WHAT an amazing week it’s been up here for the Cardrona Games! The Games have seen New Zealand’s best skiers & snowboarders taking on the world in 3 days of slopestyle & halfpipe competition.
In order to make the most out of the week, we decided to run 2 ski slopestyle events to give competitors more opportunities to earn crucial FIS points, needed to qualify for World Cup events & the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Day 1: First Freeski Slopestyle & Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Qualifiers
After a weather day on Monday, all the action kicked off on Tuesday with some heavy action going down. The snowboard slopestyle women’s division got a well-deserved day off, with all of them going straight through to finals on Day 2. The men’s side of the competition was topped by Norwegian wonderkid Marcus Kleveland, who stomped a 90.7 point run over Cardrona team rider Tiarn Collins in 2nd & X Games Gold medallist Sebastien Toutant in 3rd. The top 12 riders advanced to the next day’s finals.
For men’s ski it was an epic battle between Cardrona team skier Finn Bilous & James “Woodsy” Woods, who took out the Jossi Wells Invitational last month. The judges had Finn in the lead until Woodsy’s very last jump, where he pipped Finn by just 1 point! Women’s ski slopestyle was dominated by Estonian X Games Gold medallist Kelly Sildaru, who finished with a score almost 10 points above her closest competitor.
Day 2: Second Freeski Slopestyle & Snowboard Slopestyle Finals
The second day of competition saw the freeski slopestyle athletes battle it out again, with both Woodsy & Kelly taking top honours like the day before. The men’s podium was switched up with US skiers Peter Raich & Ryan Stevenson in 2nd & 3rd place respectively. Kelly was joined on the women’s podium by high-flying Japanese skier Yuna Koga & Switzerland’s Sarah Hoeflin.
The women’s snowboard slopestyle finals had 3 Kiwi riders in a field of 10, & all 3 New Zealanders finished on the podium! Cardrona team rider Zoi Synnott took out the title, with Natalie Good pushing her right to the final run in 2nd place, & Corrah Phillips in 3rd.
X Games Gold medallist Sebastien Toutant topped the men’s snowboard slopestyle podium with 2 technical, clean & smooth runs. Japan’s Hiroaki Kunitake finished in 2nd place, with Cardrona team rider Tiarn Collins rounding out the podium in 3rd.
Day 3: Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe
The final day of Cardrona Games was all in the halfpipe, with 4 FIS events all going down! Men’s & women’s freeski & snowboard events all took place in our massive 22ft Olympic Superpipe. It was a massive day for the Japanese team, taking out 6 of the podium spots on offer across all disciplines.
The entire day was a truly international affair, with athletes representing New Zealand, Japan, USA, Korea, Germany, Australia, China, Ireland, & Great Britain in the final events.
The women’s snowboard event was led by Japan’s Kurumi Imai in 1st place, with Aussie Emily Arthur in 2nd & Junna Asaya of Japan in 3rd. Japanese snowboarders took the 2 top positions in the men’s halfpipe, with Naito Ando & Ikkou Anai in 1st & 2nd respectively. Germany’s Andre Hoeflich rounded out the podium in 3rd place.
Kelly Sildaru finished her winning week with another 1st place finish, with an incredible 95 point final run to take out women’s ski halfpipe. She was joined in the placings by Japanese skiers Saori Suzuki & Yurie Watabe.
Cardrona team skier Nico Porteous was JUST pipped for first place by USA’s Taylor Seaton by only 1 point! It was a super competitive field with all 3 podium skiers scoring in the 90s for their final runs – Korea’s Kwang-Jin Kim with 91 points, Nico with 94, & Taylor’s run scoring him 95!
We had such a great time hosting the first ever Cardrona Games! We’ve still got a couple of events in our calendar for this season before the world’s best stick around for Spring Camp to train for the upcoming Northern Hemisphere season – we can’t wait to see how it all goes down!