See highlights from the inaugural Junior World Heli Challenge

Comments by Henrik Lampert/

The annual World Heli Challenge draws a select group of skiers and snowboarders to New Zealand, where they compete in a unique helicopter-accessed competition. The event’s mission: To “seek out the athlete that is the best ‘all rounder,’ combining big-mountain, backcountry and freestyle skills.’”

New this year, organizers hosted a Junior World Heli Challenge in the week leading up to the main event—the contest provided a lucky group of youngsters a chance to shred via heli, practice safety in the mountains, and learn some of the ins and outs of launching a pro career. With the junior version all wrapped up, it’s time for the big boys (and girls) to show their stuff. The WHC competition window spans from August 4-17, 2013.

Press Release, August 5, worldhelichallenge.com:

Eight elite level skiers and snowboarders gathered in Wanaka, NZ for a week to remember—the first Junior World Heli Challenge tailored exclusively for 12-16yr olds at the top of their game.

It was a week of learning backcountry smarts, avalanche safety, terrain awareness and a bunch of other handy skills for upcoming pro athletes—like wrangling social media, on-camera interviews and working with sponsors. The highlight of the week was a heli-accessed competition day in the Southern Alps high above Minaret Station where they put their skills and style to the test for the judges and the cameras.

Local skier Finn Bilous (13) took the podium after a solid performance and sticking some challenging landings,  his brother Hank (15) charged into second and Aussie skier Mitch Reeves (14) scoring third. Don’t take our word for it—watch the edit!