LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (August 10, 2009) – Many of the top international names in elite freeskiing are now confirmed for the inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games which take place on 21-30 August 2009. These include possibly the world’s best-known freeskier, Jon Olsson from Sweden, who is the star attraction at the closing event of the Games, the Queenstown Resort College Big Air on 30 August at Coronet Peak.
Olsson (27) is renowned for his invention of seemingly impossible double flips – two separate flips during one air - the most famous one being a double flatspin 900 which won him gold in the Big Air at the 2008 Winter X Games.
Heading the Kiwi charge is former World Superpipe Champion and X Games slopestyle silver medallist Jossi Wells (17) of Wanaka who will compete in all three disciplines of slopestyle, halfpipe and big air.
From across the Tasman are two strong Australian contenders for the men’s and women’s slopestyle title. Russ Henshaw took out the European Open championship title in 2008 while Anna Seagal is an X Games gold medallist and former US Open champion. Olsson’s fellow countrymen, Henrik Harlaut and Jacob Wester will also add considerable interest to the slopestyle event as current European champion and X Games bronze medallist respectively, as will Tom Wallisch (USA) fresh from his 2009 Dew Tour slopestyle victory.
France is also well represented with current world halfpipe number one and World Halfpipe Champion, Kevin Rolland together with Xavier Bertoni, X Games gold medallist and current world number two. They are joined by Anais Caradeux who is currently ranked number two on the women’s tour. All three will compete in the halfpipe event with Bertoni and Rolland also taking on the testing slopestyle course at The Remarkables.
Despite being only 17, Megan Gunning is Canada’s top female halfpipe rider and is ranked number three in the world with an impressive number of World Cup podiums already under her belt. She will also compete in both the slopestyle and big air. Also from North America, Matt Philippi (USA), winner of the 2009 European Open Halfpipe championships will have his eye on gold but will first have to contend with the strongest freeski field ever seen in New Zealand.
The freeski slopestyle competition kicks off the mountain events at 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games at The Remarkables on Saturday 22 August from 9.00am. The freeski halfpipe will take place at Cardrona Alpine Resort on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 August. The Queenstown Resort College Big Air will start from 12 noon on Sunday 30 August at Coronet Peak. All three events are part of the AFP World Tour which means results from the Games will be considered when selections are made for the 2010 Winter X Games.
The inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games will take place at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Farm, Naseby and Dunedin from 21-30 August 2009. It will feature disciplines of alpine skiing, free skiing, x-country skiing, snowboarding, curling, ice skating and adaptive snow sports as well as the demonstration sports of winter triathlon and natural luge. For further information visit http://www.wintergamesnz.com.