Wanaka’s snow darlings hope for dream result in World Heli Challenge

Local athletes Will Jackways and Abby Lockhart will have their fingers crossed when the awards are announced at the iON Showcase Awards for the World Heli Challenge this Thursday night.

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Image courtesy of Treble Cone

The recently engaged couple won the event last year and are hoping one day will be enough to repeat their success following the cancellation of the second scheduled day. Both of them stomped their runs on the Freestyle Day, and though they were disappointed the Freeride Day could not be held due to increasing avalanche risk, they fully supported the organisers’ decision to cancel the second day for safety reasons.

The community is invited to enjoy a taste of what the adventure lifestyle and freeride event is all about at the ceremony at Lake Wanaka Centre tomorrow evening.

“It’s a real celebration of the event, the athletes, the filmers, the photographers and all the great people in this community who make the World Heli Challenge possible,” said Tony “Harro” Harrington, event director. “This year has certainly had it’s challenges with weather and it’s been tough but I am stoked to see what the athletes were able to do up at Mt Turner last week and that the Canon Shootout competitors have captured it all so powerfully.”

The night is a sparkling presentation of short films and photography created during the World Heli Challenge between 4 – 17th August in and around Wanaka and culminates with the presentation of the winning freeride athletes across men and women in ski and snowboard.  The Canon Shootout competition sees five filmers and five photographers compete across a wide range of categories creating images and documentaries that focus on the ski and snowboard action as well as the World Heli Challenge lifestyle and surrounding Lake Wanaka environment.

The World Heli Challenge is a two-week event for elite freeriding skiers and snowboarders from around the globe.  Internationally renowned athletes have been gathering in Wanaka for this special heli-accessed big mountain competition since Harro and some friends first dreamed the idea up back in 1995.

“This year the conditions stopped us holding the second Extreme Day of the competition which was disappointing but we simply couldn’t take the risk in light of the snow stability and weather conditions.  I am delighted we got the Freestyle Day off so well and Mt Turner was an exciting venue for the athletes to really put on a show.”

A new award will be announced on Thursday night to recognise athletes for progression in the sport and for embracing the freedom, passion and spirit of fun that is central to the World Heli Challenge. Harro explains, “We couldn’t think of a more appropriate symbolism for this award than to name it after the legendary and inspirational Shane McConkey.  Shane came down to Wanaka back when the World Heli Challenge started to be part of the event and is the man who coined the term ‘freeriding’ which is what we are all about.”

The Shane McConkey Award will be presented to the male and female athlete that embody this spirit and who show a spirit of aggression and progression in their style.  The winners of this prestigious new award will enjoy a week heli-skiing/boarding in Alaska at Points North Heli Adventures.

Limited tickets for the iON Showcase Awards and Canon Shootout are $20 at The Board House and Racers Edge.  Any seats remaining will be $25 on the door. See you there!

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