Shaun, into the Kiwi air. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Shaun, into the Kiwi air. PHOTO: Adam Moran

LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (July 15, 2010)

With just four weeks to go, the eighth annual Burton NZ Open, which has become the most prestigious snow sports event in the country, is gearing up to take Wanaka by storm.

The invites are out, and those confirmed to attend so far include defending women’s Slopestyle Champion Jamie Anderson, and women’s defending Halfpipe Champion Kelly Clark, both of the USA.

Other top international riders on their way include Seppe Smits (BEL), Christian Haller (SUI), Marco Grilc (SLO), Norwegians Tore Holvik, Stale Sandbech and Gjermund Braaten; Canadians Charles Reid, Mark Sollors, Mark McMorris and Matts Kulisek; Americans Chas Guldemond, Sage Kotsenburg, Jack Mitrani and Louie Vito; as well as Japanese rippers Kazuhiro Kokubo, Ryo Aono, Daisuke Murakami and Kohei Kudo. Some of the women to confirm include Kjersti Buaas and Lin Haug (NOR), Sina Candrian (SUI), Enni Rukajärvi (FIN), Rana Okada (JPN), and Elizabeth Beerman (USA). Kiwis Stef Zeestraten and Shelly Gotlieb, both strong contenders in the Slopestyle, have also confirmed their attendance.

The field is growing daily, and all will converge on Cardrona Alpine Resort from 10-14th August to compete for a chunk of the NZ$50,000 prize purse, which is spread equally for both men and women in Slopestyle and Halfpipe. Official training starts on Tuesday August 10th, followed by an opening party at Lonestar Wanaka. Pre-qualifiers and Qualifiers start on Wednesday the 11th. Invited riders are seeded directly to the Semifinal stages, which start on Friday 13th. The event culminates with the Halfpipe Semifinals and Finals on Saturday 14th August.

This event marks the first stop of the Burton Global Open Series for the 2010/2011 season and is also a 5 Star event on the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour. Full event details including a comprehensive gig and party line up will be published soon. All updates will be available via www.opensnowboarding.com.

If you can’t make it to New Zealand, be sure to check out the NZ Open live webcast on GO211.com.