Lake Wanaka (31 October 2012) -Exciting changes to the World Heli Challenge announced today will see a new Junior World Heli Challenge event and a revised elite format to the World Heli Challenge with limited athlete numbers for 2013.

Event founder and director Tony “Harro” Harrington is excited to launch the Junior World Heli Challenge as part of the competition next year. “For the past couple of years we’ve developed the concept of selected ‘Young Guns’ in the competition so this is a natural progression to involve more junior skiers and boarders,” explains Harrington.

“There is such strong interest coming from young athletes from around the world that we’ve decided to create a tailored event just for them. We’re excited about the opportunity to help these boys and girls develop the skills and awareness about the backcountry that will hopefully see them progress to the World Heli Challenge in years to come. We love their passion and are blown away by how many young people and their families want to be involved.”

The Junior World Heli Challenge will be open to 15 skiers and 15 snowboarders aged between 12 and 16 years. As with the senior event, the standard is high and athletes will be assessed on their skills and experience to be eligible. The Junior World Heli Challenge will take place over one week starting 26th July 2013 and includes one heli-accessed competition day in the backcountry of New Zealand’s Southern Alps surrounding Wanaka. In addition to the competition day a major focus is backcountry tuition and awareness training, snow days and family time at the local ski resorts.
The main event – the World Heli Challenge – is set for some dynamic changes for 2013 with a new restricted line-up limited to just 32 athletes; 12 males and 4 females each skiing and boarding in the competition.

“This is an elite and unique event and by keeping our numbers contained we have better options for accessing new terrain and hidden stashes down the Southern Alps to take the competition to a whole new level,” said Harrington.

“The World Heli Challenge is a gathering, it is an event like no other in the world and we are committed to keeping it contained and preserving its essence. We could easily grow the event but would risk losing its authenticity, the camaraderie and diluting the intensity of the experience for everyone.”

EVENT DATES FOR 2013:

¨ Junior World Heli Challenge: Friday 26th July 2013 (registration night) to the Saturday 3rd August, 2013 (Awards Night)

¨ World Heli Challenge: Sunday 4th August, 2013 (registration day) to the Thursday 22nd August, 2013 (Showcase Awards Night)

Information about the Junior World Heli Challenge will soon be posted at www.worldhelichallenge.com and all of the details on the World Heli Challenge main event, entry fees and registration will also be loaded to the site by February 2013.

Visit www.worldhelichallenge.com to see the videos and photographs from the 2012 Canon Shootout.

For updates and to keep in touch with the World Heli Challenge team please ‘like’ our facebook page www.facebook.com/worldhelichallenge