World Heli Challenge Success – Despite Gnarliest Conditions
The eight days of the 2010 World Heli Challenge have come to an end and, despite extremely challenging weather conditions, this year’s event was a resounding success. The world’s top skiers and snowboarders have promised they’ll be back again in 2011. (Video coming soon).
“No one can control the weather and, all in all, we all know how to make fun out of whatever Mother Nature provides,” said Lib Tech snowboarder, Adam DeVargas (USA).
“Sure it would have been great to ride some epic powder, but it was still a great time, and it was more about riding with the best athletes in the world and experiencing New Zealand than anything else. The vibe at the event and between the athletes was incredible.”
DeVargas said the highlight for him was the rally car session. “It was a great chance to get to know everyone and SO much fun!”
Event founder, Tony Harrington (Harro), said one of the highlights for him this year was that even under the most trying of conditions the athletes maintained positive attitudes.
“We had the most challenging conditions ever and it would have been understandable if the athletes were disappointed. Their reaction goes to show that, if you are amongst the best, you will shine, regardless. This event is the real test of how good you can be.”
With eight days to play and only two on snow, the participants found their off-snow days filled with adventure activities.
Activities ranged from an epic surf adventure on the West Coast (for some the first time on surf boards) to golf, fishing, a rally car session, a tour of Rippon Vineyard, and many got a true taste of life in New Zealand spending a day herding over 900 deer at the Glen Dene Station, they were rewarded for the efforts with a gourmet lunch.
The winning women, Ane Enderud (NOR) and Aline Bock (GER) took time out of their schedule to experience Wanaka from a higher elevation…jumping out of a plane with Sky Dive Lake Wanaka.
Many of the competitors also took time to give back to the community, by way of planting trees and seedlings for Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust, a community-based native plant nursery, which specialises in propagating plants of local origin for the restoration of habitats in the Upper Clutha Basin.
“This event isn’t just about the time on the snow, it’s about showing these extreme athletes everything that New Zealand has on offer,” said Harro.
“It goes without question…this is the one of the most unique, exciting and colourful event experiences of any snow event – and beyond.”
The event, which was relaunched in 2009 after a seven-year break in action, is fast gaining momentum with significantly more competitors this year than last.
“So many people were pushing to get the event back in action that I decided I would do whatever it took to make it happen,” said Harro.
This year Harro was focussed not only on bringing back the World Heli Challenge but also bringing it back to the people of Wanaka and the surrounding area by relaunching the legendary Wanaka Big Air.
On Saturday night, difficult weather conditions were once again in play, but that didn’t stop athletes from coming out to test their skills at the Extstreamtv Street Style Snow Show. The spectator turnout was remarkable given that it was raining heavily throughout the entire event. Best of all, all of the money raised throughout the evening was donated to the Hawea community to help fund the restoration of their community center.
The Extreamtv Street Style Snow Show was followed by the After Burner Party where athletes and their fans were able to let loose, party with new friends and old, and make plans for their return next year.
The World Heli Challenge film production team pulled out all the stops to ensure that the quality of the global TV production matches the dramatic location, the incredible talent of the athletes and the mind blowing action that is the World Heli Challenge. A 2-part TV series will be screened on TV networks globally.
Plans are already underway for the 2011 World Heli Challenge, log on to www.worldhelichallenge.com for more on this year’s event and to make sure you’re up to date on the plans for 2011.