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Wells Wins NZ Free Ski Open's Slopestyle Event

August 2006

Wanaka Teenager Jossi Wells Wins NZ Free Ski Open's Slopestyle Event On Home Turf

Jossi Wells

Wanaka teenager and rising ski star Jossi Wells proved he is up there with the world's best after taking first place in the slopestyle event at the NZ Free Ski Open today at Snow Park NZ.

Canadian Kaya Turski, who is also a pro rollerblader, picked up the winning title for the women's slopestyle event.

Wells (16), who is now New Zealand's top freestyle skier, displayed an outstanding performance at today's event, including a switch 720 double nose grab (rotating twice and holding onto the front tips of his skis before landing), a switch 630 (rotating one-and-three-quarter times) before landing successfully on the rail, as well as a switch 1080 (three rotations).

"Everything he did was so smooth and so easy. Jossi's improved so much this year. Last year, he was good, but he didn't quite have the tricks to take out the big guns. But now, he's proved he's one of the world's best," Open head judge Jake McCleary said.

Wells said his winning run was one of the best he'd ever had. "I'm aiming for the world scene, and this definitely a great competition with lots of international riders. Every little step counts."

Turski (18), has been freestyle skiing for a year-and-a-half. Her winning run included a cork 540 mute grab (spinning one-and-a-half times off axis, grabbing the front of one ski with the opposite hand). She also successfully pulled off a switch 900 (rotating two-and-a-half times) and attempted a switch 1080 - a world-first in women's free skiing, but unfortunately her ski came off on landing.

"The standard of competition was unbelievable - we were blown away with today's event. Competitors were all throwing down as hard as they could," McCleary said.

The slopestyle course, designed by Snow Park NZ slopes manager Frank Wells, began with a quarterpipe-style drop-in, down to a custom Snow Park NZ stair feature. Skiers then approached a gap-to-snow box, before moving to a 14m jump, followed by an 18m jump. They completed the course by hitting a flat-down rail and a jump-to-down box, which is the latest craze in free skiing slopestyle and makes for spectacular tricks, such as 900 and 1080 rotations.

The NZ Free Ski Open is the southern hemisphere's largest event of its kind. With park and pipe events now completed, the next stage of the competition the Volkl Big Mountain prelims, which take place at Treble Cone on Friday August 18. The finals will be held at Treble Cone on the first following fine weather day.



1. Kaya Turski (CAN) 2. Tori Beattie (AUST) 3. Anna Segal (AUST)


1. Jossi Wells (NZ) 2. Russ Henshaw (AUST) 3. Alexis Godbout (CAN)


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