Superstar snow line-up

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Some of snow sports’ big names are lining up for Queenstown and Wanaka competitions this month. 

The NZ Freeski Open starts today in Cardrona while the five-day Burton Open – also at Cardrona – is attracting slopestyle and snowboard megastars from next Tuesday. 

Queenstown’s Parklife Invitational Rail Jam at 6pm tomorrow at Earnslaw Park involves local boarders Nick Hyne and Nick Brown plus skier Matt Soundy (pictured). The 25 contenders go down to 12 for the final at 7.30pm. DJ Matix is providing sounds until after 9pm. 

American slopestyle superstar Bobby Brown – a Winter X Games gold medalist – plans to defend his Freeski Open title. 

Kiwi Byron Wells, Swiss Elias Ambueh and Aussie Russ Henshaw are among competitors. Wanaka’s world champion freeskier Jossi Wells is injured. 

Soundy, among Freeski Open qualifiers today, has competed in it since 2006 and will be happy to make the top ten. 

“My aim going into any competition isn’t really focusing on the placing, just my skiing. I know if I ski my best, then I should get a decent result. I just aim to have a good time,” the 19-year-old Otago University student says. 

The last slopestyle battles are at Cardrona tomorrow. The halfpipe finals start on Saturday. Treble Cone ski-field hosts the big mountain section between August 16 and 21. 

For the Burton NZ Open, top-ranked contender on the Ticket to Ride world snowboard tour Norwegian Gjermund Braaten, defending women’s slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson and halfpipe queen Kelly Clark, both from the USA, are entered. 

The competition starts with a training day next Tuesday and ends Saturday, August 14, with halfpipe finals. 

A $50,000 prize purse is up for grabs.