New Zealand to host first Olympic qualifying events   1 May 2012

New Zealand will host two pinnacle events on the international snow sports competition circuit this winter with the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Ski Halfpipe World Cups at Cardrona Alpine Resort from 20 -26 August 2012.

With the Winter Olympics less than two years away, the World Cup events will act as the first qualifying events in the world for athletes and will attract a strong field of international elite riders as they start their journey to Sochi 2014.

Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap, said not only would the two World Cup events attract a world-class field but they would also act as a preview to Winter Games NZ 2013. “We would expect 90% of the top competitors in the world to come to New Zealand to compete,” he said. “The two events are also important build-ups for us for Winter Games next year when we will have eight World Cups. In addition, Winter Games is keen to be able to provide annual benefits to both the sport and the local communities without having a full Games every year.

The FIS Freestyle Ski Halfpipe is dual sanctioned with the Association of Freeski Professionals (AFP), allowing competitors to also accumulate points on the AFP world rankings.

Marty Toomey, CEO of Snow Sports New Zealand, said having events of this calibre in New Zealand was invaluable preparation for the country’s Winter Olympics campaign as well as providing opportunity for developing athletes.

“The two World Cups will give our developing athletes the opportunity to compete alongside the best in the world – an opportunity that is otherwise very hard to get through the limited entries available in major overseas competition,” he said. “These events will attract some of the top riders in the world due to their Olympic qualification status and 16 months out from the Olympics will give our athletes a chance to benchmark themselves against the best on home turf. Home advantage in major events is internationally recognised as a strong performance contributor allowing our Olympic contenders to perform with distinction, giving them that winning experience and self belief, both critical moving forward on their Olympic journey.“

The FIS Freestyle Ski Halfpipe World Cup will take place on 22 August while the FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup will take place on 25-56 August, both at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

For further information, visit www.wintergamesnz.com

(Winter Games NZ)

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