Over 200 athletes from 17 countries will converge on Cardrona Alpine Resort next week vying for a piece of the NZ$50,000 prize purse for the seventh annual Burton New Zealand Open.

The competition has attracted major names of the snowboarding fraternity including Olympic hopefuls Kelly Clark (USA), Justin Lamoureux (CAN), Jiayu Liu (CHN), Mason Aguirre (USA), Sina Candrian (SUI), and Ryo Aono (JPN), among others.

Competing against the world‚s best, New Zealand‚s talent will put up fierce competition on home territory and includes Mitchell Brown (Mt Maunganui), James Hamilton (Auckland), Ben Stewart (Whaangamata), Nick Hyne (Queenstown) and Stef Zeestraten (Wanaka). Kendall Brown (Mt Maunganui) and recently named New Zealand Snow Sports Snowboarder of the Year Shelly Gotlieb (Ohakune) will be competing for positions on the women‚s podium. In total 24 New Zealanders have been accepted in to the prestigious competition. i did a promo box image for the last bit of news about this a week ago or so so you should be able to just grab the code for that

Competition gets underway on Wednesday 12th August with the men and women‚s Slopestyle qualifiers, culminating with the Halfpipe final on Saturday 15th August. For the Slopestyle, competitors will go head to head on the 800m course featuring down and up rails, table tops up to 50ft and an Airbag up to 65ft. Both the Halfpipe and Slopestyle competitions offer athletes two runs (three in the finals) with the best score counting to advance them to the next round. Judging criteria is based on overall impression.

There is plenty of free off-mountain action to enjoy throughout the competition including the world premiere of Burton‚s "The B" movie showcasing the world's best snowboarders, followed by rider signings. New to the event line-up is "Through the Eyes of Anon" presented by Casio Exilim, a photographic and slideshow exhibition portraying the history of snowboarding.

The Gravis Open Sessions offer two live concerts during competition week featuring DJ team Black Sun Empire, State of Mind and dubstep exports Truth on the 13th August. Headlining the Gravis Open Sessions on Saturday 15th August is Tiki Live with a dynamic seven-piece band The Dub Soldiers; supported by DJ Reno. Tickets for both concerts are still available from Play It Again ˆ Wanaka and Queenstown.

If you can't make it to the event, watch the semi-finals and finals live on Go211.com, where webcasts and highlights of the competitions will also be available for on-demand viewing once the event is over. For more information see opensnowboarding.com