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Treble Cone hosts elite Para-Snowboard World Cup

Treble Cone hosts elite Para-Snowboard World Cup at 2017 Audi quattro Winter Games NZ

The return of para snowboarding to the 2017 Audi quattro Winter Games NZ, with the inclusion of a World Cup Banked Slalom at Treble Cone near Wanaka for the first time, is being hailed by elite New Zealand Paralympian Carl Murphy as a coup for the sport.

Para snowboarding was last held at the 2011 Games but following the closure of Snow Park NZ the sport has been off the calendar.

“In 2011 we ran a World Cup boarder cross and had intended to again in 2013 but when the Snow Park was no longer available we were unable stage it,” says Winter Games NZ Sports Manager Iona Bentley. “It is fantastic that Treble Cone has stepped up to hold the 2017 event and exciting for the Games to be able to spread the sports programme across the major venues in the region.”

Treble Cone General Manager Marketing & Sales Sophie Luther says the Para-Snowboard World Cup is a logical extension of the popular annual Treble Cone Banked Slalom.

“We were looking to build on that event and at the same time were very keen to be involved with Winter Games NZ which is recognised as the premier snow sports event in the Southern Hemisphere. It seemed a perfect fit and by hosting the World Cup we can provide both New Zealand and international para athletes with the chance to train at Treble Cone and compete in a world-class event.”

She says Treble Cone strongly supported top Wanaka based para athlete Carl Murphy and the World Cup Banked Slalom was another important opportunity for him to qualify for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea.

“He is an outstanding local athlete and we are committed to assisting him where possible with his Olympic goals.”

Murphy says that with the growing popularity of snowboarding on the Paralympic schedule “it is awesome to see Winter Games NZ host a World Cup on my doorstep in 2017”.

“For me to be able to race a World Cup at home is very exciting. Lining up against the best para snowboarders with Wanaka in the background will be pretty motivating and I will have a slight advantage by not having to travel long distances to compete. Knowing the Treble Cone terrain so well also has its upside.”

Murphy, who has made a convincing return to international competition after a break from injury, expects a strong field of international riders to attend the Games being only six months out from the 2018 Paralympics.

“The Treble Cone event will be a key qualifier for many riders and also signals the first races of the 2017/2018 season when everyone is looking for a solid start to the season ahead.”

The addition of the Para-Snowboard World Cup Banked Slalom to the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ calendar will provide yet another opportunity to showcase Wanaka and its attractions, according to Lake Wanaka Tourism General Manager James Helmore.

“Treble Cone is recognised as a great skiing and riding mountain with stunning panoramic views over Lake Wanaka and it is great to see it become part of the Winter Games NZ programme. The elite para snowboarding event will bring even more people to the town during the Games putting the spotlight further on Wanaka as a leading international winter destination.”


Carl Murphy in action at the X-Games – Credit : ESPN Eric Lars Bakke

Strong international interest from curling nations
Early entries for the 2017 Winter Games NZ curling competition are signalling widespread international interest, particularly from European countries, with over half the available spots already snapped up.

Winter Games NZ Sports Manager Iona Bentley says there are confirmed entries from defending champion Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Australia.

“We also expect China, South Korea and Japan to accept their entries."

Nations are invited to participate in the Games and the confirmed entries so far are from the “first tier” invitations.

“With only 16 spots in the tournament, the invitation process is gradual,” she says. “It’s the biggest take up of European countries we have had in the Games to date which underlines the calibre of our event internationally.”

Bentley says that with the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea looming teams see Winter Games NZ as an important opportunity for a world-class, quality pre-Olympics competition.

“The 2017 Games will provide an excellent training ground as well as an indication for teams as to
how they are tracking against their competition.”

An Otago University medical school graduate, Sam is the founder and managing director of the recruitment company MedRecruit, which has featured in the Deloitte Fast 50 as the fastest growing service business in the country and won a number of high profile business awards.

Along with other interests Sam and his wife Claire have established the Hazledine Foundation which works with school groups around the country to help young people create “happy nows and compelling futures”. The Foundation has also funded rescue missions in South Sudan to save children from becoming child soldiers, not only putting them into safe houses, but also providing vital education for them.

He is the author of the best-selling business handbook Unfair Fight and Head FirstThe Seven Habits of Highly Successful Doctors.

Sam is a talented sportsman, making his name in freeskiing as the 2003 New Zealand extreme ski and overall freeski champion and in 2006 as winner of the North Island Skier Cross title.

“With my background as a professional skier I understand how an event like Winter Games NZ works. In particular I look at the event from the perspective of the athletes because when it works for them it has a better chance of working for everyone. I am excited about my ongoing involvement with the Games and am committed to their continued success.”

The countdown is on!
Our One Year to Go promo video launching the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ campaign leading up to the 2017 event has had an overwhelming response worldwide.

Winter Games NZ Marketing Manager Mags Helles says the action-packed video featuring stunning photography produced by Kinetic Media focuses on the new dates for the event based in Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby and highlights the different sports involved along with innovative plans for a music festival on the mountains.

“We’ve had a fantastic response to the video from some very excited people who have shared it worldwide. With a passionate introduction from US gold medallist Ted Ligety and action footage of some of the world’s top freeski, snowboarding, alpine, Paralympic, cross country and curling athletes it certainly bodes well for the Games next year which will feature 21 events, including at least six World Cups, as well as being a major qualifier for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.”


Defending champion Canada at 2015 Winter Games NZ –Credit: Getty Images

Sam Hazledine appointed Winter Games NZ Trust Board Deputy Chair

Well known Queenstown personality Sam Hazledine, a former Ernst & Young - Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Sir Peter Blake Leader and elite winter sportsman has been appointed deputy chair of the Winter Games NZ Trust board.

Sam has been a member of the board since early 2015 and is upbeat about his new role as deputy to Sir Eion Edgar.

“I believe in the positive impact Winter Games NZ has on New Zealand athletes, the local community and New Zealand Inc. so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute. We have a great board, a visionary chairman, and an incredible team – from the CEO to the many volunteers who make the Games happen. It is a lot of fun to be part of.”

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