A wintry blast from the
south yesterday forced the postponement of a Winter Games
highlight - the freeski slopestyle - until today.
The games' freeskiing events feature 2010 super pipe champion
Jossi Wells (21), of Wanaka, who is proficient in both
halfpipe and slopestyle disciplines and is a key spectator
drawcard for the competition, originally scheduled at the
Snow Park yesterday from 9.30am.
The event should proceed at the same time today, weather
permitting, with announcements to the contrary expected from
Winds were reaching 50kmh at the Snow Park yesterday and
although the terrain park was open, Wells said he was pleased
to delay competition for a day.
"I am stoked we are not competing today. It's really bad
weather up there and it's unsafe to throw our bodies in the
air when we can't see where we are landing," he said.
Wells was hoping for better weather today, when he goes
head-to-head with his brother Byron Wells (19), another top
podium prospect, and Canadian Charles Gagnier, an X Games
champion and US Open champion.
Slopestyle freeskiing and snowboarding has gained a greater
level of attention in New Zealand recently, following the
decision by the International Olympics Committee to include
the disciplines in the 2014 Winter Olympics programme for
New Zealand has only ever won one medal at the Winter
Olympics - a silver medal by alpine skier Annelise Coberger
in 1992 - and New Zealand Snow Sports officials hope the
Wells brothers may be able to break the drought.
Wells said yesterday he was not thinking about any of his
competitors in the build up to competition this week.
He was unsure what tricks they would throw at him and was
just planning to do the best he could.
Wells said those riders who had not had a chance to have a
good look at the course would still perform to a high
"Most riders know how to do their tricks. If their speed is
right, they should be OK ... That's our job, to be able to
adapt to the features given to us and do the tricks we know,"
Snow Park general manager Robin Sadowski-Synnott said
groomers and park crews were working on the slopestyle course
yesterday and would continue overnight.
"They plan to have it nicely groomed, despite the fresh snow.
There are a lot of people shovelling up here," she said.
Sadowski-Synnott said the wind was definitely a problem for
the competition and conditions would be reviewed at 6am
The freeskiers will be at Cardrona Alpine Resort's half pipe
tomorrow and on Saturday while snowboard slopestylers move on
to the Snow Park course on Saturday ( to practise for
competition on Sunday.
Other Winter Games events today include freestyle
cross-country races at the Snow Farm and ice hockey at