Way to top all down­hill

Lo­cal wins in heli chal­lenge

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

Back­coun­try snow­board­ing with friends turned into a $10,000 pay check for Queen­stown rider Jake Koia and his team after they won the World Heli Chal­lenge at Mount Cook last week.

Koia and team­mates Ryan Tiene and Mitchell Ay­ers, both of Aus­tralia, were cho­sen by an in­ter­na­tional panel of judges as de­liv­er­ing the best com­bi­na­tion of tech­ni­cal rid­ing and the strong­est pro­duc­tion in the chal­lenge.

The trio went head-to-head in the com­pe­ti­tion, which in­volved mak­ing a short film about nine days ski­ing and snow­board­ing in ex­treme back­coun­try ter­rain on New Zealand’s high­est moun­tain, against United States and Cana­dian skiers Es­sex Prescott and Dy­lan Sig­gers, and filmer Leo Zuck­er­man.

Koia said it was his sec­ond time in the com­pe­ti­tion and the sec­ond time he had taken on Mount Cook’s ter­rain.

The first time he rode the moun­tain was with top world snow­boarder Travis Wright.

‘‘I strug­gled big time. It was cool to come back and be able to han­dle the moun­tain.’’

‘‘The ter­rain at Mount Cook is just the best feel­ing,’’ he said.

But av­er­age snow con­di­tions meant the team had to get cre­ative with rocks and bumps, he said.

‘‘We had a blast mak­ing our video and we’re hon­estly re­ally proud and stoked its been re­ceived so well.’’

Tiene said the group filmed in a week what would usu­ally be done over four months.

‘‘Our filmer Mitch ab­so­lutely killed it,’’ he said.

Event di­rec­tor Tony Har­ring­ton said both teams fully em­braced the con­cept of the com­pe­ti­tion and took it to another level.

‘‘Not only was the ski­ing and board­ing as­sertive and ex­cit­ing to watch, the cre­ativ­ity of the teams and their filmers was sim­ply in­spi­ra­tional,’’ he said. ◗ See the win­ning edit at world­he­lichal­lenge.com.

Photo: KIT RUN­DLE/ WORLDHELI CHAL­LENGE

Free fall­ing: Queen­stown leg­endary back­coun­try snow­boarder Jake Koia in ac­tion dur­ing the World Heli Chal­lenge at Mount Cook last week.

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