Lake Wanaka, NZ (6 August 2010) — Once again this year, the Volkl NZ Freeski Open earned its reputation as one of freeskiing's most progressive events as both the men and the women unveiled new tricks and combinations never before seen in competition. Australia's Russ Henshaw captured the men's slopestyle title with clean, back-to-back double corks, the first a left-side double cork 1080 followed by a right-side double cork 12 in a dramatic final at Cardrona Alpine Resort Friday.
"This is the first time in a slopestyle competition that we've seen back-to-back double corks," said Kiwi judge Dion Newport. "The level of riding was higher than at the X Games and just keeps progressing." Henshaw narrowly defeated runner-up Bobby Brown of the US, the defending Volkl Freeski Open slopestyle champion and X Games Gold medallist, even though Brown was the only rider in the competition to throw a switch double misty 1260. Third place went to Gus Kenworthy of Telluride in the US. Kenworthy combined a double cork 1260 and a switch double cork 1080.
On the women's side, the judges were wowed by the performance of Canada's Kim Lamarre, who despite earlier crashes nailed her final run, executing a difficult switch zero spin off the big 75-foot kicker. "We knew Kim was a great skier, but she pulled out an incredibly difficult trick by going off the main kicker switch with no spin and landing it perfectly," said Newport. "She separated herself from the rest of the field today." Lamarre was followed by Australia's Anna Segal in second. Segal's run featured a switch 540, a flare and 720. One of the youngest of the top women riders, Canada's Megan Gunning, placed third.
The top Kiwi on the men's side was Taylor King, who finished 14th. Byron Wells did not progress past the semis but is more focused on his specialty event, the halfpipe, scheduled for Saturday (tomorrow). The top Kiwi women were Mikey Austin, who finished fifth and Kate Hartley, who was sixth. The Volkl NZ Freeski Open halfpipe competition is scheduled to get underway on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Cardrona with the men's qualifications.