New Zealand Winter Games
The Games took place Aug. 15 through 25, but faced unfavorable weather conditions, which tested everyone’s snowboard gear, and an injury to one of the top U.S. riders, Shaun White. The Games included a full festival atmosphere with films, live music and entertainment in Queenstown and Lake Wanaka.
The ladies’ slopestyle event placed Jamie Anderson from the U.S. at the number one spot. The next U.S. female rider, Karly Shorr, placed ninth. The ladies halfpipe event was better for the U.S.; Kelly Clark took the top spot while Gretchen Bleiler took third, and high school sophomore, Arielle Gold, took the number nine spot. The Japanese boarder, Ayumu Hirano, was another favorite, landing some of the biggest jumps ever seen in Cardrona’s halfpipe and taking home the number one spot in halfpipe. This was his first World Cup, and Hirano still needs to show what he’s made of to make the Japanese team, but there is little doubt that he will.
The New Zealand Winter Games were just one of the World Cup competitions that will allow riders to qualify for the Olympic Games. Olympic hopefuls will have to receive the appropriate FIS points to be eligible. Although all riders had their eyes on the prize, they took time off their boards as well. The boarders took to a grassier course after the competition to play a round of golf in Central Otago in the scenic New Zealand backdrop.