After being dropped out of helicopters on top of untouched powdery peaks and shredding like no man has ever shredded before, competitors braced themselves for the results of the 2012 World Heli Challenge. Last night, the World Heli Challenge ION Showcase Awards took place in Wanaka, New Zealand where skier Jacqui Edgerly (USA) and Snowboarder Will Jackways (NZ) took center stage as XFKtor Award Winners. For the first time in World Heli Challenge history, skiers and snowboarders competed side-by-side for the top spots to be held by one male and one female. The athletes were able to share their winning runs on screen to a packed house in the Lake Wanaka Centre.
Although, Jacqui did not score the highest, she and Will ultimately took first based on their overall aggressive performance. ”I had no expectations. All I’ve ever wanted to do was go to AK and ski and now my manifestation has become a reality,” says Jacqui.
“Jaqui took the prize to Alaska for her determination and amazing line choice pushing her limits,” said head ski judge Dion Newport. “Showing why she was invited to the WHC by skiing a line on the extreme day that had a lot of exposure and risk. Not landing her run put her back in second position but her amazing show for the camera’s and viewers earned her the XFactor Award.”
After filming all Spring in the Northern Hemisphere season, Will was not sure if he would be able to compete in the Heli Challenge this year. “I’m so glad it all worked out because this is a special event that I love being a part of. This is my third year competing…I took second the first year, third last year and super excited to win tonight,” said Will after winning Overall Male Snowboard Athlete of the Year and the XFKtor Award.
“Will stood out during both days of competition,” said head snowboard judge, Mike Hygemann. “He had an amazing first run in the freestyle day where he showed great control and use of terrain pulling off 360 spins, a tail grab air, a method air and an indy…an excellent run from the kiwi. The extreme day saw him taking a very challenging line which he executed with aggression and style.”
Narrowly missing the top spots were snowboarder Abby Lockhart (NZ), skiers Natalie Segal (Australia) and Markus Eder (Italy). “This is my second year competing and I’m just so stoked to be involved and happy to be amongst such amazing women!” said Abby after winning Overall Women’s Snowboard Athlete of the Year.
Overall Men’s Ski Athlete of the Year, Markus Eder, said, “Amazing feeling. Was here last year and feels so good to be back again. I injured myself in November and this is my first time back in competition since the injury. It’s a really sick competition. I was surprised that the conditions up in the heli terrain were so good, with the rain at lake level I expected that they would be bad but the were perfect.”
In addition to the ski and snowboard competition, was this year’s Cannon Shootout photography awards. Vying to win, seven expert photographers created over 25,000 images, capturing the action and the lifestyle of the event, which will be viewed around the world. Winners from each category were awarded with a $1,000 cash prize in each category, “The Cannon Shot” being awarded to photographer Mark Von Roy. All photos entered in the competition are featured in a gallery on the World Heli Challenge website and can be viewed on the World Heli Challenge facebook page.
The audience was also treated to five mind-blowing five-minute mini documentaries for the Cinematography competition, after their recent partnership with Ion Worldwide. ”Each and every film transported the audience inside the unique experience that is the World Heli Challenge,” said event founder Tony Harrington. The five-minute World Heli Challenge overview and all mini-documentaries will be available to view on the World Heli Challenge Website Friday morning.
This year’s World Heli Challenge Awards proved as another success to go down in the books!