World Heli Challenge in New Zealand
World Heli Challenge
At the start of the freeride day of the 2013 World Heli Challenge in New Zealand, the crew is briefed by the head guide before heading out in helicopters to 7,053-foot Mount Turner. This year, Will Jackways and Abby Lockhart won the overall snowboard titles and Sam Smoothy and Taylor Rapley won for women.
Time for Liftoff
Competitors celebrate being lifted by helicopter to the venue. Although the contest is usually two days, the second day was canceled due to stormy weather and increased avalanche danger.
From left to right: Colin Boyd, Sam Smoothy and Charlie Timmins spot lines on Mount Turner for the freeride day of the World Heli Challenge.
New Zealand's own Harry Giddings gets a little big mountain action as he launches on the freeride day at the World Heli Challenge.
American snowboarder Ricky Bates pops off a powder pillow on the freeride day at the World Heli Challenge.
Japanese skier Taisuke Kusunoki airs a rock with style on the freeride day at the World Heli Challenge.
Kiwi legend Will Jackways spins above exposure on the freeride day. Jackways won the contest last year and was a top performer this year as well.
Finnish snowboarder Antti Autti airs into his second run on the freeride day. Riders are judged on style and control, number and difficulty of tricks and, perhaps most importantly, overall impression.
Harry Giddings launches a rock on the freeride day.
Smiles All Around
"When we're filming, there are [usually] three of us, at maximum, and so you've really got to push each other and give yourself good drive," says skier Fraser McDougall. "But with 16 [skiers] in the same venue, that drive is just escalated."