RIP the NZ Open...
Welcome, the Frontier!
This year the NZ Open became the Frontier, and with it a shiny new FWQ FOUR STAR rating!
That's a really big deal for a little country at the bottom of world, and it presents an amazing opportunity for Kiwi skiers to get the ball rolling in their efforts to qualify for the Freeride World Tour.
It's pretty hard trying to roll that ball uphill, into the wind, with no shoes from the bottom of the world to the top, so we'll take all the help we can get!
I think it is a cool move forward and FRONTIER is a pretty badass name. Although if I'm honest, I'm still a little sad to see the NZ Freeski Open lose its name. No I'm not crying, my sentimental glands are just flaring up...
The NZ Open is the event that stoked me out on freeride and helped me set my goals as a younger skier. It's history is rich with the names of the maddest mad dogs in NZ skiing and I have wanted to stand on top of the podium since my first time competing as a 17 year old.
This year it finally worked out! I nailed a fast and pretty aggressive line and to my surprise came away with 1st place!
I wasn't expecting the top spot because half way down my run I changed to plan B, I had planned to do a long, weird jump clearing a shelf but I lost my nerve when I was approaching it. So I was feeling a bit disappointed with my lack of balls when I came through the finish line.
The snow conditions in the Alta Chutes at the Remarkables were a bit of everything, from skied out chalk, to old powder; it was classic NZ skiing.
As usual people were shooting for the moon and the whole crew was stoked!
A few new lines were skied In ways I haven't seen before, namely Michael Strauss line which was super creative, even though his last air didn't work out to plan. Charles Murray also impressed with a maaaassive gap.
I am stoked to have been able to share the podium with Konstantin Ottner (2nd), who skied like a boss sending a huge backflip and Andrew Wylie (3rd) whose ski race roots showed clearly in a high speed, edges gripped line with a big last air!
The womens ski podium was all talent as well. Fellow FWT 2017 rookie Elisabeth Gerritzen skied aggressive and clean to take out the top spot, Head rider and Cardrona ski school work mate Laia Castellarnau picked up second place with her usual solid skiing and Jess Hotter took out third while rocking full stoke and an old school pink sweater.
Check out the official comp edit for a insight into how the day went https://www.facebook.com/TheNorthFaceFrontier/videos/1185368164838469/
Cheers for the day team!