The Audi quattro Winter Games NZ 2017 opened with a spectacular night time event at Coronet Peak in Queenstown.
Credit: Audi quattro Winter Games

 Queenstown is now in full-on-action mode with the opening of the Audi quattro Winter Games last weekend and the madness, entertainment and heart ache is set to continue until closing on September 10.

In all some 920 athletes are participating in this year’s games with the opening highlight being the Coronet Peak night slalom raced on the shirtfront under lights and featuring top international and Kiwi ski racers.

This is the fifth year of the games with athletes kicking out at Queenstown’s Coronet Peak and following through with events at Cardrona and Treble Cone in Wanaka, the Naseby Curling Centre in Central Otago, Snow Farm NZ and The Remarkables.

To mark the official opening young skiers from the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team skied down Coronet Peak carrying flags representing the 39 countries participating in the Games.

A Maori welcome was followed by a kapa haka performance by Arrowtown school children while a stunning fireworks display closed the ceremony.

The Winter Games NZ are the third largest snow sports event in the world after the Winter Olympics and the X-Games.

US athletes take in Wanaka

Some of the United States athletes took the chance to get off piste and enjoy the spectacular scenery Wanaka is known for.

US Freeski Slopestyle competitors Maggie Voisin, Nick Goepper, Mcrae Williams and snowboarder Lyon Farrell took to the skies with Aspiring Helicopters before having lunch with an incredible view over Lake Wanaka. New Zealand chef Sam Metcalfe treated the US athletes to fresh venison, barbecued to perfection.

“One of the most beautiful spots overlooking Wanaka and the lake, probably one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever seen,” Maggie Voisin said. “We had a fantastic Kiwi lunch, absolutely phenomenal.”

Ridgeline Adventures finished the outing with a four-wheel-drive journey capping off a truly special day.

Chinese and Korean stars take on bungy, luge and ziplines

Two of China’s top women’s snowboarders Liu Jiayu and Cai Xuetong took time out to experience some of the best adventure activities Queenstown has to offer.

The two riders joined snowboarder Lee-jun Kweon and and freeskier Mee Hyun Lee of Korea as they took the famous gondola up to Skyline Queenstown.

The four winter athletes jumped head first, literally, off AJ Hackett Bungy’s ‘The Ledge’. Situated 400 metres above Queenstown, the Ledge enabled the group to put their own twist on bungy Jumping as they all showed off their best flips.

The backdrop of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range was looking particularly spectacular from ZipTrek Ecotours ziplines as the athletes enjoyed some soft adventure after their bungy jump.

Lastly the four Winter Games stars hit the slopes, but there were no skis or snowboards in sight. Together they tackled the famous luge, one of the iconic Queenstown activities.

The purpose built luge carts zoomed down 800 metres of banked corners, tunnels and dippers in what was some great practice for the athletes before they represent their countries at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ.