New Zealand's Southern Alps are white, pristine and ready to welcome international snow sport athletes to the 2018 Audi quattro Winter Games held in the alpine resorts of Queenstown and Wanaka.
The 2018 Winter Games will be the sixth edition and the first of a new schedule which sees this international snow sport event rolled out on an annual basis.
The Games have become the highlight event of the southern hemisphere ski season calendar, offering world-class competition and high-energy spectator sports in one of New Zealand’s most popular adventure destinations.
The Games attract many world-class athletes and this year's competitors will include gold medallists from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics held earlier this year. They will join leading Kiwi winter athletes in one of the most incredible backdrops in the world.
The winter sport showcase will run from 24 August – 8 September 2018. The centrepiece of the 2018 edition is the FIS Junior Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships 2018, a prestigious competition held within the Games framework.
Kicking off in style
In 2018, the Audi quattro Winter Games Opening Ceremony will take place in Wanaka on Friday 24 August at 5pm.
The Parade of Nations, featuring international athletes from around the world, will kick off a fun event celebrating cultural diversity with food stalls, music and family-friendly activities in a local park. The Official Opening will include a kapa haka performance and speeches followed by a rail jam and DJ.
The Games will officially begin the next day with the FIS Junior Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships to be held at nearby Cardrona.
Download the full Games schedule at this link
Big names come to compete in New Zealand
Some of the world's best names are confirming their entries for the FIS World Cup Big Air, the FIS Junior Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships which run as part of the Audi quattro Winter Games. World number ones, Olympic gold medalists and some Winter Games' favourites will hit the New Zealand slopes looking for glory.
Anna Gasser - Olympic Gold Medallist in Snowboard Big Air, Anna Gasser has confirmed she will be competing at this World Cup. Anna is currently number one on the FIS Snowboard World Cup Big Air ranking and first on WSPL Big Air list.
Birk Ruud - World Number one on the AFP Big Air list, Norwegian Birk Ruud has also entered the FIS World Cup Big Air and the FIS Junior Freestyle Ski Big Air and Slopestyle.
Dara Howell - Canadian Slopestyle skier and Olympic Gold Medallist Dara Howell will be showing off her moves. She is currently ranked Number 5 on FIS Big Air.
Kexin Zhang - Chinese Halfpipe star Kexin Zhang will compete in the FIS Junior Freeski Halfpipe event. The 16-year-old is FIS World Number 3 in the Halfpipe and 9th on the AFP ranking.
Alex Beaulieu-Marchand - The crowd favourite Bronze Medallist in Slopestyle at this year's Winter Olympics, Canadian skier Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (known as ABM) will be in action at the FIS Big Air World Cup showdown.
James Woods - British freeskier James "Woodsy" Woods is a Winter Games favourite and has confirmed he will be pushing for another Winter Games NZ Gold this season with his entry to the FIS World Cup Big Air. With eight World Cup medals to his name and plenty from past Games, this guy will be one to watch.
Give it a go
After the aerial acrobatics of the competitors have wowed the crowds, it would be a shame not to test out New Zealand's best slopes for yourself.
Cardrona, Coronet Peak, Snow Farm and The Remarkables will remain open to the public during the Games. All four ski areas are close to the ski resort towns of Queenstown and Wanaka, and each offers slopes to suit all ability levels.
For the more adventurous powder seekers, the Southern Alps has some of the best heli-skiing in the world with an incredible backdrop of rugged landscapes and natural beauty.
There are daily flights from all major city centres around New Zealand into Queenstown Airport. There are direct international flights just 3 hours from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Accommodation in Queenstown and Wanaka ranges from luxury lodges and 5 star hotels to motels, budget and backpackers.