Wanaka, New Zealand (September 20, 2014) — The 3rd annual Burton High Fives presented by MINI wrapped up yesterday at Cardrona Alpine Resort with a historic halfpipe finals event. Burton riders Yiwei Zhang (CHN) and Chloe Kim (USA) gave world-class performances through variable weather conditions to finish on top, and walked away with $2,500 USD each.
Over the last week, sixty of the world’s top riders have experienced a non-traditional snowboarding event like no other in New Zealand, competing in world-class snowboarding events and classic kiwi-inspired off-snow team activities. In an effort to earn points towards their overall team standings, yesterday’s unique event also drew numerous slopestyle competitors back to compete in halfpipe. In the end, thanks to his strategic fantasy draft picks, local Kiwi Carlos Garcia Knight’s team stood victorious and split the $70,000 USD earnings, with each rider receiving $7,000 USD. To add to this, Christy Prior (NZL) and Tyler Nicholson (CAN) received Burton’s Total Comfort award, and earned $500 USD for performing the most impressive and stylish trick throughout the week. For the complete list of teams, head here.
As the women began to drop, the clouds rolled over the perfect bluebird sky, and covered the resort with a fresh snowfall. Shortly thereafter, the sun came back out, and the changing conditions couldn’t stop young halfpipe specialist Chloe Kim (USA) from boosting her way into first place on her first run. Through the low visibility, Chloe set the bar high for the women, sending a massive backside air into a frontside 540, McTwist, and a corked frontside 720 before finishing with an impressive corked cab 720, which earned a 92.60. China’s Xuetong Cai landed her last run with an 86.40 to put her in second place, and fellow Burton rider Hikaru Ooe (JPN) took third place with an 85.40.
“I’m really happy about how everything turned out,” said 14-year-old Chloe Kim, who finished second at the 2013 Burton High Fives. “When we came up here this morning the weather was windy and snowy, but turned out to be really good.”
The unpredictable weather did not deter the men’s field either. Burton’s Yiwei Zhang (CHN) dominated with amplitude, technicality and style on his first run, which included a frontside 1080, cab double cork 1080, double cork 900, corked backside 540 and finally, a frontside double cork 1080 which earned him 91.00. In a historic day for the sport, yesterday marked the first time a male Chinese rider has finished first in any international snowboarding competition. To round out the men’s podium, Seamus O’Connor (IRL), who also competed in slopestyle finals yesterday placed second with a 90.60, and Nathan Johnstone (AUS) finished third with an 88.60.
Last night, the entertainment continued at Bullock Bar in Wanaka. Du