The Volkl New Zealand Freeski Open came to a spectacular close at Treble Cone Ski Area today as The North Face Big Mountain Event was able to get underway after being on weather hold since Monday.
New Zealanders Alex Lynden and Janina Kuzma were both crowned champion on the day. The event marks Lynden’s first win at The North Face Big Mountain, while Kuzma, of Wanaka successfully made it a six-peat.
Photo: NZ’s Janina Kuzma showed the judges why she has earned a spot on the Freeride World Tour Credit: Camilla Stoddart
Lynden’s line was extremely technical, he skied the fall-line from top to bottom, linking the most airs in one run. He ended with a score of 8.425 out of 10. Hot on his heels was American B Devine, a Ninthward park skier who as a youth trained in moguls and ski racing, scoring 8.325. He showed progression in the sport, while choosing an easier line he incorporated his park style throughout the run and skied strongly to the finish. Kiwi skier and North Face team rider, Fraser McDougall, secured third with a score of 7.850.
“The eighth time’s a charm,” said Lynden. After eight shots at the podium, Lynden earned his spot at the top today. This is his second win at a Big Mountain competition, the first being at the inaugural Export Extreme Big Mountain competition at his home mountain Ruapehu. Lynden was smiling ear to ear and wanted to make sure that his parents and fiance were recognized for all the support they’ve provided while he’s pursued a career in skiing. He plans to compete at the two remaining qualifying events in pursuit of a spot at the North American Freeride World Tour (FWT) stop. Lynden grew up on the North Island skiing Ruapehu but is no stranger to Treble Cone having instructed here from 2007 to 2009.
Kuzma, a North Face Team Rider, took out the women’s category with a score of 8.65. She skied in her normal strong style, linking a couple of good airs together and skiing aggressively from top to bottom, showing the judges why she’s earned a spot on the FWT.
New Zealand’s Mitchey Greig, also a North Face Team Rider and Skier Cross Olympian, placed second. Her strong skiing background propelling her into her second place position and according to head judge, Dion Newport, “This shows why she should be skiing more big mountain competitions.” A rehabing Lorraine Huber, Austria, took out third.
Establishing itself as the biggest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere and attracting athletes from across the globe, the Volkl NZ Freeski Open has now been officially recognized on the international freeski World Tour alongside the world’s biggest freeski events.
The North Face Big Mountain became a qualifying event for the Freeride World Tour last year and continues this year as a three star event on the tour.
The terrain in the Motatapu Chutes offered riders a huge variety of line choices with some of the steepest and most challenging terrain in the backcountry of Treble Cone ski area.
1. Alex Lynden
2. B Devine
3. Fraser McDougall
1. Janina Kuzma
2. Mitchey Greig