Towards the end of August 2018 New Zealand’s Cardrona resort was engulfed by the winter sports athletes and media organisations for the 6th Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ.A lot was happening throughout the Winter Games from FIS Junior World Champs Big Air, The North Face Frontier, and FIS cross country skiing.
Conditions were optimum for the games with good snowpack and clear bluebird skies. The Junior Big Air saw some impressive action, packed with triple corks and smooth buttery style throughout.
Japan’s Kokomo Murase, the 13-year-old X-Games gold medallist stuck a backside 720 melon to take the top spot in the women’s category, while Takeru Otsuka, also from Japan took first in the Junior Men’s Big Air after stomping a triple corked 1440 mute, followed by a cab triple corked 1440.
The skiers were also on heavy form with Nico Porteous blowing everyone away in the Junior Men’s Freeski Halfpipe.
The 16-year-old Kiwi was fresh from taking bronze in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games and took the top spot on home turf with a run that included a double corked 1260 and an alley-oop flat spin 540. Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru took the same position on the Women’s Freeski Halfpipe after dominating her category with three solid runs.
Britain’s Billy Morgan displayed his usual effortless style through the slopestyle course, but came up short in his final runs to take 6th place. Marcus Kleveland from Norway stood out among the pack though with an overall 85.88, beating Canadian Darcy Sharpe by just 0.25 points.
Putting down the most flawless runs was California’s Jamie Anderson who shot to first position making this her 5th gold medal in slopestyle at the Winter Games NZ. Anderson left Japan’s Miyabi Onitsuka in second position, while the UK’s Katie Ormerod managed to take fifth.
In the Junior Slopestyle Freeskiing, it was the usual suspects of Kelly Sildaru and Tekuru Otsuka that stole the show, both taking first place. Otsuka nailed a run that included a switch backside bluntslide 270 out, a frontside Miller-flip Indy, and a game changing cab 1260 crail.
Meanwhile, Sildaru knocked out a similarly impressive run with a front 450 out of the Audi wall, and a switch left 1080 mute which has been lauded as being one of the cleanest laid down in Cardrona.
This four star freeride challenge played as a Freeride World Tour qualifier and was the first time being included into the Winter Games fold. Held at The Remarkables, the descents encompassed hefty cliff drops, couloirs and spines as well as the occasional pillow drop.
New Zealand snowboarder Roland Morley-Brown, who knows this ski area well, threw down some impressive lines to take 3rd in the men’s, but was beaten by USA’s Patrick Van Horn who took second, while first place was given to Sweden’s Cody Bramwell.
Maria Kuzma, another New Zealand native, took down some impressive lines at The Remarkables in the women’s category as did Germany’s Claudia Bings. The winner of the women’s North Face Frontier went to Spain’s Nuria Castán Barón who ran the lead by 400 points.
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