Up-and-coming sit-skier Aaron Ewen is enjoying his first taste of international competition and has achieved some exciting results at his first races. Aaron gained his first international podiums in February 2017 with third places in GS and Slalom at IPCAS races in Park City, USA. He was selected to the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games team for Pyeongchang but had to withdraw due to injury.
Disciplines: Downhill, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super-G
Home town: Tuakau
Career highlights: Third place GS and Slalom, IPCAS races, Park City, USA, February 2017
Aaron spent his early childhood in France before moving to Tuakau in the Waikato at the age of eight. Aside from the odd ski trip when he was young, snow sports didn’t really feature on the schedule and downhill mountain biking was his big passion. Aaron loved being part of a tight knit community and began racing on the national circuit, the gnarlier and faster the course, the better!
In February 2013, shortly after Aaron’s 16th birthday, he suffered a huge crash at one of the national rounds, sustaining a spinal cord injury which left him without movement in his legs.
Not one to be held back or miss out on fun, just six months after his accident Aaron tried out sit skiing for the first time. His mates took him up to Mt Ruapehu for a ski lesson and a new passion was born.
With encouragement from Snow Sports NZ’s Adaptive Manager, Jane Stevens, and the instructors at Mt Ruapehu, Aaron moved to Wanaka for the 2015 season and spent a fun few months at Cardrona Alpine Resort mastering the sit ski. A trip to America for the northern hemisphere season followed so Aaron could give racing a go. He didn’t enjoy this more serious side of the sport at first, but still loved to freeski and returned to NZ amped to spend more weekends on snow with his mates.
Aaron returned to the USA for the 2017 season and trained at the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) at Winter Park resort in Colorado, alongside Kiwi skiers Adam Hall, Corey Peters and Samuel Tate.
Being in the mountains every day and taking every possible opportunity to freeski, Aaron also began to enjoy the challenges of the racecourse. An intensive month of racing in the USA and Canada saw Aaron make the podium several times, winning Super-G, Giant Slalom and Slalom IPCAS races in White Face.
The Downhill races at the Canadian and American National Championships in Kimberly, Canada were a personal highlight for Aaron. He also chalked up some strong results, with fourth and sixth place finishes behind world number three Andrew Kurka (USA).
He’d set himself the goal of making a podium finish and meeting the goal motivated him to go faster and work harder on skill development. Aaron was selected to the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games team for Pyeongchang but had to withdraw due to injury. He hopes to be back on snow in time for the 2018 NZ winter.
When not on snow his hobbies include go karting, kayaking and fishing. He’s still very much involved with the biking community and follows the World Cup action from where ever he is in the world.
Check out more of Aaron's results here, or follow him on social media.