Freeski Open in count down mode

The Southern Hemisphere's biggest freeski event is in count down mode in Wanaka.

The Freeski Open includes slopestyle, halfpipe and big mountain competitions and will attract the world's best exponents of the disciplines.

In its ninth year, the open will feature halfpipe and slopestyle competitions at Cardrona, with the Remarkables and Treble Cone to host the big mountain events.

Organisers have scaled back elements of the competition, in part due to financial belt-tightening. All events are capped at 80 men and 40 women, on a first-in basis.

The overall purse has been reduced, the freeski open is now bronze rather than gold status for the halfpipe and slopestyle, while the big mountain will be a three-star Freeride world qualifying event, not four-star as originally intended.

The event runs from August 29 to September 7, and will follow the Winter Games, based around Wanaka and Queenstown, the expectation being that athletes competing at the Games will stay on for the open with an eye on preparing for the Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia early next year.

- NZ Herald

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