World Heli Challenge. Photo: Tony Harrington

World Heli Challenge. Photo: Tony Harrington

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand (7 February 2011) – While still nearly six months away, the wheels are already in full motion in preparation for the ultimate adventure lifestyle event of snow sports, the 2011 World Heli Challenge, with dates set for 27 July to 11 August.

The World Heli Challenge is much more than just another snow sports competition. It brings together people, art, creativity, lifestyle and cultural experiences against the dramatic backdrop of New Zealand’s Lake Wanaka. Marker Voelkl International is once again on board as one of the event’s major sponsors.

“It is a perfect event for our athletes,” said Jean-Claude Pedrolini (Schinka), Volkl Freeski Manager.   “It is not only about skiing and winning it also brings in lifestyle and passion for the sport.”

“The whole story around the event and the media coverage world wide makes this event one of the most interesting events on the planet.  All in all, we think that this format is the future of successful events.”

“With the ongoing support of leading athletes and now by including renowned photographers and cinematographers from around the globe. the World Heli Challenge will step it up in 2011,” said event founder Tony Harrington (Harro).   “It’s a shootout unlike any other.”

“Fifty of the world’s top skiers and snowboarders will battle it out for supremacy on the mountain, while15 of the world’s top photographers and filmers will battle it out for supremacy at the media awards.”

Athletes on the start list this year include two-time World Heli Challenge winner Ted Davenport, Free Ride World Tour Champions Ane Enderud, and Aline Bock, Travis Rice, Quentin Robbins, Ralph Backstrom, Chris Booth, Charlie Timmins, Sam Smoothy, Adrien Courier and a host of internationally respected talent representing the four corners of the globe.

There is currently an open call for athletes interested in participating this year.  Those interested should contact Tony Harrington at harro@harroart.com. The culmination is a black and white Gala Awards night at the Lake Wanaka Centre, in downtown Wanaka.

The basic format remains the same. Take 50 of the world’s leading ski and snowboard athletes to compete in two days of the best snow conditions the Southern Alps of New Zealand have to offer – all accessed by helicopter.

For the remaining two weeks of the event athletes, media and VIP’s are treated to a smorgasbord of the adventure and lifestyle products that make New Zealand renowned as the adventure capital of the world.

“New this year is another world’s first,” said Harro.  “This year, each athlete’s run will be posted online where the judging will take place by a global panel of accredited judges.

Winners will be announced at the gala awards night and the top three runs from each day of competition in skiing and boarding will be shown on the big screen at the awards.

“We have secured the most reputable names in international snow sports to determine the winners, all from the comfort of their home.”

In addition, there will be a “Reader’s Poll” where competitors runs can be viewed online and will be voted by fans, friends and the global snow sports community.

This year’s event also features a photo and film shootout between ten of the world’s most highly regarded snow sports photographers and cinematographers.

Each filmer and photographer will be handpicked for his or her reputation for excellence and creativity – both of which will be tested to the limits by an international audience of critics selected by the World Heli Challenge team.

Media awards will be given in the following categories

The Photography Awards

Best Extreme Day Photo

Best Freestyle Day Photo

Best Landscape Photo

Best Creative Photo

Best Photo of a category created by an event partner

Each of the eight photographers will submit two images per category.  The judges will decide the best image from each category.

The Filming Awards

Most Creative Short Film

Most creative sponsor product placement

A 3 min 30 sec film from each of the seven filmers will be screened. Judges will select the best from each category.

To get an inside perspective on what the World Heli Challenge is all about, log on to http://vimeo.com/18983820