Big Mountain Heli Comp NZ


A revolutionary new format for the Volkl Free Ski Open’s Icebreaker Big Mountain finals will make the event more accessible to spectators than ever before. Previously the sole domain of competitors, judges and safety crew due to its extreme nature, this year the public can be right in the middle of the big mountain action.


Each run of the heli-accessed finals, deep in Wanaka’s backcountry, will be filmed by helicopter and on-snow cameramen. This footage will then be flown back under lock and key to event headquarters at BaseCamp Wanaka to be shown on a giant screen. The judges, the audience and the competitors will see all the action for the first time, simultaneously. The runs will then be judged from the big screen footage in front of the live audience.


“This is a really dynamic new approach to big mountain competition,” said event organiser, Arthur Klap. “The lines these athletes take are insane, as are the massive cliff drops and tricks they pull while tackling terrain most people wouldn’t even consider skiable. To see this level of skiing on the big screen and be party to the ultimate decision on who’ll win the big prize will certainly make for a night to remember.”


The Icebreaker Big Mountain finals are scheduled to take place on the first fine day between August 23 and 27 on some of Wanaka’s most challenging backcountry terrain using helicopters and guides funded by the Caversham Foundation. The judging and results will be announced at BaseCamp Wanaka on Tuesday 27 August from 6pm, admittance free.


The biggest event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Volkl New Zealand Free Ski Open attracts top athletes from around the world. The action takes place in the park and giant superpipe of Snow Park NZ as well as some of the steepest and most challenging terrain in the Southern Lakes.


The Icebreaker Big Mountain Qualifiers kick off at The Remarkables on 21 August followed by the semi-finals at Treble Cone on 22 August. The heli-accessed finals will take place in the Harris Mountains. After some downtown action with the BASE Rail Jam on Saturday 25 August, the competition moves to Snow Park NZ for the halfpipe on 28 August and the Slopestyle on 29 August. For further information visit


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