The Winter Games NZ opens today, Friday 12 August from 5.30pm in Earnslaw Park in Queenstown. The Opening Ceremony starts with tons of the action in the Parklife Invitational Rail Jam before Hon David Carter, Minister for Economic Development, officially opens the Games at 6.00pm followed by a spectacular aerial display from a 32-strong team of freeskiers and snowboarders. Live music and a crowd of thosuands will all add to the exciting atmosphere as the greatest snow on show gets underway!
100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, will feature 16 days (13-28 August 2011), 38 events, 22 snow and ice sports and is expected to attract over 1,000 elite athletes from throughout the world to the most spectacular setting possible, New Zealand's Southern Alps. The audience reached in 2009 was 765 million, a target Winter Games NZ is aiming to at least equal in 2011 and also improve on in terms of where the television product is shown with more prime time slots.
The 2011 provisional programme has expanded with the inclusion of two new sports and a new location outside of the Otago region. Mt Hutt near Christchurch, Canterbury will now host the Super G and Adaptive Super G alpine skiing events while the remaining Alpine Skiing events will stay at Coronet Peak in Queenstown.
Dunedin will again be the ice sports centre and will see an increase in events with the inclusion of Speed Skating in the ice programme. In addition, the Ice Hockey tournament will feature four international teams in a round robin play-off while figure skating will open the Games on 13 August 2011. The ice programme is rounded out by the Curling programme in Naseby, Maniototo which has been extended to include mixed pairs.
Another new addition is Winter Triathlon at Snow Farm, near Wanaka which was a demonstration event at the 2009 Winter Games. Snow Farm will also host the Adaptive and Able-bodied Cross-country.
Cardrona Alpine Resort near Lake Wanaka will host the Freeski and Snowboard Halfpipe and Big Air events together with the snowboard cross and ski cross racing. Freeski and Snowboard Slopestyle will take place cross the valley at Snow Park NZ.