(Updated) It will come as welcome news that the WGNZ may be an annual event, rather than a biannual one. Fans of snow sports are lapping up this event that’s so broad it covers almost everything – snowboarding, freeskiing, alpine, adaptive and cross-country skiing, and curling.
Chairman of the Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ, Sir Eion Edgar says "FIS is promoting the concept of four international events as part of the new series with two in North America, one in Europe and another in Asia. At each event there would be six World Cups for freeskiing and snowboarding including halfpipe, slopestyle and Big Air and Winter Games NZ is positioning itself to be the Asian venue."
It’s the right move for Cardrona Alpine Resort and NZ in general, with so many high-calibre international athletes having a huge influence on the public.
Meanwhile, back on the slopes, James Woods' style won him the gold in the Ski Slopestyle event, with Oystein Braten taking silver. Joss Christensen started what could be another great season with the bronze. Woods' run was impressive, consisting of a slide to 180 out, a switch left 270 to pretzel 270 out, a zero spin to ledge of the wall ride, switch left 270 in pretzel 270 out, switch on to cannon to blind 630 tail grab out, a left double-cork 1080 safety, a right double-cork 1260 tail grab, and a switch right double-cork 10 octo grab.
Two of the Wells brothers, Jackson and Beau-James, qualified for the Ski Big Air finals, both putting down big rotations and smooth landings. Christensen and Woods made the finals too, definitely a successful Games for them both. The biggest surprise came from Norwegian Johan Berg, who was the top qualifier.
Korean Sang Min Han sailed to a gold finish in the Sitting Giant Slalom, while Paralympian Mitchell Gourley took the gold for the Standing category. American James Stanton won the silver.
In the Women’s Sitting Slalom, world no. 3 Laurie Stephens took her second gold of the Games, and in the Visually Impaired Giant Slalom, Jae Rim Yang also won her second gold.
Inspiring stories all round, and lots more to come!