The event was rescheduled from Friday to Saturday because of a wild storm on Friday, with the next front due to come in late Saturday. Saturday’s weather started off with a moderate breeze that died down during the men’s qualifiers for perfect jumping conditions.
Jossi’s plan for the Invitational was to run skiers, snowboarders, men and women alongside each other in the ultimate jam session. The day went off exactly as planned with athletes putting down their best in front of hundreds of spectators.
“This event is more about working together collaboratively as athletes to take the sport to the next level in a really cool format, and supporting the young athletes coming through,” says Cardrona’s General Manager Bridget Legnavsky.
“Jossi’s been so adamant about the type of event he wanted to host – it’s more of a jam with your mates than an intense competition so it’s really welcoming to all athletes,” she says.
The day kicked off with the women’s snowboard finals. Canada’s Spencer O’Brien defended her crown from last year, with Austria’s Anna Gasser and Kiwi Natalie Good rounding out the women’s podium.
The two female skiers competed alongside the men’s ski and snowboard finals. Argentina’s Dominique Ohaco took out the top spot with a massive cork 720, and New Zealand’s Margaux Hackett right behind her in second place.
Men’s finals took the top six skiers and snowboarders from qualifiers and gave them three runs to put down their absolute best – the top two runs were combined for a final score.
The snowboard men’s final was a showdown between Sven Thorgren and Japan’s Yuki Kadono. Thorgren walked away with top honours with Kadono in second and Clemens Millauer in third.
Men’s ski was a spectacular affair with a slew of triple corks and incredible style shown by the top six competitors.
Freeskiing legend Bobby Brown walked away with the title, with X Games Gold medallists McRae Williams and Torin Yater-Wallace completing a star-studded podium. Kiwi Finn Bilous narrowly missed the top three, finishing in fourth place.
“Today the jump was perfect and everybody was stoked to take advantage of the sun. I’m just glad to land a couple of tricks and finish my New Zealand trip off on a high!” says Brown.
The attending athletes also got to experience some of the region’s adrenaline activities, including Skyline Luge, Wake Wanaka and Highlands Motorsports Park.
“This week is about Jossi showing his mates his back yard and we’re so proud of that,” says Legnavsky.
“I’m thrilled with how today went,” says Wells. “A heavy field of riders and a bluebird day made the event amazing. The riders really put on a show today and finals were off the hook.”
The full live stream replay presented by Dragon Alliance can be found at cardrona.com/jwiLIVE