Winter Games NZ Hosts First Ever International Obsidian Challenge
The 2023 Winter Games NZ will host the inaugural International Obsidian Challenge on 9 - 13 September. Obsidian is a unique event format that is athlete driven and focussed on showcasing the world’s best athletes competing across multiple disciplines.
A format like no other, Obsidian will see invited teams made up of the best freeski and snowboard athletes representing Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania, battle it out across custom built terrain park venues at Cardrona Alpine Resort and epic freeride terrain in the mountains around Wānaka in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Winter Games NZ has announced an exceptional team representing Oceania at the inaugural International Obsidian, with Olympic, X Games and World Cup medallists on the roster. Team Oceania will be a strong contender for Obsidian’s Edgar Challenge Trophy.
Included in the talented team is New Zealand's Nico Porteous, Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic gold medallist competing alongside Australia’s Valentino Guseli, who in 2023 became the first snowboarder from any nation to secure World Cup podiums in all three Park and Pipe disciplines in a single season, and in the process securing the overall Crystal Globe.
Porteous is looking forward to competing in Obsidian, explaining; “Obsidian is a unique event, in that it’s not sanctioned, it's not a part of the World Cup circuit. It’s an alternative event that is crafted both for creative and competitive skiers and snowboarders that thrive in all aspects of freeskiing. It’s going to be awesome to showcase the playground that we have in Wānaka on the backcountry freeride day, the Park Jam and the Big Air - we are going to get the best of everything the area has to offer”.
Kiwi free skier Ruby Star Andrews will also be donning the Team Oceania bib. Andrews has had a breakout year, claiming her first World Cup podium in January this year and can’t wait to compete in Obsidian.
“I’m really looking forward to Obsidian this year, it’s going to be such a different style of competition with the teams instead of individuals. I think it’s going to create a really competitive environment which will make for some exciting viewing. Look out for Team Oceania!” said Andrews.
The talented athletes who make up Team Oceania are:
· Ruby Star Andrews (Freeskier, NZ)
· Daisy Thomas (Freeskier, Australia)
· Nico Porteous (Freeskier, NZ)
· Finn Bilous (Freeskier, NZ)
· Cool Wakushima (Snowboarder, NZ)
· Jess McGregor (Snowboarder, Australia)
· Tiarn Collins (Snowboarder, NZ)
· Valentino Guseli (Snowboarder, Australia)
Marty Toomey, Winter Games NZ CEO said “Our aim is for Obsidian to be a “must-do” event on the calendar for the world's best skiers and snowboarders. Team events are rare in snow sports and our creative challenges make Obsidian a fun event for athletes to compete in and for fans to watch."
Obsidian will be held within a five day weather window from the 9th - 13th of September. The first two events, the Big Air and the Park Jam, will be held at Cardrona Alpine Resort on the 9th and10th of September respectively, while the final challenge, a heli-accessed backcountry freestyle event, will be held in the mountain ranges surrounding Wānaka on the 12th or 13th of September.
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