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Recap Mt Olympus Freeride Open

Wow what a cracker of an event the Mt Olympus Freeride Open was this year!

The competition was put in place by the NZJFT crew to keep the freeride pathway growing and to further develop the freeride scene in NZ. The event was in jepodary of not running this year but organisor Dion Newport put a message out to the riders if they got the magic number of 50 the event would break even and it would be on.

There was a amazing turnout for the grassroots event, with 54 riders from 12 different countries frothing for some special conditions. The safety crew did a brilliant job supplying a great venue with a visual inspection, many riders this was the first visual inspection so it was great learning experiences for all. Not only first for visual inspection it was for many riders the first time sampling the nut cracker rope tows. As always it provided challenges aplenty & great entertainment.

As Mt Olympus is having an epic winter, for many who tackled the hike ascents they were being rewarded with million dollar views of the surrounding mountains & brilliant turns below.

The weather forecast was testing the organisation with rapidly changing forecasts; the call was made for Wednesday, Tuesday was the inspection day. The sun did not come out for inspection so the riders took the most of the conditions and hiked the surrounded areas and enjoyed the creamy turns. Wednesday morning was clear and calm. Once all riders were checked in, the briefing was done at an early start of 7:30am. The crew got into place, competitors had a last 45 minute visual inspection and they started to trickle up the boot pack. Sam Smoothy and Neil Williman were the starters for the day. They were in place for pep talks and support the riders on most people’s first visual inspection competition.

The venue was a brilliant learning venue, very easy to see into the face during the hike and a friendly start zone where you could see all takeoffs and most lines. There was 60cm of fresh snow in the face from the last storm cycles, northern aspects had a slight sun affect on it but she was banger and ready to rumble!

The first category of the day was men’s snowboard, Scott Anfang(USA) came out of the gate hot, with a big air at the stop,clean riding, a small feature at the bootom & slashing the windlips getting himself into 3rd place. In second place was Rhys Iggulden (NZL), this was his first ever event, it was hard to believe. Rhys took a huge air off the top, shredded the face and put down a epic run forcing the judges to deliberate hard to start the event & he earned 2nd place. But then Conrad Niven stole the show, taking the top spot with an extremely aggressive run with a huge line and stomped the biggest air on the boards for the day!

The female snowboarders were next. Christina Bruno from the USA came in 3rd and Genevieve King (NZL) finished 2nd place but no one could come close to Nuria Castan Baron(ESP) who lay down an extremely good run with clean snowboarding and attacking the venue in the great conditions.

The ski women stepped up next, Carmen Geyr (ITA) took the 3rd place spot on the podium, Elise Boeuf (FRA) showed her skills with some great features taking 2nd but Jessica Hotter (NZL) took the title with a fast and aggressive run, she stomped most of her landings but did a classic kiwi move of punch frontflipping her last air. Even with this mistake she landed herself on the top of the podium taking home a pair of Volkl Aura.

The final category was the Men Skiers. There were so many banging runs but the MFC crew dominated the podium with all spots filled by crew members. Last year’s winner Jamesa Hampton (NZL) sneaked onto the podium again in 3rd place, Ben Hume (NZL) came out hot and slayed a line taking out 2nd place. Hank “the tank” Bilous (NZL) carried on his roll from winning the North Face Frontier and took the title with a HUGE line choice and super clean run making the judges stand out of their seats screaming at his run!

The competition went down with no major injuries and smiles all round, the event started at 9:15am which was 15 minutes early, 54 riders dropped and the event was wrapped up at 10:45am! Not sure if that is a record with only 1 panel judging but being done before lunch made for a early prize giving and the dress up box came out early along with afternoon hot tub sessions.

Prize giving was held in the warm rays of afternoon sun on the deck of the Mount Olympus Lodge, with good vibes all round. Moa Brewery supplied 12 magnums of superb pilsner for the podium places and many cans of pale ale for refreshing beverages. Dinner served by the legendary Marcos and before long the lasers and disco ball were fired up to set the scene, cranking until the wee hours of Thursday morning.

The bar was set high in 2016, the Mount Olympus safety crew outdid themselves and has proved to be a fantastic resort for venue options. We were stoked with the love and support for the 2017 edition & we look forward to putting on the event next year bigger and better again!

A massive shout out to Make Ape for supplying 2 snowboards for 1st places in the boarding catergories, Volkl provided 2 pairs of skis for the top place skiers, Mons Royale gave out some beanies and socks for the smelly 2nd & 3rd places. Moa Brewery supplied refreshments for all the crew and riders.

It was a huge pleasure to run the Mt Olympus Freeride Open and an eye opening experience to see such a range of riders wanting to attend this event and grow the sport of freeriding.