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Red-Hot Freeski Talent Shines Through

Red-Hot Freeski Talent Shines Through At Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ

Red-Hot Freeski Talent Shines Through

Early fog meant a slight delay to the start of today’s qualification heats for the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup Halfpipe at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ today, but there was no obscuring the talent on show.

Fellow Canadians Mike Riddle and Justin Dorey won their men’s heats while Angeli Vanlaanen from Team USA took out the only women’s heat. They will be joined in tomorrow’s final by New Zealand freeskiers Lyndon Sheehan, Beau-James Wells and Janina Kuzma who all came through their heats with solid runs.

Lyndon Sheehan will split the Canadian men in tomorrow’s final start list by qualifying second overall. Throwing down a dazzling first run that was awarded 85.60 by the judges, he said he tried something new for his hometown competition.

“I’m pretty stoked! I’ve been trying a switch left 1080 in training over at Breckenridge and this was the first time I put it into a comp run. I was able to go nice and high and my grabs went well. For tomorrow’s final I’ll just focus on laying down a more solid version of this run and hold those grabs for longer,” he said.

In the women’s heat, American Angeli Vanlaanen finished a full three points ahead of Japan’s Ayana Onozuka with Nina Ragettli of Switzerland third with 85.20. The other qualifiers included New Zealand’s Janina Kuzma and US stars, Jamie Crane-Mauzy who finished second in halfpipe on the 2012-13 AFP World Tour, and Devin Logan who won all three freeskiing events at Winter Games NZ 2011 and was making her first competition appearance here after a long-term injury.

Amy Sheehan, Lyndon’s sister who skis for Australia, took the final qualifying place to ensure a double family celebration.

Read the full story here.

TV3 Coverage Starts Tonight

For the first time ever, Winter Games NZ is free-to-air in New Zealand. The opening show of our TV3 highlights package airs tonight at 11pm.

It features the build-up to the Games and highlights from yesterday's official opening ceremony plus cross-country skiing action from Snow Farm and today's freeski qualifying at Cardrona.

Tomorrow (Saturday) and every weekend night during the Games, the show airs earlier at 5.30 before 3News and there are also special features during news bulletins so stay tuned!

Catch the NZ Olympic Winter Team Uniform Launch On Saturday

Head down to the Lotto Village on Earnslaw Park Queenstown NZ tomorrow afternoon and be the first to see the new NZ Olympic Team uniform for Sochi 2014.

Wanaka's Mons Royale is supporting the event where you can also meet the athletes and enjoy apres drinks with Moa Beer while DJ Jay Moore spins the decks.

The event runs from 4-6.30pm, Saturday 17 August. More info here.

Ted Ligety goes extreme!

Olympic gold medallist and multiple world championship winner Ted Ligety took on members of the New Zealand alpine ski racing team at the world’s highest cliff jump, the Shotover Canyon Swing in Queenstown.

Ligety was joined by US Alpine Team mates Robby Kelley, Kieffer Christian, Nolan Kasper, Colby Granstrom and Will Gregorak. While extreme speed and risk is part of the US Ski Team’s daily life a drop from 109 metres and a 200 metre swing was none-the-less a challenge for the athletes.

“It was lots of fun, but it felt pretty sketchy,” said Ligety, laughing after being pushed backwards over the canyon while seated in a garden chair - one of 70+ jumpstyles offered at the Canyon Swing. “I’m used to doing stuff for fun and putting myself at risk, but I am used to being in control...”

Granstrom said the 60m free fall will prepare him for anything. “I don’t think I’ll ever be scared again,” he said.

The athletes took part in some friendly rivalry with Kiwi colleagues Nick Prebble and Willis Feasey ahead of the final countdown to the Sochi Olympic Winter Games in February and the start of the Audi quattro Winter Games' alpine programme which starts on Sunday at Coronet Peak.

ENDS

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