The seventh annual Burton New Zealand Open is officially underway at Cardrona Alpine Resort, after a day of men’s and women’s slopestyle practice and rider registration. The impressive field of global talent is stacked with riders like Torstein Horgmo (NOR), Chas Guldemond (USA), Antti Autti (FIN), Jamie Anderson (USA), Peetu Piironinen (FIN), Cheryl Maas (NED), Janna Meyen (USA), Charles Reid (CAN), Takaharu Nakai (JPN), Dustin Craven (CAN), Chanelle Sladics (USA), Lisa Wiik (NOR), Shelly Gotlieb (NZL), Hana Beaman (USA), Daisuke Murakami (JPN), Tim Humphreys (USA) and Mitchell Brown (NZL) among many more, all of whom registered today.

Mother Nature served up some challenging conditions in the morning, but the skies cleared and made for pleasant, albeit windy afternoon of training. “It wouldn’t be proper to kick off the first day of this season of competition without a bit of winter weather,” said Liam Griffin, Events Director for Burton Snowboards. “Riders were pretty anxious to get some time on the course since most people are just getting their snow legs back after some mellow summer riding. Once people get warmed up, I expect to see some pretty solid riding go down, especially since this looks to be one of the best turnouts of big name riders we’ve ever seen in NZ.”

Competition will get underway tomorrow with men’s slopestyle prequalification and qualification rounds, followed by the women’s slopestyle qualifications. That night, be sure to catch the world premiere of Burton’s new and highly anticipated movie, “The B,” which showcases the riding of some of the world’s best. Thursday, August 13 will see men’s halfpipe prequalification and qualification rounds, followed by women’s halfpipe qualifications. The Gravis Open Sessions will kick off that night with music from Black Sun Empire (NL), State of Mind and Truth at the Lake Wanaka Center.

All eyes will be on the slopestyle course on Friday for men’s and women’s slopestyle semifinals and finals, when 2009 BGOS Champions Chas Guldemond and Jamie Anderson take to the slopes. Men’s and women’s halfpipe semifinal and final competitions will go down on Saturday, August 15 when Olympic medalists Kelly Clark and Danny Kass can be seen riding the 22’ halfpipe, which is the same size pipe that will be featured at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Later that night, Tiki Live with support from DJ Reno, will wrap up the weeks’ festivities.

Burton would like to thank Cardrona Alpine Resort, Go211.com, Speight’s Summit Golden Lager, Juice TV, The Edge FM, Anon Optics, High Cascade Snowboard Camp, Nature Valley, goodbars.co.nz, Joe’s Garage, SolRX, McKenna, Smirnoff Ice Double Black and Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour for their support of the New Zealand Open.

If you can’t make it to New Zealand, watch the semi-finals and finals live on Go211.com, where webcasts and highlights of the competitions will also be available for on-demand viewing once the event is over.