Awe-Inspiring Lines in Wanaka
Day two of the 211 World Heli Challenge, held in the Southern Lakes area, from 27 July through 11 August, saw athletes going “huge with awe-inspiring cliff drops that had the spectators holding their breath until they hopefully landed safely”, The Ski Channel describes. “Several of the lines looked nearly impossible to ski or snowboard, however the athletes showed why they are the best of the best.” Highlights of the day included exceptional runs by American skier Ben Schmitt and Wanaka local Fraser McDougall. “Fraser had one of the most ripping runs ever in the heli challenge,” event founder Tony Harrington said. The World Heli Challenge is drastically underestimated in its host country Harrington told the Otago Daily Times. “This is one of the biggest free ski and freeride events in the world, period,” Harrington said. “And it’s more famous around the world than it is here in New Zealand.” Harrington, an international snow and surf photographer based primarily in Australia, established the annual World Heli Challenge in Wanaka in 1995. “It’s one of the most exotic heli-skiing destinations in the world, bar none,” he said.