Tonight in Queenstown we get to see exactly what both teams have been up to in the daunting terrain surrounding Aoraki Mt Cook and how they’ve managed to distil their adventures into short 5-minute films.
Event director Tony “Harro” Harrington explains, “The World Heli Challenge tests elite level skiers and boarders on intimidating backcountry terrain but in a twist on usual snow events the filming and photography of their craft is a key part of the competition outcome; it’s a freeriding shootout.”
“Top level skiing and snowboarding can be pretty egocentric, but in the World Heli Challenge it’s about a team working together, performing at their best and making a film that brings audiences with them on a journey. Importantly it’s about having a blast up in the mountains – which is why most of us fell in love with skiing and boarding in the first place.”
The two teams in the World Heli Challenge this year are “Team Vacation” from USA/Canada comprising skiers Essex Prescott and Dylan Siggers filmed by Leo Zuckerman, and “Team Mates” with Jake Koia (Queenstown NZ) and Australia’s Ryan Tiene, with Mitchell Ayers filming. The teams each earned a place in the World Heli Challenge by submitting a video entry into the ‘Call Up’ and beat out twelve other hopefuls to get through.
Watch their "Call Up" entries below. Watch all "Call Up"entries HERE.
Both teams have had a dream two weeks enjoying heli-accessed free riding around Mt Cook and an idyllic staging base staying at Lake Ohau Lodge and riding Ohau Snowfield during the event window, now they anxiously wait to see who wins the cash.
There will also be one athlete awarded the “Shane McConkey Award” which recognises progressive riding, passion for the sport and just that extra special ‘something’ the legendary Shane McConkey had in spades that made him such an exciting skier to watch.
The World Heli Challenge crew and fans will gather for the screening of the two final films and to announce the winners tonight (NZ local time).