A strong international field will compete in freeski and snowboard slopestyle World Cup and a freeski and snowboard halfpipe World Cup, which will provide an opportunity to earn early season FIS points for Olympic hopefuls.
Australian skiers Russ Henshaw and Ryley Lucas, and snowboarders Jess Rich, Tess Coady, Emily Arthur Kent Callister and Matt Cox will start their 2018 Olympic Winter Games campaign.
They’ll be up against a powerful Kiwi contingent with the obvious advantage of competing on their home mountains.
Henshaw is relishing the current conditions on the NSW snow fields from his home base in Jindabyne, getting in as much training as he possibly can ahead of the first slopestyle event at the Winter Games.
“My main goal is to stay healthy. Last season I came home achieving what I wanted to achieve – and that was to be injury free," Henshaw said.
Henshaw’s career has included a World Championship silver and bronze, an XGames podium and four World Cup medals but it is a second Olympics that is a driving goal.
“I’m feeling pretty confident (of qualiyfing). My absolute main goal is to stay healthy,” he said. “I will be doing everything in my power to go into PyeongChang healthy and ready to go.”
After the World Cup in New Zealand Henshaw will compete in two more of the World Cups during the coming season to qualify inside the top thirty for PyeongChang next February.
The women’s events will also see a strong challenge from competitors, with dual Junior World Champion Tess Coady out to back up her successful 2016-17 season, and Jess Rich who is upping her game this season after learning a few things from 2016-17.
Rich came away with a ninth place at the World Cup in Quebec and plans to train in Australia as long as she can before Big Air events which begin in November in Copenhagen.
Rich will also compete at Thredbo’s One Hit Wonder in September.
See the schedule of events for the NZ Winter Games www.wintergamesnz.kiwi/the-games/
by Ski & Snowboard Australia