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New Zealand Skiers Excel at US Freeskiing Open

New Zealand Skiers Excel at US Freeskiing Open

Lyndon Sheehan


DENVER, Colorado, USA (February 4, 2008) – The New Zealand Freeski Team achieved their best ever overseas result during the recent US Freeskiing Open, at Copper Mountain.

Jossi Wells consolidated his prominent position on the world freeski competition circuit taking second place in the Big Air competition at the event. This follows Wells’ greatest achievement last week of becoming the first New Zealander to win a medal at the Winter X Games, the world’s biggest freeski event.

Up against an invitation-only field of 33 top international skiers, Wells took out silver in the Big Air competition completing a flawless mute grab in his final run. It was a closely fought contest with the winner determined by knockout. American Colby West who gained the biggest air of the night with a Switch 1080 Stomp won the Big Air championship title.

Team members Lyndon Sheehan and Byron Wells impressed the judges and crowds during the men’s halfpipe of the competition, both earning spots in the final.

Sheehan, standing in second place, needed to include a more technical trick to hold his position and attempted to pull-off a '1260' (3 and a half rotations). The first two tricks of the final run were perfectly executed, after a smooth launch 20 feet in to the air for the 1260 he unfortunately landed on the deck of the halfpipe, achieving 6th position on the final leader board.

Byron Wells (15), brother to Jossi and youngest competitor in the finals’ field achieved his goal to make the finals this season gained a well-deserved placing of tenth in the halfpipe competition, the title went to AJ Kempainen from Finland.

Stu Waddel, Acting CEO, Snow Sports New Zealand said the recent results were well deserved by the team, “They have been performing consistently well on the world freeski stage and the excellent results represent their hard work, determination and talent,” he said.

The US Freeskiing Open ranks as one of the toughest on the Freeski calendar, it is an open event with over 300 athletes competing in the disciplines of Slopestyle and Halfpipe.

All the athletes train under the Winter Performance Programme.


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