Snow Park NZ’s halfpipe became the first in New Zealand to open for the 2007 season today (August 2). The only X Games and Olympic standard halfpipe in the Southern Hemisphere, it has been carved to perfection by renowned world-class pipe shaper Frank Wells in preparation for next week’s Burton New Zealand Open when hundreds of international riders will test out his handiwork.

Terrain park planning guru Frank Wells, whose expertise and reputation has brought some of the world’s best riders to train at Snow Park NZ, has, for the past 10 days, been dedicated to carving the 60-70,000 m3 of snow required for the pipe.

Wells is delighted with its condition, “The snowmakers and groomer drivers have done a sterling job on the halfpipe, there is a good consistency throughout the walls and base, we just need to cross our fingers and hope for clear, cold, sunny days to maintain its form, he said.

Sam Lee, Snow Park NZ manager said the Snow Park halfpipe has grown in stature over the past five years and its quality and consistency has given the terrain park and New Zealand immense international kudos, “Some international teams and riders rate this as one of the best halfpipes in the world, in any season. The real benefit for New Zealand and the Wanaka community is our local and national athletes train beside Olympic and X-Games medallists and this is lifting their standard on the international stage, he said.

The main halfpipe, set to international competition standard, is 160 metres long, 18.2 metres wide and the 5.5m walls are shaped at a 17 degrees pitch. The earthworks for the pipe, moulded four years ago, created the existing frame for the pipe.

With recent limited natural snowfall, eleven snow-making guns have been making snow solely for the halfpipe, for the past two half weeks. The snow carved out of the halfpipe channel will be used to extend the quarterpipe by nearly 4 metre to a height of 10.3metres and 24.3 metres wide, offering riders and skiers the opportunity to gain even bigger air.

Snow Park NZ has a good average snow base of 1.5m. There is currently a range of features set out across the terrain park including over 25 boxes and rails, more than 10 jumps, one being a 50ft kicker and the quarterpipe. For further information and snow reports visit www.snowparknz.com.