Snowsport athletes will gather this weekend at Coronet Peak for the start of the Winter Games NZ.
    The annual Games are hosted across three weekends and include a range of disciplines such as slopestyle, freeride, super G and giant slalom, halfpipe, big air and park jam.
    Winter Games NZ chief executive officer Marty Toomey said the competition allowed New Zealand athletes to improve their skillset.
    ‘‘We are excited to bring back the Winter Games NZ this year and look forward to providing a platform that allows Kiwi athletes to benchmark themselves against their international competition across many disciplines and events.
    ‘‘We are committed to a four-year plan, which will see Winter Games NZ growing year on year towards the Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,’’ he said.
    Official opening takes place this Saturday at Coronet Peak with super G and giant slalom.
    On Thursday next week halfpipe and slopestyle events will begin at Cardrona Alpine Resort from September 1.
    Weather dependent, the day for freeride world qualifier event will be selected between September 3-8 at Remarkables.
    The Cardrona stomp series — featuring big air and park jam — will see out the final weekend of the Games on September 10-11.