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  • Tim Brewster

Volkl NZ Freeride squad - 2019

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

New Zealand freeskiers have built up an enviable reputation internationally over the past two decades. Making their annual pilgrimage to the northern winter after a season down under, our freeskiers consistently step up to take titles and podium places as well as adding their unique character to the freeride culture. As one of the earliest supporters of the movement, Volkl NZ now has one of the strongest line-up of riders in the country. From diverse backgrounds they share a massive passion for the sport boosted by their equally passionate families and supporters. Here’s a snapshot of this year’s NZ Freeride team featuring established performers and our up and coming athletes:

Sam Smoothy

Sam Smoothy

Age: 33

Hometown: Wanaka

Discipline: Freeride

Best Results: 

1st Andorra Freeride World Tour stop 2015 1st Austria Freeride World Tour stop 2014 2nd Overall Freeride World Tour 2014 1st Chamonix Freeride World Tour stop 2012 Winner World Heli Challenge 2013 & 2011

Goals: My main goals now are film related. I really want to put together a section with Teton Gravity Research of big, gnarly lines and airs, I don't feel I have managed to get my best skiing on film so that would be huge. On the other side I am really motivated to create my own story driven films that have a deeper impact than just focusing on skiing, I really want to tell stories that have substance to them and make people think about their own decisions and their role in the wider world around them. 

Best part of sport: The best part of the sport for me now is the amazing places and people skiing has taken me to, its such a great way to connect with people across the globe through a mutual love of skiing and exploration. Its also an incredible way to explore unknown parts of the mountains at home, we have such beautiful mountains and the harsh conditions and access make true adventures close to home super exciting.  Contact details: Email - samsmoothy86@hotmail.com

Fave Volkl ski: The Revolt 121 191cm is my favourite powder plundering device, its so floaty and playful with just enough oomph to charge big spine lines and stomp any airs. Plus I love the graphic from kiwi artist Ken Griffin  I also love the Confession 193cm ski for going mach 10 down big faces with big super G turns, its so stable and powerful. Then when I'm going ski mountaineering I really love the BMT 108 ski, its light and snappy and has a great feel for those high consequence alpinist lines. 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/sam.smoothy1/

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/samsmoothy/

Manu Barnard

Manu Barnard

Age: 18

Home town: Hawea Flat

Discipline: Freeride ski

Best Results: 3rd overall Freeride Junior Tour 2018

Goal: To compete on the FWT

Best part of the sport: Loves slushy spring laps at Treble Cone

Loves eating scroggin

Finn Bilous

Finn Bilous

Age: 19

Hometown: Wanaka

Discipline: Slopestyle, Big Air & Freeride

Best Results:

- First & only New Zealander to gain Winter Youth Olympic Medals with 2nd in Halfpipe & 3rd in Slopestyle at the 2016 Lillehammer Youth Olympic Games

- 3rd - 2018 FIS Big Air World Cup at Cardrona, NZ

- 5th - 2019 FIS Big Air World Championships in Park City, Utah

- 13th - Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Slopestyle

Goals: My dream goal is to win an X-Games and Olympic gold medal. However, alongside these performance goals, I aspire to be a really well rounded skier that can ride all types of terrain and ultimately leave a positive legacy on the sport of skiing for future generations to come.

Best part of sport: The best part of sport for me is the feeling that comes from the activity and the likeminded people that the sport introduces you too.

Contact details: Email - finnbilous@gmail.com

Fave Volkl ski: Revolt 86 and the Revolt 121. I ride the 86 for Slopestyle and Big Air as it's a really strong, reliable ski that still has some really playful flex patterns making it a perfect ride for both jumps and rails. When it snows, I'll be riding the Revolt 121. I love how aggressive this ski feels underfoot whilst still being really soft and buttery in the tip and tail.

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/finnbilous1/

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/finnbilous/

Aiden Fitzpatrick

Aiden Fitzpatrick

12 yrs

Discipline: Freeride

Hometown: Wanaka

Best Results: 1st NZ Junior Nationals 2018 Big Mountain, 1st NZJFT 2017

Goals: Win the NZ Junior Freeride tour again, compete in Europe in the Freeride Junior World tour

Best part of the Sport: Skiing awesome terrain with fun friends from all over New Zealand. We get to tour to lots of different ski areas in New Zealand from Treble Cone to Ruapehu to the clubfields.

Fave Volkl ski:

Volkl Mantra. Rad skis, they take me everywhere. 

Contact: https://www.instagram.com/aiden_fitzpatrick_new_zealand/

Ben Harrington

Ben Harrington

Age: 17

Hometown: Wanaka

Discipline: Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Big Air.

Best Results

1st - 2018 Slopestyle Europa Cup at Slovenia

4th - 2018 Jr World Champs Halfpipe at Cardrona, NZ

9th - 2018 Slopestyle Jr World Champs at Cardrona, NZ

Goals: My ultimate goal is to be able to represent New Zealand in the Winter Olympics Games with the aim of getting a medal. I am also focused on finishing Level 3 NCEA this year and am super excited to be part of the coaching team at HPC this winter.

Best part of freeskiing: The vibe, the creative expression, the cool people and the amazing places it takes you!

Fave Volkl ski: Revolt 86. The reason I like this ski so much is because I can use it in both the Halfpipe and Slopestyle. Its stiff enough to hold up the walls of the pipe yet is also fun and buttery in the slope course.

Fin Melville-Ives

Fin Melville Ives

Age: 13

Hometown: Wanaka

Discipline: Slopestyle, Big Air & Halfpipe

Best Results: 1st at US nationals slope style and 2nd at US nationals half pipe in his age group.

Goals: I’d love to compete at an international level including the Olympics in 2026 and X-Games and World Cup events.

Best part of sport: I love skiing, it is so fun. You get to ski with your friends and have an awesome time, whether it’s a blizzard or bluebird day. I hope one day I will inspire other kids to try skiing and train hard.

Contact details: Email – kjmelville@hotmail.com or fjackmelvilleives@gmail.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/fin.melvilleives

Instagram – @fin.ski https://www.instagram.com/fin.ski/

Maggie Little

Maggie Little

Age: 18

Hometown: Wanaka

Discipline: Halfpipe and a bit of slopestyle

Best results: 10th Junior World Championships Slopestyle and Halfpipe

Goals: To keep having fun, to learn new things and compete as much as I can

Best part of the sport: Getting to travel to do what you love and skiing with your mates.

Fave Volkl ski:

Revolt 87. They’re stiff and stable, so they’re perfect for the halfpipe and slopestyle courses. They’re super responsive and poppy. They also cut turns like crazy. However, recently I have been really enjoying my Race Tigers as more of a performance ski while I complete my ski instructors course. 


Matt Sweet

Matt Sweet

Age: 20

Discipline: Freeride

Hometown: Hamilton

Best Results:

1st Mount Olympus Freeride Open 2018

3rd Kirkwood Freeride Open 2019

3rd New Zealand Winter Games 4* 2017

6th Kappl Freeride Qualifier 3* 2019

Goals: Qualify for the Freeride World Tour 2021

Best Part of the sport: I have always found Freeride to be the most fun discipline in skiing. The fact that you have so much room for creativity in the way you can look at and interpret a mountain face really excites me.

Fave Volkl ski: Mantra 102. It's super aggressive and stable off piste, meaning that you can charge really hard even in crud and hard pack, it's got plenty of camber so can hold an edge great and has a stiff tail to make landings easy. It's the ultimate New Zealand freeride ski in my opinion.