World Heli Challenge Kicks Off in NZ



Lake Wanaka, NZ (24 July 2011) – The 2011 World Heli Challenge kicked off today with a media launch at Lake Wanaka where athletes, event organisers, media and the general public gathered to watch two of Aspiring Helicopters birds fly across the lake and land on the foreshore just opposite Pembroke Park.

Kids took the opportunity to mingle with some of their idols including Chris Booth (Australia), Ben Schmitt (USA), Iris Lazzareschi (USA), Rachel Sheidow (Australia), Tori Beattie (Australia) and Will Bromelski (USA) and Young Guns Lyon Farrell (NZ/USA) and Hank Bilous (NZ).  They all left with autographed World Heli Challenge posters.

Almost as if planned, skies clouded over just as the event started with a light snow falling, which prevented the planned helicopter flight up to the top of Mt. Roy.  "No problem," said event founder Tony Harrington.  "Snow is a good thing."

Everyone else agreed that snow was appropriate for this event.

"This is just the beginning of what promises to be a spectacular two week event," said Harrington.  "With snow in the forecast early next week, we should have two amazing ski days."

Next on the World Heli Challenge calendar is the SOS Launch Party which will be held tomorrow evening at Snow Park and includes night riding with the World Heli Challenge athletes, live acoustic music in the Woolshed, a silent auction and film footage from Warren Miller's Intervention and highlight footage from past World Heli Challenge events. Public is welcome to attend this event with $10 from every ticket going to SOS Outreach.

About the World Heli Challenge

The World Heli Challenge is a cross breed of intense world-class competition coupled with the adventure lifestyle that New Zealand is so famous for.

The event is held over a two-week period allowing for the best weather and snow conditions on the two fly days. The two competition days include a Big Mountain competition which tests the skills of athletes riding down steep, gnarly runs of the highest mountain peaks in over 5,000 square kilometres of the Southern Lakes Heli skiing terrain and a Freestyle Day, held in Mother Nature's own terrain park. Points from the two competition days are added together to find out just who is the best all-round skier and snowboarder..

The remaining 12 days of the event days are equally as action packed with adventure and lifestyle activities.   Athletes can be found skydiving, white water rafting, surfing the West Coast (this year with former ASP World Championship Tour Surfing Champion, Mark "Occy" Occhilupo, who will be joining the event as a TV host).  They will also be treated to some down home kiwi fun mustering on the Glen Dene station, fishing, and spending a night at the Dingleburn station.

When the crew decide to ease off on the adrenaline, you'll find them sitting back at one of the myriad of cafes around Lake Wanaka sipping on lattes, soaking in the views and reflecting on the array of lifestyle activities that they've been enjoying. The athletes will also learn about conservation with Lake Wanaka Eco Adventures and head out to sample some of the fine local vintage at the Rippon Vineyard.

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