Day one of the World Heli Challenge happened yesterday on the backside of Mt. Albert near Wanaka, New Zealand. Snow conditions and safety were deemed unfavorable for a judged competition. In fact 10-15 minutes after competitors had landed at the top of the venue, a good portion of the face fractured leaving a massive pile of chunky debris. The rest of the face had a 2-3 inch unbreakable ice crust.
So, the day of riding went unjudged. Competitors sessioned a kicker they built for an hour or so, as well as hit some of the natural features on slope even though conditions were far less than ideal. Above, is a video of Kiwi skier Fraser McDougall hitting the jump. A more extensive edit will be available shortly.
Today will be a down day, and a storm is expected to move in soon after. While better snow conditions will be required to safely hold a competition, a day of sunshine is too. The guides were hopeful that there were other areas that didn’t have such poor snow conditions.