It’s day three of the first annual Burton High Fives, the slopestyle and halfpipe competition in Snow Park New Zealand, and the best in snowboarding are putting out.
Top riders, including two-time X-Games gold medalist Canadian Mark McMorris and American Danny Davis, have been practicing and perfecting their slopestyle and halfpipe airs, grabs and spins over the past two days. It’s the first chance to see who’s showing form for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Burton High Fives kicked off on 15 August with Kiwi-influenced off-snow team challenges. All 60 riders were split into 12 teams of five, each headed by a team captain chosen by the event organiser. Despite yesterday’s initial intermittent fog, all teams remained enthusiastic and sent one male and female driver to take park in the MINI Countryman Winter Driving Challenge.
Team Low Five came in first for this event with Kaitlyn Farrington skillfully sliding the mini sideways at every cone to obtain one of the fastest women’s timing. “Dream Team” came in second and “Ka Pai” team was placed third, though only a fraction of a second slower. All teams earned the added advantage of being able to select their starting position for two riders in the upcoming slopestyle and halfpipe finals.
Meanwhile at the Ferguson Lodge, “Bench Warmers” driver Taku Hiraoka – who claimed he had never driven a vehicle in his life – clocked the fastest time in the ATV Off Road Challenge. Overall best in the shooting and throwing challenges was bronze Olympic medalist Scotty Lago from the “Low Five” team who got a perfect 8 in skeet shooting, perfect 10 in the 22 target shooting, perfect 100 in knife throwing and a near perfect 50 out of 60 in archery.
In between the team activities, riders had the opportunity to test out the slopestyle and halfpipe course to prepare for the finals. There were plenty tricks to go around but of course, the best will be saved for the finals.
The slopestyle finals will go down on 17 Aug at 10.15am (NZ time) and halfpipe finals on 18 Aug at 10.15am (NZ time). If you can’t be there physically, the next best thing is to stream it online. Watch Burton High Fives here.