World Heli Challenge Flies to Alaska



Valdez, Alaska (20 January 2012) – The World Heli Challenge is going global in April 2012, staging a tour stop in the soaring mountains of Valdez, Alaska. The World Heli Challenge Alaska embraces and revives two legendary Alaskan big mountain competitions - the King of the Hill and the World Extreme Skiing Championships (WESC).

These three iconic, grassroots, big mountain events were at the foundation of the freeriding movement in the 90's and now join forces to host the world's best freeriding skiers and snowboarders for an unparalleled two days of spellbinding helicopter-accessed competition during a ten-day weather window from 14th to 24th April 2012.

Event co-directors Tony Harrington, Karen McCune and Nick Perata are excited at this new chapter in freeriding. "Creating a global tour and bringing our like-minded events together into one premier tour has long been a vision for all of us," said Harrington.  "It's the right time to do it and we have overwhelming support in the community of Valdez to make this event a success."

At the heart of the competition is the combination of big mountain and backcountry freestyle elements. Skiers and snowboarders will showcase their skills and strengths in both disciplines to determine the best all-mountain athlete.  Organisers of King of the Hill and the World Heli Challenge pioneered this combination of disciplines back in 1993 and 1995, respectively, when the events were founded.  They remain core to the events today.

World Heli Challenge Event Director, Tony Harrington, created the New Zealand event in 1995. After a seven-year hiatus it stormed back onto the freeriding calendar in 2009.  The huge response to its return has inspired the exciting step of bringing the global tour linking both hemispheres.  As characterized by ESPN the 'most revered free riding events on earth' are back with the announcement of the Alaskan World Heli Challenge and athletes worldwide are jostling for entries in what will effectively see the rebirth of King of the Hill and WESC, now linked under the World Heli Challenge banner.

Previous winners of the King of the Hill, World Extreme Skiing Championships and the World Heli Challenge read as a who's who of freeriding worldwide: Travis Rice, Antonin Lieutaghi, Steve Klassen, Julie Zell, Matt Goodwill, Gilles Voirol, Axel Pauporte, Karleen Jeffery, Aline Bock, Steve Graham, Ben Bright, Doug Coombs, John Hunt, Brant Moles, Adam Arnaurd, Dean Cummings, Seb Michaud, Guerlain Chicherit, Kent Kreitler, brothers Chris and Ted Davenport, Sam Smoothy, Janina Kuzma, Wendy Fisher, Andrea Binning and Ane Enderud are just some of the world's best who've competed in the events.

"There is something special that happens when you bring together the world's finest snow sports athletes, take them in helicopters to the pick of the most awesome, heart-thumping terrain and let them do their best. It's so much more than a competition. The support and enthusiasm we've had from the freeriding community worldwide has been humbling and that's why we had to bring these events back," explains Harrington. "There are plenty of competitions out there but the World Heli Challenge is about sharing our passion for this incredible sport, being a part of something bigger and making history."

The World Heli Challenge Alaska will include a photographer and filmer shoot-out with a series of short films and photographs documenting all aspects of the ten-day gathering and culminates with a Showcase Awards Evening screening where winners will be announced.

Unique to the World Heli Challenge is an innovative judging format pioneered at the New Zealand event in 2011 in which every athletes' run is filmed and posted online.  An international team of highly qualified judges assess the runs and provide a combined score to compliment those from the on-mountain judges. This format ensures a more accurate and fair assessment than has previously been possible.  A popular voting category is also open to fans, friends and family worldwide who can see all the on-mountain action up close via the website.

The World Heli Challenge will be open for competition entry applications from February 1st via <> .  Places for the Alaskan event will be limited.

To find out more about the World Heli Challenge drop in at <>

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