Winners announced at the 2012 World Heli Challenge in Lake Wanaka, NZ

Comments by Jonathan Glass/

The 2012 World Heli Challenge (WHC) wrapped up August 16, after two weeks of snow filled competition for snowboarders, photographers and cinematographers. The annual event combines two days of on-hill competition for snowboarders and skiers – the Extreme Day and the Freestyle Day – with separate challenges for photographers and filmers.

Similar to surfing, event organizers allowed for a two-week period to host the Extreme Day and Freestyle Day in optimal conditions, while allotting plenty of time for photogs and filmers to produce strong bodies of work. This year’s weather worked out perfectly as the on-hill competitions went down earlier in the competition allowing plenty of time for competitors to roam the vast terrain around Wanaka and capture breathtaking visuals.

Photo by Mark Von Roy, courtesy WHC

The contest wrapped up on Thursday, August 16, with the ION Showcase Awards and Canon Shootout, hosted at the Lake Wanaka Centre. Awards were given for photography, film and snowboarding.

New this year, snowboarders and skiers competed against each other for the X-Factor award – the ultimate WHC award. After a long deliberation snowboarder Will Jackaways (NZ) and skier Jacqui Edgerly (USA) would share the honor. In a statement released by the WHC organizers, Jackaways and Edgerly were chosen “based on their overall aggressive performance and not necessarily on points earned during the competition.”

Ongoing during the event, seven photographers would battle each other for top honors in five different categories: Best Extreme Day Shot, Best Freestyle Day Shot, Best Carlton Dry Branded Shot, Best Exide Batteries Heli Branded Shot and The Canon Shot, with each winner taking home $1,000.

Photography

  • Best Extreme Day Shot — Antony Hansen
  • Best Freestyle Day Shot — Miles Holden
  • Best Carlton Dry Branded Shot — Mitch Stubbs
  • Best Exide Batteries Heli Branded Shot — Tess Carney
  • The Canon Shot — Mark Von Roy

On the film side of things, cinematographers were out capturing both on and off-hill shots and working to produce a mini documentary that would be judged during the Showcase Awards. Winners of each category would also take home a $1,000 cash prize. According to WHC staff, the judges had a difficult time selecting winners as each film “captured the spirit of the tow weeks of heli-accessed skiing and snowboarding and all of the off-snow adventure from a different perspective.” But winners ultimately had to be selected and are as follows:

Cinematography

  • The Canon Shootout Best Documentary (Watch Here) — Tomohiro Fujii
  • Best Carlton Dry content placement — Tomohiro Fujii
  • Best Extreme Sequence — Mic Simpson
  • Best Freestyle Sequence — Mic Simpson
  • Best ION POV use — Sean Balmer

Photo by Antony Hansen, courtesy WHC

The Showcase Awards concluded with the highly anticipated announcement of the 2012 World Heli Challenge champions. The athletes' best runs were shown on the big screen before the winners were named.

Freestyle Day

Women:
1. Abby Lockhart
2.Ratty Sheidow
3r. Jett Elkins

Men:
1. Will Jackways
2. Shin Biyajima
3. J.J. Thomas

Extreme Day

Women:
1. Abby Lockhart
2. Ratty Sheidow
3. Jett Elkins

Men
1. Will Jackways
2. Shin Biyajima
3. Antti Autti

Overall

*Chosen for performance over the two days of competition.

Top Three Women:
1. Abby Lockhart
2. Ratty Sheidow
3. Jett Elkins

Top Three Men:
1. Will Jackways
2. Shin Biyajima
3. Antti Autti

The documentaries, in addition to a World Heli Challenge overview video, will be posted online in the coming days; stay tuned as we'll feature them on our video page as soon as they become available. All of the photos entered to the competition will also be displayed in a gallery at worldhelichallenge.com.

To see images that were shared on Instagram during the event, check out the hashtag #WHC12 via Gramfeed. Additional content is posted on the World Heli Challenge Facebook page.