The first annual Burton ‘High Fives’ snowboarding competition, presented by MINI, kicked off yesterday and continued today at Snow Park NZ in Wanaka. Sixty of the world’s top snowboarders, divided into 12 teams of five, spent the last two days participating in Kiwi-influenced team activities that make the new High Fives event so unique. In-between the team challenges, riders were also given a chance to check out Snow Park’s slopestyle course and halfpipe, in preparation for the on-snow portion of the High Fives event where they will compete in the slopestyle and halfpipe finals this Friday 17th and Saturday 18th August.
The intermittent fog of yesterday burned away completely today, providing perfect “bluebird” skies for the team challenges today. The last two days have seen teams starting their mornings with the MINI Countryman Winter Driving Challenge, on a timed snowtrack at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground. Earlier this week, the teams nominated one male and one female driver, whose times were combined for their final rank in this challenge. Then each afternoon the focus shifted down to the infamous Ferguson Lodge where the other six teams competed in knife throwing, skeet shooting, jet boat driving, and ATV off road challenges. Again, the nominated rider had to complete their particular task with the best score/time for an overall ranking. By the end of today each of the 12 teams have completed all of the various challenges and will move onto the snowboarding part of the competition tomorrow.
Standouts in the MINI Countryman Winter Driving Challenge were drivers from the ‘Low Five’ team, Roger Cleivdal and Kaitlyn Farrington. Kaitlyn had the MINI Countryman sliding sideways atevery cone for one of the best women’s times, while team-mate Roger’s time also happened to be one of the men’s fastest, putting them clearly in the lead. ‘Dream Team’ driver Seb Toutant had the best men’s time, which combined with Sarka Pankochova’s conservative but faultless run placed them in second. A fraction of a second behind them for third place was Germund Braaten and Rebecca Sinclair of the ‘Ka Pai’ Team. Placing well in the MINI Countryman Winter Driving Challenge was crucial, with these top three teams not only earning good Team Challenge points, but also the added advantage of being able to select start positions for two riders in the upcoming halfpipe and slopestyle events.
Meanwhile, at the Ferguson Lodge, Taku Hiraoka of the ‘Bench Warmers’ Team, clocked the fastest time in the ATV Off Road Challenge – despite never having driven a vehicle before in his life! Just a tenth of a second behind Taku was Mark McMorris of Team ‘I-Can’, followed by Aleksander Ostreng of Team ‘BUFU’ in third place. Another standout at Ferguson Lodge was Scotty Lago of the ‘Low Five’ team, who killed it in the shooting and throwing challenges. Scotty got a perfect 8 out of 8 in the Skeet Shooting, a perfect 10 out of 10 in the 22 Target Shooting, a near perfect 50 out of 60 in the Archery, and a perfect 100 out of 100 in the Knife Throwing! To round out the challenges at Ferguson Lodge was the Jet Boat trials with the fastest time going to local Kiwi rider, Stef Zeestraten, of the ‘Bench Warmers’. Full results of all the challenges can be found on www.opensnowboarding.com.
The Burton High Fives transitions back into a more traditional snowboarding event tomorrow with Slopestyle Finals, followed by the Halfpipe Finals on Saturday – be sure to check the live webcast both days on www.opensnowboarding.com starting at 10:15am each day. In celebration of the last two days of this great event, Burton will host a killer live entertainment line-up for Friday and Saturday, as listed below.
Burton High Fives Entertainment Schedule:
August 17: Party at Opium Bar, featuring CSHE and DJ DANNY
August 18: High Fives Sunset Sessions at Snow Park NZ (3-6pm), featuring DUDSTOWN SOUNDSYSTEM
August 18 (evening): High Fives Closing Party at Opium Bar featuring DUDSTOWN SOUNDSYSTEM
Press are welcome to download footage from the Burton High Fives here:
High Fives VNR:
Full event information, including the Burton High Fives format and schedule can be found via www.opensnowboarding.com
About Burton High Fives
The Burton High Fives, presented by MINI is an invite-only global snowboarding competition that combines traditional halfpipe and slopestyle events with off-snow teamchallenges to create a fun summertime snowboarding event in New Zealand. The Jam format of the snow events, combined with team challenges that are distinctly Kiwi in flavor, brings 60 top riders together to Snow Park NZ for a truly unique four-day event. Taking the place of the former New Zealand Open, the 2012 Burton High Fives is the first event in the Burton Global Event Series and is a 5star event on the TTR World Tour. Thanks to our High Fives sponsors including MINI, Nokia and Red Bull. For more information, head to www.opensnowboarding.com
MINI is involved in action sports around the world through cooperation’s and sponsoring activities. As a partner of trend-conscious sports, MINI supports young andcreative sportspeople and, in so doing, promotes the development of their sport. MINI has been the official presenting partner for the Burton Global Event Series since 2011. For more information, visit www.MINIspace.com
Nokia is a global leader in mobile communications whose products have become an integral part of the lives of people around the world. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people use their Nokia to capture and share experiences, access information, find their way or simply to speak to one another. Nokia's technological and design innovations have made its brand one of the most recognized in the world. For more information, visit www.nokia.com/global/
About TTR Pro Snowboarding
TTR Pro Snowboarding is a new breed of sports governing body made up of a professional network of events, athletes, nations and industry partners. TTR has been built upon the sport's core values and unique culture with the goal of making snowboarding the most recognizedprogressive sport in the world. The overall objective is to uphold the progression of snowboarding by providing fair and open competition environments, including innovative judging and ranking systems, that allow for athletes to develop from rookies into world-class athletes. A non-profit organization, TTR Pro Snowboarding owns and operates the World Snowboard Tour, the TTR World Ranking System and the World Championships of Snowboarding. At the end of each World Snowboard Tour competitive season, TTR Pro Snowboarding awards World Snowboard Tour Champion titles in each of the following categories: Overall, Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Big Air.
About Snow Park NZ
Snow Park NZ, a boutique mountain resort, has been open for business since 2002 and is situated conveniently between the New Zealand resort towns of Queenstown and Wanaka along the Cardrona Valley. Renowned for its awe inspiring world-class terrain park, Snow Park NZ also presents a wide range of experiences for anyone with a sense of adventure, be it on snow or off. Pay us a visit, enjoy an afternoon with the family, have your first skiing or boarding lesson in ourdedicated learners area or bring a group up for night skiing. All are nicely complimented with the vibrant restaurant and on-snow accommodation facilities. Day or night, Snow Park NZ will captivate you with its unique combination of activities and laid back atmosphere, and will have you coming back for more... Snow Park NZ - www.snowparknz.com