Winter Games ‘most diverse’
This year’s Winter Games will change dates and introduce new events - all to improve the programme, chief executive Arthur Klap says.
Winter Olympic, Paralympic and X Games stars from 42 countries will participate in the Audi Quattro Winter Games from August 25 in Queenstown and Wanaka.
Klap said the new programme was the most diverse it had ever been.
The North Face Frontier qualifier, Trans-Tasman ice hockey series and para snowboard banked slalom were added to already existing snowboarding, skiing and curling events.
‘‘We were already diverse but this just really adds another dimension to it,’’ Klap said.
The biennial event allows international athletes to qualify and get more points before the Olympic Games.
‘‘It’s a unique event that is unmatched with anything else in the world,’’ he said.
The Winter Games would start on the date they would normally be completed, due to changing patterns in the tourism industry.
When creating his 10-year business plan, Klap didn’t expect the shoulder season in the area to shift to September.
‘‘Initially, the advice we got from the ski fields was the last part of August is a shoulder season. And that’s changed, so we moved with the shoulder season.’’
The snow in September was in perfect condition for the skiers too.
‘‘It is not so much the amount of snow, it’s the quality of snow from the competitor’s point of view,’’ Klap said.
More ski fields in Queenstown and Wanaka had joined the games this year which was fantastic, Klap said.
The Remarkables ski field and Snow Farm would be added to Cardrona Alpine Resort and Coronet Peak, which were the two fields hosting games previously.
Following an agreement Klap signed in April last year, New Zealand will also become a training ground for Chinese skiers and snowboarders.
Winter Games’ international participants inject about $7 million into Central Otago’s economy. Games organisers also spend about $2 million of their budget on businesses in the area.