Skiers, boarders draw thousands to event

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 19/08/2013
Evan Schwartz
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
American free skier Evan Schwartz in action during the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup men’s halfpipe heats at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

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Spectacular jumps by some of the world's top skiers and snowboarders attracted 4000 people to the Queenstown Recreational Grounds on Saturday night to watch the Parklife Invitational Rail Jam, part of the 2013 Winter Games.

The event, in its 11th year, had national and international competitors drop down a specially built 36-metre-long snow ramp, going head-to-head on a purpose-built stair feature on snow trucked from the Remarkables ski area.

Slopestyle World Cup champion British free skier James Woods, 21, snatched the Parklife Invitational best male skier title from two-time winner Gus Kenworthy, of the US.

Daring tricks and spills came from international pro snowboarder and title winner Nick Brown, while Dutch skier Isabelle Hanssen took out top female skier for the second year in a row.

Top female boarder was claimed by New Zealander Christy Prior, who is ranked fourth in the world in slopestyle and has her eyes firmly fixed on competing in the Sochi Winter Games.

Rupert Patterson took out honours for Best Trick, ski, and Mitch Kirby for Best Trick, snowboard.

Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence said they were delighted to have delivered a fantastic event that had everyone in town buzzing.

"It was an absolutely awesome show and the standard of competition was intense," he said.

"It's great to be able to bring a taste of the Remarks to town and awesome to see such a great turnout.

"We've got some amazing home-grown freestyle talent here in our backyard and it's fantastic to see them going head-to-head with some of the best in the world," he said.

The event also played backdrop to the first live Lotto draw in town since 1996 and presenter Sonia Gary was helped by New Zealand's medal hopefuls, reigning gold medallist Winter Paralympian Adam Hall and snowboard half pipe representative Rebecca Sinclair.

The Giant Slalom Men's event was postponed by weather conditions yesterday but was able to start later in the day, while the Women's Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup qualifiers were also postponed.

The curling mixed fours and doubles competitions were also held yesterday, in Naseby.

The New Zealand men's team got off to a winning start beating China 9-3 in their opening match but New Zealand men's second side, New Zealand A, were not as successful, losing 10-7 to Korea.

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- The Southland Times

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