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Top Internationals Confirmed for Free Ski Open NZ

Top Internationals Confirmed for Free Ski Open NZ ‘06

Hot on the heels of their recent success overseas, New Zealand’s free skiers will once again have the opportunity to take on the world’s best, this time on their own turf, when the international Free Ski Open NZ hits Lake Wanaka in 15-25 August 2006.

With top international names confirmed for both the big mountain and park disciplines of the event, the Free Ski Open NZ promises to provide spectators with a stunning showcase of this rapidly growing sport. European Free Ski Champion ‘05 Ted Davenport (USA) will join New Zealand’s own Hamish Acland, Tom Dunbar and Geoff Small (former three times North American champion) in the Motatapu Chutes at Treble Cone in the Volkl Big Mountain event (18 August).

Dunbar who had a break through performance at the second stop of the IFSA World Tour placing 8th and being presented the “Sick Bird Award” said having competitors such as Davenport competing in New Zealand makes for world class competition, which is just what Kiwi skiers are after.

In the park disciplines of the K2 Halfpipe (15 August) and Slopestyle (16 August) at Snow Park, the calibre of athletes is equally impressive. Frenchman, Loic Collomb-Patton returns to defend his crown in both disciplines. Currently ranked number two in the world for halfpipe, and just missing out on a medal slot in the X Games and World Superpipe Championships, Collumb-Patton will be keeping a close eye on rising Kiwi star, Jossi Wells of Wanaka.

Wells who came second only to X-Games champion, Charles Gagnier in last year’s Rail Jam event will be looking to continue his current form after a remarkably successful Northern Hemisphere season that earned him the respect of many of the top pro riders and industry insiders.

What is set to be a trans-Tasman rivalry will be the match up of Jossi Wells and young Australian skier Russ Henshaw, himself taking third in the slopestyle in last year’s Open, His form continued to Europe winning the Verbier Ride and Austrian Open slopestyle events, packing a switch 1080 he will be gunning for more podiums.

In addition to the on-mountain events, the Free Ski Open NZ also features several downtown events including a Ski Movie Extravaganza at Cinema Paradiso (23 August) and Invitational BASE Downtown Rail Jam (25 August).

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