The NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup kicks off this month as freestylers begin their 2007/2008 season on August 31st and September 1st with a Halfpipe contest in Cardrona. New Zealand will be hosting their first World Cup event, as riders from all around the world descend there to fight for the first FIS World Cup points in the Johnny Superpipe.
The World Cup Opener in Cardrona will showcase high class talent such as reigning 2007 title holders Ryoh Aono (JPN) and World Champion Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI). Many well-known snowboarding stars will put on quite a show in the halfpipe of Cardrona. Tor Svensson, the Swedish coach of the Dutch team said that it will be “one of the best competitions ever because so many good riders will be there."
The ladies won’t be put in the shade however, with Gretchen Bleiler (USA) and Kjersti Buaas (NOR) in attendance. Consequtively they took home Silver and Bronze at the 2006 Olympic Games, and will both battle for victory in Cardrona. Big name stars, 2005 Double World Champion Antti Autti (FIN), his former countryman Risto Mattila, Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) and Christophe Schmidt (GER) will drop in the Johnny Superpipe in the men’s competition.
There will be a new Halfpipe World Cup format and therefore only the best three ranked riders of each qualification heat will make it directly to the final. The 4th to 9th ranked of each qualifier have to fight for the last final spots in the semi finals where only the top six men and three ladies proceed. In the finals, twelve men and six ladies will compete in two runs like the years before.
Time schedule Cardrona, New Zealand:
Friday, August 31st, 2007:
Halfpipe Qualification Men at 09:55
Halfpipe Qualification Ladies at 13:25
Saturday, September 1st, 2007:
Halfpipe Semi Finals at 10:00
Halfpipe Finals at 12:00
The Qualification start times will depend on the size of entry list / All local times
Words: Rosalyn Gomersall