Winter Wonderland for World’s Best In-Training

“Every August, the world’s best snowboarders come to work on big-air and physics-defying tricks in this tiny town hidden by mountains and surrounded by sheep,” New York Times reporter Joe Drapes writes. “The athletes flock here for one reason: Wanaka has the only Olympic-size halfpipe open anywhere in the world at that time of year.”

“That means, especially heading into an Olympic year, Wanaka becomes a ground zero of aerial somersaults and 360-degree flips that is unlike anything else on the planet.

“In Wanaka, the days are broken up with field trips to settings so stunning they belong in a snow globe. It’s a place for camaraderie, where riders from Norway and Russia, Spain and Japan share a playground in the afternoon and, often, a Speight’s beer at night in the local pubs.

“[Americans Louie] Vito, 25, (pictured) and [Elena] Hight, 24, have been here every August since they were 13 – and recognise New Zealand’s contributions to their sport.

“Beyond the fact that the country offered them a winter wonderland in the dog days of August, they appreciated that a laid-back rebel spirit was intact in a way that had eluded the mountain towns in America.”

Tags: Elena Hight  Louie Vito  New York Times (The)  Wanaka  

NBL’s Hawks Sign Teen Rising Star Max Darling

NBL’s Hawks Sign Teen Rising Star Max Darling

Australian professional basketball team The Hawks has added one of New Zealand’s top young players for the 2020-21 NBL season, signing forward Max Darling to a three-year deal, Olgun Uluc reports…