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Extreme Skiers Take on Treble Cone Chutes

Extreme Skiers Take on Treble Cone Chutes

TREBLE CONE, Lake Wanaka (August 22, 2007) – The steep Motatapu Chutes at Treble Cone tested the nerve and skill of top extreme skiers from around the world in the semi-finals of the Icebreaker Big Mountain on day two of the Volkl New Zealand Free Ski Open.

Clear skies and crisp cold conditions saw a field of 25 men and seven women using the terrain’s natural features to impress judges and earn a coveted place in the heli-accessed finals. Many made the most extreme lines look easy, dropping cliffs of up to 30 feet and using the natural kickers to boost high into the air, getting upside down with spins and grabs.

New Zealand’s Sam Smoothy who led the men’s field for the second day running said, while conditions were trying, his confidence in his choice of lines had paid off.

“My main challenge was finding a balance between pushing enough to maintain my lead but not so far as too lose control and crash,” he said. “It was quite hard to maintain control as the conditions were certainly tricky and there was one cliff where I got a bit more air than I was expecting and the landing was hard.”

He went on to say the Volkl Free Ski Open, as well as providing a platform for high level international competition, also promoted the growth of the sport.

“It’s great to see a lot of the younger guys moving up the ranks, really pushing each other to do better,” he said. “The venues, like TC and Snow Park, are fun and everyone has a really good time while still achieving their goals.”

Head judge, Dion Newport, said it was great to hold the event in such a spectacular venue and the calibre of riding was definitely up on last year, especially in the women’s field.

“Janina Kuzman skied solidly and aggressively for the conditions and would have given some of the men a run for their money,” he said. “Kate McDougall really stepped up and joined her younger brother, Fraser, in the finals and Jacobina Home, while she wasn’t as solid as she was in yesterday’s qualifiers, skied smartly to ensure a place in the finals.”

The full list of finalists in order is as follows:

Mens: Sam Smoothy (NZE), Alistair Eason (NZE), Fraser McDougall (NZE), Devin Carrick (USA), Charlie Lyons (NZE), Alex Lynden (NZE), John Mason (USA), Jurie des Camiers Thibault (FRA)
Womens: Janina Kuzma (AUS), Jacobina Home (SCO), Kate McDougall (NZE), Jo Guest (SCO).

The heli-accessed Big Mountain finals are scheduled to take place on Friday, August 24. The exact location will be confirmed after a recce tomorrow (Thursday) to ascertain which of the selected locations have the most stable snow conditions. The judging of these finals will take place from film footage on the big screen at BaseCamp Wanaka live in front of spectators on Wednesday, August 29 at 7.00pm.

The Volkl New Zealand Free Ski Open continues with downtown action at the BASE Rail Jam on Friday, August 24. The competition moves to Snow Park NZ for the New Zealand Community Trust Halfpipe on August 28 and the Red Bull Slopestyle on August 29. For further information visit


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