OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – Deemed the most legendary freeriding and freeskiing event on the planet, New Zealand’s World Heli Challenge is set to return this August 9th through the 24th, 2008 after a six-year hiatus. Representing the best of the best, the World Heli Challenge invites seven top-notch snowboard brands and seven world-class ski brands from around the globe, featuring two elite athletes each, to come head to head amidst the many peaks that create New Zealand’s Mt. Cook National Park.
Three days of helicopter-accessed competition will go down over this two-week period, allowing for perfect weather and snow conditions for the Big Mountain, Backcountry Freestyle and Downhill heats to take place. The Big Mountain portion consists of charging down 3000 feet of terrain with a 50-degree slope average over cliffs and couloirs, pushing the athletes beyond their known limits. The Backcountry Freestyle realm allows athletes the ultimate in self-expression, showcasing their best aerial maneuvers utilizing the many natural terrain features available on the way down. And the Downhill is just that … an en masse assault down 3000 feet of vertical – no rules, first one down wins!
But that’s not all! In addition to the competition, the athletes are treated to an onslaught of adrenaline-pumping activities during the surrounding down-days, incorporating jet boating, bungee jumping, golfing, surfing, mountain biking and everything else New Zealand is renowned for in the world of adventure and excitement. This event, like no other, puts the freeride ski and snowboard scene on center stage and shows what it takes in mental, physical and logistical preparation for every athlete involved.
By far the most coveted trophy of any around, the World Heli Challenge Title is awarded to the overall winner of the combined three events, one for ski and one for snowboard, earning that individual tremendous bragging rights and huge international kudos. Past winners have included skiers Chris Davenport, Kent Kreitler, Andrea Binning, Seb Michaud and Guerlain Checerit, and snowboarders Matt Goodwill, Karleen Jeffery, Gilles Voirol, Steve Grahame and David Pujol. New for 2008, there will also be a World Heli Challenge Title awarded to the best overall snowboard brand and ski brand at the end of competition.
Finally, finishing the two weeks off in style, thousands of people will gather in Wanaka to celebrate the “Afterburner Party,” an event in and of itself. Quite simply the world’s most unique and captivatingly exclusive snow event around, the World Heli Challenge is not to be missed! For all details surrounding the World Heli Challenge, go to the official Web site HERE.