Kiwis taking on world's best

Kiwi freeskier Nico Porteous competes at the Junior World Championships at Cardrona Alpine Resort...
Kiwi freeskier Nico Porteous competes at the Junior World Championships at Cardrona Alpine Resort, as part of last year's Winter Games. Photo: Winter Games NZ
A showdown between New Zealand's young talent and some international heavyweights awaits.

It is not just about the Kiwis for the seventh Winter Games New Zealand which leaps into action tonight at Queenstown's Coronet Peak.

More than 700 athletes have touched down in Central Otago for the annual games, considered the premier winter sports event in the southern hemisphere.

A total of 26 events will showcase the cream of the crop across several winter codes over the next fortnight.

The action will be hosted across six venues between Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby.

Bronze medallist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott reacts after her run during the women's big air final at...
Bronze medallist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott reacts after her run during the women's big air final at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang-gun, SOuth Korea, in February last year. Photo: Getty Images
Winter Games NZ chief executive Martin Toomey confirmed events had been added this year, beginning with tonight's opening night parallel slalom dash down Coronet Peak.

"It'll be a really good spectator event [tonight]," Toomey said.

Martin Toomey
Martin Toomey
The addition of the alpine super G series would be a high-octane feature on the Coronet course, beginning on Monday.

Proceedings move to Cardrona over the weekend for the snowboarding World Cup Big Air competition.

The qualifiers begin tomorrow and the finals will be held on Sunday.

All eyes will be on some of the young Kiwi talent, including freeskier Nico Porteous and snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, given their recent achievements.

Sadowski-Synnott has continued her immense form into 2019 as the 18-year-old completed a snowboarding triple crown with slopestyle gold medals at the Winter X Games, World Championships and March's United States Open.

Queenstown alpine skier Alice Robinson, who won last year's giant slalom on home slopes, was another homegrown talent who would be battling for glory.

Elsewhere, the return of American snowboarding stars Chris Corning and Jamie Anderson headline a strong international field.

Corning (19) won the gold medal in last year's Big Air World Cup and enjoyed further success in February as he won the slopestyle gold at the Snowboarding World Championships in Utah.

Anderson remains one of the most revered figures in female snowboarding.

She made history at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last year, becoming the first female snowboarder to win more than one Olympic gold medal.

"We've got other Olympic medallists and X-Game gold medallists on the programme as well," Toomey said.

Queenstown's Alice Robinson competes during the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup women's giant slalom in...
Queenstown's Alice Robinson competes during the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup women's giant slalom in Soldeu Andorra in March. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
He was "looking forward to seeing the Kiwis go head-to-head with all those world-class athletes".

It has been a mild winter season but Toomey felt the atmosphere was mounting in key spots.

"Just from the feel around Wanaka and Queenstown with more snow on the hills, winter is really here now.

"Because of that I do think people will get excited and enthused about what is happening around them."

The event generates more than $10million into the local economy each year.

SKY Sport had also been brought on as a broadcast partner on a three-year deal.

The Winter Games NZ conclude on September 7.

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