The Obsidian is an epic new mixed Team Challenge event for the Winter Games NZ 2020, set across New Zealand’s Southern Alps. 21 of New Zealand’s best freeski and snowboard athletes pitted against each other in four progressive events over a ten-day weather window between the 10th and 20th of August 2020.
Birk Irving from USA at the FIS Freeski World Cup Halfpipe. Credit - Iain McGregor / Winter Games NZ
Each 9-person team will comprise a mix of 7 elite snow sport athletes and 2 world class videographers. Male and female, ski and snowboard, freeride and park athletes and will be led by a Team Captain.
From Conception to reality the Obsidian has been an athlete focused, sport and content driven event with Olympic medalists, Freeride World Tour winners and film orientated athletes at the top of their game involved throughout the journey.
There will be a thrilling Freeride event in a breath-taking backcountry venue, two progressive Park events (Park Jam and Big Air) to showcase the immense style and skill of New Zealand ski and snowboard talent. These three events will be scored by an expert panel in each of the sporting disciplines, while the fourth will be very different. The Mountain Shred challenge will see all three teams sent to separate ski resorts for a one-day shred where they will build and session a line that can feature natural, man-made or enhanced natural features. The teams will be scored on their style, creativity and sport from their video edit of the day. This is where their embedded videographers will shine.
Finally, to really spice up the sporting action, we have incorporated the Obsidian ‘joker’ card. Each team will receive a Joker card and they will have to nominate which event they play it on. This card gives the team double points for the event they play their Joker card on, so it is up to the team to determine which event they think will be their strongest.
The embedded videographers also have the challenge of capturing the action as it unfolds on and off the mountain from their team’s perspective. This will allow them to bring their creative talents to the fore with the Videographers overall competition, which will form part of the overall event scoring. The final Obsidian Team edits will be premiered in Wanaka and Queenstown at the end of August as community events supporting the local snow industry and our region.
Winter Games NZ CEO Marty Toomey believes the Obsidian will be the envy of the snow sports world and will provide snowsports content that fans have been starved of since the northern hemisphere ski season was brought to an abrupt halt due to COVID-19. Not only will the content be impressive but he is confident it will inspire young New Zealanders to get out and enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of skiing and snowboarding.
Team Captain, six times X-Games medalist and Olympian Jossi Wells is stoked to be involved. “The opportunity we have been dealt during this worldwide pandemic lends itself to really showcasing New Zealand’s diverse talent pool in the field of snowsports. From X-Games, World Cup, Olympic & Freeride World tour podium places to backcountry film stars, Kiwi’s have been pushing the boundaries in all areas of snowsports for a number of years & to have the opportunity to bring all these athletes together for a 10-day event is what I see as a celebration of all that has been accomplished across the board. For me personally I am excited to participate as I feel like an event encompassing these diverse disciplines is suited to my skiing. NZ has come such a long way in the area of snowsports and I’m very much looking forward to celebrating that with all the amazing athletes involved.”