Lake Wanaka, New Zealand – The 2010 Snowboard and Freestyle Junior World Championships are only days away with opening ceremonies taking place this Friday. The event, scheduled for August 21-31 in New Zealand, will be the first time that snowboarding and freestyle skiing are performing on the same stage in a World Championship event. It will also be the first time slopestyle will be included in a FIS Championship level event.nOver 300 of the world’s elite junior snow sports athletes from some 30 nations will compete. A Parade of Nations through Wanaka town center will launch the Championships at 5:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, followed by a powhiri and official welcome by FIS Council Member Dean Gosper, as well as Championships Patron Juliane Bray, member of the FIS Athletes’ Commission.
The U.S. teams were named in the spring, giving nominated athletes plenty of time to prepare for their Junior Worlds debut. “We are sending an incredibly talented group of athletes to Junior World Championships in New Zealand,” said USSA Snowboarding and Freeride Director, Jeremy Forster. “It’s the first time Junior World Championships will be staged in New Zealand and the first time snowboarding and freestyle will share the same World Championship venues. I know Snow Sports New Zealand will host a world class event.”
“Combining freestyle and snowboard for the first time in a FIS event is a great opportunity to showcase these two sports on one stage,” said Snow Sports New Zealand CEO, Ross Palmer. “It makes sense from a logistics perspective, and with the popularity of the new disciplines, it also makes sense from a cultural perspective.”
The U.S. will be represented by 44 junior athletes in the 10-day event. Cardrona and Snow Park will host nine events between the two ski and snowboard resorts, showcasing the top junior athletes from around the world in snowboarding and freestyle.
In the snowboard division riders will take the stage in halfpipe, snowboardcross, parallel giant slalom and slalom, slopestyle and big air. Headlining the U.S. will be slopestyle extraordinaires Ryan Stassel (Anchorage, Alaska) and Caty O’Connor (Auburn, Calif.), snowboardcross up-and-comer and 2010 Olympian Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, Utah) and halfpipe standout Maddy Schaffrick (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) joined with the rest of the Junior World snowboarding crew.
“Being able to do the first Junior Worlds slopestyle is really exciting,” said Stassel.
“Snow Park’s park is sick and Cardrona’s pipe is fun,” said competitor Mikaela Casey, of Mound, Minn. “New Zealand altogether is exhilarating!”
On the freestyle side, the athletes will be competing in slopestyle, ski cross and halfpipe. Looking to make some noise down under are X Games gold medalist in slopestyle Bobby Brown (Englewood, Colo.), World Cup ski halfpipe regular Walter Wood (Snowmass Village, Colo.) and slopestyle Junior Olympian Jamie Crane-Mauzy (Waterville Valley, N.H.). Kyle Smaine (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.) is a double threat competing in both ski cross and halfpipe, as well as Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.) and Blake Peterson (Park City, Utah) competing in halfpipe and slopestyle.
“Bringing freestyle and snowboarding together at Junior Worlds will be a great opportunity to present the two sports at a world stage as well as show how similar they are,” said Wood. “My goals are to enjoy the experience and to compete at my best level. I’m planning on sticking my run and having a great time doing so!”
Competition kicks off on Saturday with the snowboard slopestlye and ends with the snowboard big air contest on the 31st. Cardona is set to host five events including snowboardcross, snowboard and freestyle halfpipe, ski cross and big air. Snow Park is scheduled to hold four events including snowboard and freestyle slopestyle and parallel giant slalom and slalom.