Young stars bag New Zealand's first two Winter Olympic medals in 26 years

New Zealand had to wait 26 years to win their second Winter Olympic medal but less than two hours for their third thanks to 16-year-olds Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous.

Freeskier Porteous claimed halfpipe bronze after Sadowski-Synnott won bronze in the snowboard big air in PyeongChang today.

Sadowski-Synnott landed a double wildcat (two backflips with a grab) and a switch back 900 (2.5 rotations) to become the second ever Kiwi Winter Olympic medallist. Alpine skiier Annelise Coberger was the first, taking silver in Albertville in 1992.

"I can't really feel much right now. It hasn't really hit me," Sadowski-Synnott said.

"I've never done dub cat and switch back nine in a final before so I was so happy.

"That's the best I think I've ever done that trick (900). I was just so happy, I didn't even care about the score.

"It's been pretty crazy. I'm so, so grateful for the experience. It's just not like any other comp. It's intense and there's so much hype."

Porteous, who scraped into the halfpipe final in 11th, laid down a sublime second run, scoring 94.8 to finish behind Americans David Wise and Alex Ferreira who won gold and silver respectively.

He landed five clean double cork variations to improve on his first run scored 82.4 and sit briefly in the gold position before being pushed down by Wise (97.2).

Porteous carved straight down the pipe on his final attempt believing his best had already come but hoping none of the remaining 10 riders would eclipse him on their last runs, with Ferreira (96.4) the only to do so.

"In my dreams I couldn't have done a better run. That was insane," Porteous said.

"It was my first time ever doing five doubles (corks) in a run. I had never linked any of those combos before today."

Porteous held off countryman and flagbearer Beau-James Wells (91.6) in fourth, while fourth qualifier Byron Wells was a late scratching after injuring his knee in the warm-up to continue his difficult Olympic story having pulled out of Sochi.

One of the Kiwis' best medal prospects, Sadowski-Synnott failed to make an impact in her other event, the slopestyle, finishing 13th in windy conditions last week

But her Olympic success comes as no surprise given she's a three-time World Cup medallist.

Sadowski-Synnott opened with the double wildcat and was scored 65.5 to sit eighth before landing the 900 which put her briefly in the silver medal position.

Austrian Anna Gasser landed a double cork 1080 to claim gold ahead of two-time gold medallist Jamie Anderson of the US.

The Kiwis registered their third top-five finish of the Games the previous night when their speed skaters were fourth in the team pursuit, sparking fears the failure to win a medal could extend to at least 30 years.

Chef de mission Pete Wardell remained confident the country would not leave PyeongChang empty-handed.

But he was reluctant to suggest a period of winter sports dominance could be looming for a nation so blessed with favourable geography and world class competition facilities.

"We lost some of our big stars before they came. I was saying the young people will step up and do us proud," he told NZ Newswire in the vicinity of NZ sports minister Grant Robertson.

"We probably don't have enough people to be dominant but there's a great group of young people underneath.

"We've got the minister for sport here, so we're twisting his arm already about funding."

New Zealand may be on track for their most successful Winter Games with snowboarder Carlos Garcia Knight qualifying top for Saturday's big air final.