The world’s highest cliff jump operator proved the adrenalin activity of choice for some of the world’s fastest ski racers in Queenstown today (August 15).
Renowned for skiing at speeds of up to 130kph, Olympic gold medallist and multiple world championship winner Ted Ligety swapped highly-tuned top performance race skis for a backwards ‘canyon swing’ – at 150kph — into the 109m abyss of the Shotover River Canyon.
Joined by US Alpine Team mates and members of the New Zealand Alpine Ski Racing Team at Shotover Canyon Swing, 29-year-old Ligety loved ‘the swing’ so much he did it twice – once backwards, and again strapped into a chair.
No stranger to descents at speed, the legendary athlete was joined by team mate Nolan Kasper who did a handstand on the edge of the jump platform before toppling into the canyon, and Kiefer Christianson who stripped down to his underwear for his turn.
Ligety was also joined by Colby Granstrom, Robert Kelley, Adam Cole and Will Gregorak who have all been race training at Queenstown’s Coronet Peak before competing in the Audi quattro Winter Games.
Also taking the Shotover Canyon Swing ‘challenge’ were Kiwi giant slalom and slalom skiers Nick Prebble and Willis Feasey, competing in Queenstown to attempt to qualify for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games in February.
Willis Feasey tried out the unusually named ‘Tri-scare-a-tops’ launch style, the latest on offer from Shotover Canyon Swing, sliding over the edge on a child’s trike.
“The US team are all top world-class skiers and when they were asked what they wanted to do in Queenstown, out of all the activities on offer they chose us, which is pretty cool,” said Shotover Canyon Swing General Manager Matt Hollyer.
“These guys are the legends of speed and skill, and it’s great to see them take time out to come to Shotover Canyon Swing and challenge themselves with a different, fun and unique adrenalin activity.
“It’s a bit different doing 130kph down a race course to jumping or biking off a cliff top platform, but with their razor-sharp skills and ‘go hard’ attitude they brought a very special energy to the swing platform today.”
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