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Winter Games 2015 – Competing in a Winter Wonderland

By Nina Jensen

The countdown is on to the Audi Quattro Winter Games where the world’s top winter athletes come together in New Zealand to battle it out on the slopes.

Every two years the games are a highlight of the southern hemisphere ski season calendar.

This year’s games run from 21 – 30 August 2015 and feature a number of world cup events including cross country, alpine and freeskiing as well as curling and snowboarding.

The slopes of Cardrona and Coronet Peak will provide the terrain for the skiers and snowboarders while Snow Farm, New Zealand’s premier cross country ski area, will host the cross country skiing. Both ski areas are less than an hour from Queenstown and with plenty of early winter snow coating the fields the games are set to be better than ever.

All the mountain sport venues are walking distance from the base buildings and are free for spectators to enjoy.

Find a spot on the banks of Cardrona’s halfpipe and slopestyle course and witness twists and turns you never thought possible.

If it’s fast paced, high energy slalom you are after, then head to Coronet Peak to see top skiers push themselves to the absolute limit.

Kicking off in style

The opening ceremony of this year’s Audi quattro Winter Games NZ 2015 will include a dramatic, spectator-friendly dual slalom contest staged under floodlights and featuring top alpine skiers from around the world.

The exciting race format is part of a gala opening event at Coronet Peak ski field near Queenstown on Friday 21 August. Free to watch, hundreds of spectators, VIPs, athletes and coaches are expected to attend the opening that will also include a pōwhiri (Māori welcome) from the local Ngāi Tahu tribe.

This will be the first time that the opening ceremony has taken place ‘on snow’ at one of the Games’ venues. Hospitality, live music and fireworks will create a party atmosphere to give the games the opening it deserves.

Give it a go

After the aerial acrobatics of the competitors has wowed the crowds, it would be a shame not to test out New Zealand’s best slopes yourself.

Cardrona, Coronet Peak, Treble Cone and The Remarkables will be open to the public for the duration of the games catering to all levels of ability. All four ski areas are close to the ski resort towns of Queenstown and Wanaka, and each has their own charm and terrain.

Whether you are learning to ski or snowboard, an advanced black diamond rider or a snow park aficionado, each resort will have something for you, including necessary gear hire facilities.

For the more adventurous powder seekers, the Southern Lakes area has some of the best heli-skiing in the world with an incredible backdrop of rugged landscapes and natural beauty.

Lawn bowls on Ice

Another hero of the games has to be the Maniototo Curling Centre, the only facility in the southern hemisphere dedicated to the lawn bowls of winter sport.

World-class Canadian and American Mixed Doubles curling teams will compete for the first time at Audi quattro Winter Games 2015 raising the elite competition at Naseby’s Maniototo Curling International rink to a new level.

Expect all sorts of dramas to unfold here as teams sweep and throw their way to victory on the ice.

Off the slopes

For those interested in life beyond the piste, the off-snow Downtown Sessions will keep visitors busy and offer entertainment for all ages.

A jam-packed programme will delivers concerts, films and other sporting events to bring the atmosphere of the games off the mountain.

Queenstown and Wanaka will play host to the games’ villages providing a place for competitors and spectators to unwind.

Queenstown, set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, boasts some of New Zealand’s best restaurants and nightlife making it the perfect place to enjoy New Zealand produce and party.

Famous for its adventure tourism, Queenstown will keep thrill-seekers happy with the likes of the Shotover Jet and the world’s first permanent bungy site at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge.

One hour north of Queenstown, along the famous Crown Range Road, sits Wanaka the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park. On the southern edge of Lake Wanaka, the small township offers top wineries, excellent dining and a wide range of activities set in a village of warm welcoming locals.

The Winter Games is a member of the Instep Sustainable Event Programme which ensures people leave the smallest carbon footprint behind whilst having the largest amount of fun possible.

The 2015 Audi quattro Winter Games offer something for everyone in one of New Zealand’s most remarkable spots.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

August 2015

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