World Heli Challenge returns to New Zealand

Posted By: The Ski Channel on July 16, 2010 8:20 am

After an eight year absence, The World Heli Challenge returned to a roaring success in Wanaka, New Zealand last year.

For 2010, fans will be pleased to learn that there will be no such absence, as 50 of the world’s top skiers and snowboarders will once again converge on Wanaka for eight days, including two days of helicopter-accessed competition with the goal of finding out which athlete is the best “all rounder” by combining their freeride and freestyle skills to showcase their overall talent.

New Zealand’s backcountry is frequently labelled as some of the most beautiful in the world and while watching this event first hand is not possible for most, everyone will have the opportunity to view it through the lens of six of the world’s most renowned photographers and two 30-minute TV shows that will air globally.

“This event is much more than just a ski and snowboard competition,” said event director, Tony Harrington. “We’ve incorporated arts and culture as well. We’ve invited six of the world’s best photographers to Wanaka to capture the spectacular scenery and action. All will be on display at a post event media awards evening.”

The World Heli Challenge is also so much more than just a competition for the athletes. For six of the eight days that they are in Wanaka they will be treated to a variety of exciting activities. One day will be spent at the Glen Dene Station sheering sheep and mustering deer after which they will be treated to a dinner featuring New Zealand’s culinary delights.

Competitors will also spend time partaking in some of New Zealand’s fishing, golfing and a day on the West Coast in the surf.

In keeping with the times, the big air event comes back as a “Street Style” Snow Show that promises to be as much fun for spectators as it will be for the competitors. The event takes place at the Hawea Hotel from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7. Truckloads of snow and a massive scaffolding will ensure that participants get plenty of air and, unlike back in the day, modern technology allows a soft landing for all, thanks to a giant 10mx15m cushion, “The NZ AirBag.”

This family event will also feature music and plenty to eat and drink. All proceeds from the event will be donated to residents of Hawea in the form of added funding for the expansion of the Hawea Community Center.

The equally legendary “After Burner Party” will follow the Street Style Snow Show and will continue into the wee hours of the morning.