WORLD HELI CHALLENGE – Athletes Converge On Wanaka

July 26th, 2012


Flo Orley WHC 2001 Image::Tony Harrington

World Heli Challenge 2012 | Alex Horvath

The World Heli Challenge returns to Wanaka this year for another round of intense world-class competition amongst the majestic Southern Lakes region.

This legendary event brings some of the world’s top and emerging freeride athletes together for two weeks of action, adventure, drama and an adventure lifestyle unlike any other.

The World Heli Challenge is a unique helicopter-accessed competition. The goal is to find out which athlete is the best “all rounder” by combining their freeride and freestyle strengths to showcase their overall talent on snow.

The main event period from Wednesday 1 August to Thursday 16 August is jam-packed with events, parties and adventure days.

For the first time this year, one athlete will be named the overall best all mountain rider. This further separates the World Heli Challenge from any other event on the globe. Skiers and snowboarders will compete on an even field, but only one will come out on top. Will it be a skier or snowboarder?

X Games Medalist Antti Autti (FIN) and Olympic Medalist JJ Thomas (USA) will do their best to challenge defending snowboard champion Benny Bright (AUS).

New Zealand’s Maria Kuzma, currently ranked number four on the Freeride World Tour, will be back to try to regain her title from last year’s winner (also a kiwi), Abby Lockhart.

Austria’s freeskier Sandra Lahnsteiner will go head to head with last year’s winner Janina Kuzma (NZ), who’s currently ranked sixth on the Freeride World Tour and who’s maintained the World Heli Challenge title since it’s comeback three years ago.

“We are excited to welcome back several returning athletes this year as well as a handful of first timers,” said event founder Tony Harrington. “We’re also looking forward to hosting our new Young Guns, Drayden Gardner (USA) and Luke Stavely (AUS). They will join local Finn Bilous and returning Young Gun Mitch Reeves in this year’s field.”

Mountainwatch is proud to be a media partner for the 2012 WHC and will be bringing you regular updates and major developments as they occur.

Mountainwatch will also provide a live webcast of the event on the final day Thursday 16 August.

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Click on a thumbnail to view some images from years past