Top athletes get airborne during 2015 Winter Games

Off-piste activities in New Zealand are proving to be the perfect warm up for Audi quattro Winter Games athletes before their events.

With the Audi quattro Winter Games 2015 in full swing in New Zealand’s Southern Lakes region, athletes and visitors alike are taking every opportunity to get into the various activities the winter wonderland has to offer.

Some of the world’s best athletes took time out from the slopes to explore the adventure towns of Queenstown and Wanaka.

While they've been spending a lot of their time at Cardrona Alpine Resort performing aerial acrobatics, it was only natural they took to the skies off the mountain. Only this time a little higher up...

Australian snowboarder Nate Johnstone, 2011 FIS Snowboard Halfpipe world champion, took in the best possible views of the winter wonderland as he threw himself out of a skydiving plane above The Remarkables in Queenstown.

“There’s not too many places in the world where you can do all of this in one day,” Johnstone said.

“We were up at Cardrona this morning doing some training and now we are down here in Queenstown jumping out of a plane.”

Canadian Winter Olympian Derek Livingston went along for the ride on the picture-perfect day with NZone Skydive.

British freestyle skier James ‘Woodsy’ Woods spent his morning perfecting his run for the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Slopestyle qualifying round. By the afternoon he was learning how to fly a plane with Learn to Fly Wanaka.

The off-piste activity must have been just the ticket for 'Woodsy' who went on to win the gold medal in the FIS Freestyle Ski Slopestyle at the 2015 Audi quattro Winter Games just a few days later.

The 2012-2013 FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup champion for slopestyle was joined by his girlfriend, New Zealand free skier Anna Willcox.

Both athletes were naturals in the air and controlled the planes like pros.

“It was amazing,” was all Woods could muster after the “unreal” experience in the skies above Wanaka.