Wanaka, New Zealand (September 17, 2014) The 3rd annual Burton High Fives presented by MINI kicked off on Monday, September 15th as 60 of the world’s top snowboarders descended upon Oxbow Adventures Lodge in Wanaka, New Zealand for off-snow Kiwi activities and a team selection draft party. The good times continued on Tuesday at the MINI Off-Road challenge track in the heart of the Cardrona Valley.
First-up, overlooking the picturesque Clutha River in Central Otago, Oxbow hosted an array of classic outdoor activities only found down under. Riders enjoyed an ample dose of adrenaline at the base of the beautiful Pisa range, including jet sprint boating, knife throwing, heli tours and rides in a custom-built ATV. New for 2014, riders then made their way to the team selection draft party. To determine the teams, local Kiwi riders Rebecca ‘Possum’ Torr, Ben Comber, Christy Prior, Shelly Gotlieb, Stefi Luxton and Carlos Garcia-Knight were pre-selected as team captains and given a salary cap to select their rosters by fantasy draft. The remaining field of riders was auctioned off to the highest bidder in an attempt to assemble the strongest contingent across both the halfpipe and slopestyle disciplines. Once the bidding closed, teams were locked in and all look equally worthy of a shot at the title. The team with the most points at the end of the week will walk away with $70,000 USD, or $7,000 to each rider. To add to the prize purse, first place finishers in both men’s and women’s halfpipe and slopestyle will take home $2,500 USD each. For the full list of teams, head here.
Next up, to give the teams an opportunity to gel and get to know one another better before they put their skills to the test on-hill, Tuesday’s focus was the MINI Off-Road challenge. The teams were pitted against each other in a race to beat the clock. Given a pair of MINI Countryman cooper S All4, and a quick run through of the course, riders were set loose on the muddy track which boasted challenging terrain. Driving precision and team communication was key, and highlights included the blindfold section where drivers were at the whim of their co-pilots instructions as they attempted to navigate their way through the course while avoiding penalties. Another tricky section of the race was the baton relay where riders had to transfer a Burton snowboard from one set of roof racks to the other. MINIs were flying, records were set and at the end of the day, Rebecca Torr’s team stood on top with the fastest time of 15 minutes and 05 seconds.