Normally at this time of year, while the Northern Hemisphere swelters in the summer heat, the Winter Games NZ would be firing up its gears. The biggest snow sports event on the south side of the planet, the Winter Games traditionally welcomes an international field of athletes for the start of the FIS World Cup slopestyle and halfpipe season, as well as several high-level freeride events.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into those gears. With New Zealand closed to international travel, most of the headline events of the Winter Games have been cancelled this year. But instead of calling it quits for, the organization has come up with an exciting alternative event called Obsidian, which kicks off this week.
Obsidian is a team event featuring some of New Zealand’s top ski and snowboard talent. Team captains Jossi Wells, Janina Kuzma and Sam Smoothy have hand-picked squads of seven athletes and two videographers each. Their task: to battle it out in five different challenges throughout the Southern Alps from the 10th until the 20th of August.
The challenges that the teams face include Freeride, Park Jam, Big Air, Mountain Shred and an overall edit category, combining on-hill judging with video-oriented formats. The result promises to be an throwdown for the ages, as these talented riders make the most of their home turf, free of any foreign interference.
NZ freeski patriarch Jossi Wells has selected a crack team for his Obsidian debut. Freeride World Tour star Craig Murray and halfpipe phenom Nico Porteous front the roster, backed up by Margaux Hackett, Claire McGregor, Carlos Garcia Knight and local snowboard legend Will Jackways. The camerawork will be handled by Wanaka-based Two Bearded Men, and the team has drawn Coronet Peak as their Mountain Shred venue.
Janina Kuzma's Obsidian squad features Finn Bilous, Freeride World Tour sender Blake Marshall, and style zealot Jackson Wells as well as Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Mitchell Davern and JJ Rayward. Jase Hancox Films of Wanaka will take care of the filming, and the crew has drawn the Remarkables as their Mountain Shred venue.
Freeride legend Sam Smoothy has lined up freeride wildcard Hank Bilous, Beau-James Wells and FWT athlete Jess Hotter, as well as snowboarders Christy Prior, Tiarn Collins and Ronan Thompson. Queenstown-based Diaries Downunder are the filmers, and the team will session Treble Cone for the Mountain Shred challenge.
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Where to watch the Obsidian! We will be pumping out heaps of epic content over the next few weeks, so to keep up with the latest news, action, your favourite athletes and teams, plus exclusive behind the scenes frothing. Follow us here!!!! Instagram - Well you are already here but turn on your notifications so you don’t miss a beat! Sky Sport NZ - Our friends at Sky Sports NZ will be showing all our highlight across their social platforms during the event and be broadcasting OBSIDIAN, our four-part Broadcast Shows in September! These will be three x 1/2 hour shows and a cracking hour finale! For those of you overseas we are busy selling these into your country and will let you know which channel and when it will be on as soon as we know. Facebook - All the highlights, news, images and social edits will sit here for you to peruse! YouTube - The Team Videographers edits as well as our own WGNZ Social edits from each event will be here for you to tune into! Website - News and videos will live here as well, just in case you missed it on all of the above!