With less than a month to go until the southern hemisphere’s biggest freeski competition gets underway, registrations are filling up, snow has been falling and the park and pipe are shaping up nicely.

The North Face® Freeski Open of New Zealand, the only event in the world to hold Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Big Mountain in one, will celebrate its 10th year of competition in 2014 with some of the sports’ biggest stars once again part of the action.

X Games medallists, Olympians and stars of the Freeride World Tour will be looking to claim the top steps of the podium.

In the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) classified Park and Pipe events, Aussie Slopestyle specialist Russ Henshaw will battle it out against the UK’s James ‘Woodsy’ Woods. While a strong Kiwi contingent – including one or two (or three or four) – Wells family members will also be in the running.

In the women’s Slopestyle field Sweden’s Emma Dahlström will be looking to improve on her fifth place finish from Sochi with New Zealand’s Anna Willcox also challenging for a top result.

This year, several riders will take the opportunity to mix it up and take advantage of the multi-discipline nature of the NZ Freeski Open. New Zealand’s own Janina Kuzma, who placed fifth in women’s Halfpipe at the Olympic Winter Games and is a six time winner of the NZ Freeski Open Big Mountain, will showcase her talents across both events in 2014.

The North Face® Freeski Open is classified as a 3-star Freeride World Tour Qualifying event and attracts elite skiers from around the world whose ultimate goal is to qualify for the prestigious Freeride World Tour (FWT).

Amongst the top ranked competitors will be hometown hero Sam Smoothy who placed second on this year’s FWT. Smoothy will be joined by fellow Kiwi and FWT rider Charlie Lyons, who will certainly be on the hunt for some early season qualifying points.

Sam Smoothy Freeski Open 2013 credit Neil Kerr

Cardrona Alpine Resort will once again provide a world-class venue for the Park and Pipe events with recent snowfalls meaning that construction of the halfpipe is well underway and the third jump on the slopestyle course will soon be open.

The awe inspiring terrain of The Remarkables and Treble Cone will provide a suitable challenge for riders in the Big Mountain qualifiers and finals, with both resorts having benefitted from recent snowfalls and cold conditions.

The North Face Freeski Open of New Zealand competition schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday 27 August – Park & Pipe bib collection and rider briefing. 3pm Noodle Bar, Cardrona Alpine Resort
  • Thursday 28 August – Slopestyle qualifiers
  • Friday 29 August – Slopestyle finals
  • Saturday 30 August – Halfpipe qualifiers and finals
  • Sunday 31 August – Park & Pipe weather day
  • Sunday 31 August – Big Mountain bib collection and rider briefing. Time and venue TBC
  • 1 – 7 September – Big Mountain qualifiers
  • 2 – 8 September – Big Mountain finals
  • 3 – 6 September – Weather days

Fancy competing?

Register here for Park n Pipe.

Register here for Big Mountain.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.


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