Winter Games NZ is an elite winter sports competition for all athletes to compete together regardless of whether they are able bodied or have a disability. This is a new concept in high performance competition. In contrast to existing premiere events such as the Winter and Summer Olympics. Winter Games NZ features over 800 of the world's top athletes competing in 9 snow sports: Alpine Skiing (Able body and Adaptive), Cross Country Skiing (Able body and Adaptive), Curling, Figure Skating, Snowboard, Freestyle Ski, Ice Hockey as well as the demonstration sports of Winter Triathlon and Natural Luge (A variation of the more commonly known Olympic luge taking place on an un-banked track with a base of hard-packed snow covered in a layer of ice, enclosed within low wooden walls). The events will take place at Wanaka (Snow Farm and Cardrona), Queenstown (Coronet Peak and The Remarkables), Naseby (Maniototo Ice Rink) and Dunedin (Dunedin Ice Rink) from 22-30 August 2009. The Official Welcome and Opening Ceremony will be held at 1pm on Friday 21 August on the Queenstown waterfront.
Winter Games NZ will provide the opportunity for both able bodied and adaptive competitors to race alongside one another in alpine skiing and cross country events. During the Winter Games NZ there will be special seminars for those working with disabled sports men and women.
The ten-day long Games also include plenty of off-snow activities for spectators and athletes with live music and entertainment in downtown Queenstown and Wanaka.
Winter Games NZ is a charitable trust established by the New Zealand Olympic Committee for the purpose of running the games.
The freeskiing disciplines of this year’s Winter Games NZ is shaping up to be the most prestigious event of its kind ever seen in New Zealand. Along with an invite list that includes many the biggest names in the sport, Winter Games NZ will also act as a qualifier for ESPN Winter X Games as part of the AFP Tour.