edgy and athletic and this is a world class event that will expose international athletes to our pure New Zealand merino,” he said. The Open has also received donations from a number of supporting funders and we’d particularly like to thank the Sargood Trust, the Southern Trust and the Caversham Foundation for their generous support.