Octagon skifield draws thousands

A huge crowd of spectators watches the freestyle antics of skiers and snowboarders at the Octagon...
A huge crowd of spectators watches the freestyle antics of skiers and snowboarders at the Octagon Rail Jam on Saturday night. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Skifield slopestyle action came to the centre of Dunedin on Saturday night, as thousands gathered to watch the antics of skiers and snowboarders at the Octagon Rail Jam.

Crowd numbers at the event were buoyed by a post-match surge from football spectators, who made their way to the Octagon from Forsyth Barr Stadium after watching the Wellington Phoenix lose 1-5 to the Brisbane Roar.

About 85 skiers and snowboarders took part in the Rail Jam on a custom-built slopestyle course completed with about 60cu m of snow trucked in from Cardrona Alpine Resort near Wanaka.

Organiser David Booth said the crowd of more than 5000 exceeded expectations.

About 35 invited riders and skiers competed for a slice of the $20,000 prize pool alongside another 50 wildcard entrants, Mr Booth said.

University of Otago students Matt Soundy, of Queenstown, and Hamish McDougall, of Wanaka, were the best freeskiers on the night. Austrian Marvin Salmina was best snowboarder, with Queenstown's Nick Hyne the top New Zealander.

• Police praised the behaviour of fans attending the Rail Jam and Phoenix game.

Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken, of Dunedin, said police made 17 arrests overnight, mostly in the central city and for disorder-related offences, but none at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

 

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