Cardrona was the playground for a decent portion of the world’s best snowboarders last week when the third annual Burton High Fives took place. With two days of events up Cardrona there were some heroics to make the competition one to remember! Cardrona Junior Team Rider Carlos Garcia-Knight made his High Fives debut and not only took 7th place in men’s slopestyle, but was also Team Captain of the winning team which took away $70,000 USD! New Zealand rider Christy Prior was the only kiwi to stand on a podium with 3rd place in the Female’s Slopestyle and claimed the female’s style award! US rider Chloe Kim dominated the ladies halfpipe taking first place, at only 14 years of age she’s looking like one to keep an eye on!
Christy Prior and her team at the MINI off road challenge. Pic: Twitter @ChristyPrior
The Burton High Fives competition format gives the contest a unique feel like no other. Before heading up to Cardrona the athletes had two days of off-mountain, kiwi-inspired challenges. The challenges including MINI off road driving and blind driving challenges in a bid to score points for their team and walk away with a $70,000 USD team award.
The 22 ft Olympic pipe as well as the World Cup Slopestyle course in Big Bucks Park were in top notch condition for the on-snow action. The Cardrona Parks crew constructed an epic set up for the slopestyle course featuring back-to-back wall ride features, a unique urban inspired street rail setup, a cannon rail and a giant cable reel, all which made creativity mandatory from the riders. Finishing the course was three perfectly shaped jumps.
Carlos Garcia Knight sending it large! Pic: Instagram @carlosgk
Seven New Zealand athletes were in action for the slopestyle finals. Christy Prior, Stefi Luxton, Shelly Gotlieb, Rebecca Torr and Ben Comber along with up and coming Cardrona Junior Riders Carlos Garcia Knight and JJ Rayward all had home ground advantage. It was a High Fives debut for both Carlos and JJ who both had strong results during the northern hemisphere season and were thrilled to take part and compete at their home resort.
Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson set the bar high for the women right from the start and ended up on top, accompanied by Miyabi Onitsuka in second and Christy Prior nabbing third. For the men, Emil Ulsletten from Norway claimed top spot, while Canadian Darcy Sharpe came second and Japanese Yuki Kadono took third. Cardrona rider Carlos Garcia-Knight managed to stomp and impressive run taking 7th and leaving many of worlds best riders, including the likes of Mark McMorris, behind him.
Ben Ferguson ripping throwing down in the Olympic Superpipe. Pic: Phil Erickson
The second competition day was in the 22ft Olympic Pipe which was groomed to perfection. A relatively big crowd of captivated fans witnessed the dominance of 14-year old Chloe Kim in the women’s. She shot straight into first place after her first run, with a massive backside air into a frontside 540, McTwist, and a corked frontside 720 before finishing with a corked cab 720, to earn a score of 92.60. If haven’t heard of this girl yet then now you know! Silver went to Chinese Cai Xuetong followed by Japanese Ooe Hikaru in third.
It was a historical day on mens side aswell when Zhang Yiwei claimed gold, cementing his spot as the first Chinese male rider to win an international snowboarding competition. Seamus O’Connor from Ireland was second and Aussie Nathan Johnstone took third.
Chloe Kim and Zhang Yiwei took first place spots in the halfpipe. Pic: Phil Erickson
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