Skiers and snowboarders of all abilities and ages will have the opportunity to enjoy time on snow and meet with New Zealand’s top Para snow sports athletes at the annual Adaptive Snow Sports Festival next month. This year’s festival will be held at The Remarkables ski area in Queenstown from 17 – 19 August.
“It’s a great chance to meet new people, and have fun on the snow,” says two-time Paralympic gold medallist Adam Hall. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner and never even tried skiing or snowboarding, or whether you’re an expert, the festival is open to everyone.”
Hall will be on hand for the three days of the festival and happy to share his experiences from learning to ski and snowboard as a child to becoming an elite athlete.
“Learning to ski and snowboard gave me a new sense of freedom,” says Hall, who was born with spina bifida. “It started out as something I just wanted to do for fun and became an amazingly rewarding full-time career.”
Hall has attended four Paralympic Winter Games, winning a gold medal in Slalom in Vancouver in 2010 and going on to win gold in Slalom and bronze in Super Combined at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. He was also the recipient of the Whang Youn Dai Award, which is given to one male and one female athlete who best exemplify the spirit of the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic values. It has been given since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games to inspire persons with disabilities and the world to achieve excellence in sports and in life.
Hall sees the Adaptive Snow Sports Festival as a perfect opportunity for him to give back to his sport and inspire others to give skiing and snowboarding a go in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
18-year-old Para alpine skier Josh Crean was inspired to pursue a career in competitive ski racing after meeting Hall, and Paralympic silver medallist Corey Peters at the Adaptive Snow Sports Festival in 2016.
“I learnt to ski on family holidays at Mt Hutt and later on my mates at school were in to ski racing so I decided to try it,” explains Crean. “I first met Adam and Corey at a Have-A-Go Day at Snowplanet in Auckland and then I went along to the festival and spent more time with them and decided I wanted to get more in to training and competing.”
Crean is now a member of the national development team and will be one of nine athletes participating in a training camp running at The Remarkables in conjunction with the festival.
For those purely focused on the recreational side of snow sports, the festival will offer three days of fun activities including team fun races, subsidised lessons, information evenings and plenty of social activities.
The Remarkables Snow Sports Manager Christina Bruno says, “We’re excited to be hosting the Adaptive Snow Sports Festival at The Remarkables this year. Our trained instructors and team of wonderful volunteers will be on hand to assist our guests and make sure everyone has a great time.”