Double gold medallist alpine skier Ted Ligety scaled new heights on Friday 21 August (NZT) when he launched the 2015 Audi quattro Winter Games with the #NZdronie.
The Games in the South Island resort of Queenstown, New Zealand have become New Zealand’s largest recurring sports event and one of the top five on the international winter sports circuit. For the first time, the official opening of the Winter Games was captured by an #NZdronie – a pioneering way to take a selfie with a drone aircraft.
The dronie (drone aircraft with a mounted camera) captured the excitement of the athletes, supporters and organisers up close and then gained altitude to expose the snow-capped mountains and contrasting lakes of Queenstown.
Many of the 600 world-class athletes in the games are familiar with the region and train in New Zealand during the northern hemisphere off-season.
“I have been training over the summer here for 10 years and it is really cool because you can come off the mountain and you can go play golf, tennis or hike. Here you have much more to do outside of just skiing, it’s a lot of fun,” Ligety said.
When asked about the location Ligety said “this is a tough view to beat.”
Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Kevin Bowler was thrilled to launch the Winter Games in such a unique way; “I can’t think of a better way to profile an event like this than by capturing the whole stunning winter scene from the air, showing world class athletes in this spectacular Winter Games setting.
“The calibre of athletes here really highlights the fact that New Zealand is a world class winter destination. This is where the world’s best come to compete, train and enjoy all the region offers, on and off the mountain.”
This year’s Audi quattro Winter Games run from 21 - 30 August. Competitors come from around the world to compete in freeskiing, snowboarding, alpine skiing and curling. The sports action is accompanied by a festival of events off the slopes in Queenstown and nearby Wanaka.
Queenstown and Wanaka’s alpine regions are lively year-round tourist destinations with a range of different experiences near the winter sports action. As well as adventurous activities like sky diving, bungy jumping, zip lining, mountain biking, jet boating, hiking and golf there are many award-winning wineries, restaurants, cafes and spas offering rest and relaxation.
Following the huge success of #NZdronie last year, they have hit the slopes again in 2015 in top resorts such as Queenstown, Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Treble Cone and Mt Hutt.
About NZ dronies
A play on the ‘selfie’ phenomenon, a ‘dronie’ is a new trend emerging globally that uses a flying camera to take videos from the sky. Tourism New Zealand’s NZ dronie campaign offers holiday-makers the chance to capture the ultimate holiday ‘selfie’ by capturing an eight second video of themselves, which they can instantly share with their friends on social media using the hashtag #NZdronie. The innovative campaign set social media buzzing last year reaching more than 34 million people across Australia – making it one of Tourism New Zealand’s most successful social media campaigns to date.
About the Winter Games
The Audi quattro Winter Games are New Zealand’s biggest recurring sports event. The fourth biennial Games take place from 21 - 30 August in Queenstown, Lake Wanaka and Naseby. All sports and festival events are free to watch for spectators (ski pass required to access lifts) and will be streamed live on the Winter Games website www.wintergamesnz.kiwi
Queenstown and Wanaka regions
Surrounded by breathtaking mountains and glacier fed lakes, the vibrant alpine resort towns of Queenstown and Wanaka set the scene for lively winter ski holidays. Known as New Zealand’s ‘Adventure Capital’, Queenstown attracts more than a million visitors annually, who come for everything from world-class skiing and snowboarding to jet boating, rafting and bungy jumping. A short drive from Queenstown brings visitors to the more relaxed, but equally beautiful, small resort town of Wanaka – gateway to magnificent Mt Aspiring National Park. Queenstown and Wanaka share four major ski fields – all with naturally formed, diverse terrain to choose from.