The first Olympic qualifiers for ski slopestyle and halfpipe will take place in August and September in the southern hemisphere.
The New Zealand Winter Games, held at New Zealand's Cardrona Alpine Resort, will include a FIS World Cup Halfpipe event from August 20 - 22. From Sept. 3 - 8, Ushuaia, Argentina, will host the End of the World Challenge, a FIS Slopestyle contest.
These contests are the first opportunity for freeskiing athletes to earn qualification points for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where ski slopestyle and halfpipe will have their Olympic debut.
On Monday, both events were given Gold Level status by the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, indicating their importance on the professional freeskiing contest calendar. The event in Argentina was added to the AFP World Tour schedule for the first time.
"It's been exciting to see the New Zealand Winter Games grow over the past few years and the event just keeps getting bigger and better," said Steele Spence, AFP's Operations Manager and Winter Games Head Judge. "As the first big competition of the season, The Games attract many of the top athletes in the world which should put this year's event at the higher end of the available Gold Level rankings points."
The End of the World Challenge will take place at Cerro Castor Ski Resort and is being organized by the Brazilian Snowsports Federation and the Argentine Ski Federation. This is the first time a FIS Freestyle Ski Slopestyle World Cup has been held in South America.
"The AFP was approached by this event back in May, well before the World Cup schedule was announced," said AFP Executive Director Eric Zerrenner. "While we don't have a history with this event, we have been working with their organizers for a long time and feel confident in the quality of the event they will put on."