LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (August 11, 2009) – With entries still flooding in, 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games today announced the strongest snowboarding halfpipe field ever seen in New Zealand. The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Halfpipe will read like a who’s who of snowboarding as the world’s top riders vie for valuable FIS points in their Olympic qualification quest as well as the prestige of gaining a podium finish at the first FIS World Cup event of the 2009/2010 season.
Leading the men’s and women’s fields are current world number ones, Ryoh Aono (JPN) and Jiayu Liu (CHI) both of whom finished the 2009 season at pole position on the World Cup tour.
Liu has strong competition in the women’s field that features seven out of the top 10 riders in the world and includes three Olympic medallists. Twenty-four-year-old Kelly Clark (USA won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and is the number one ranked female TTR rider. She is joined by fellow countryman and winner of Olympic gold in 2006, Hannah Teter (22) and Gretchen Bleiler, also of the USA, and Olympic silver medallist in 2006. Rounding out the women’s field is Lisa Wiik (NOR), currently ranked number two on TTR and third ranked rider Jamie Anderson (USA). Top New Zealand rider, Juliane Bray, is currently ranked seventh in the world on the FIS rankings and also a strong contender for a podium finish as are world number two and last year’s winner, Shiho Nakashima (JPN) and Sophie Rodriguez (FRA) who is ranked number three in the world.
The men’s field is equally impressive with six out of the top ten riders in the world led by Aono who took second place at the 2009 event behind Kohhei Kodu (JPN) who is also on the start list. They are part of a strong Japanese team that also includes Kazuumi Fujita, world number four, and Kohdai Watanabe, world number eight. Australian Nathan Johnstone (19) is the current world number two with three World Cup podiums to his name despite a relatively short time on the circuit. The men’s field also includes current number one TTR rider, Peetu Piiroinen of Finland.
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Halfpipe will run as part of 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games at Cardrona Alpine Resort. The qualifying heats will take place on Tuesday 25 August with the semi-finals and finals from 10.00am to 2.00pm on Wednesday 26 August.
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 www.wintergamesnz.com.