QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand (August 30, 2013) – A strong international field, including New Zealand’s top ski racers, were treated to picture perfect blue skies on the first day of the International Ski Federation (FIS) New Zealand National Championships at Coronet Peak, Queenstown today. The event had been scheduled to begin yesterday (Thursday) but 30cms of fresh snow overnight on Wednesday had posed something of a challenge and racing was postponed by one day.
The wait was worth it and the Giant Slalom races got underway this morning in world class conditions on the Davies Giant Slalom course at the Rocky Gully Race Arena. The 34 gate course was set by Nils Coberger.
75 men and 60 women started the first run with Austria’s Christine Scheyer and Michael Matt holding the initial lead. At the end of the first run QAST ski coach Celine Arnold was the top placed New Zealand woman in 34th place and 4.71secs off the lead, with Piera Hudson in 36th place and 5.16secs back.
Adam Barwood was the top placed New Zealand male in 16th place after the first run and 1.28secs off the lead. Nick Prebble was 26th2.9secs out while Ben Griffin unfortunately failed to finish his run.
By the end of the second run Scheyer had maintained her lead over the women’s field and Celine Arnold – the top placed New Zealand female in 31st place – had earned herself the title of New Zealand National Champion in the Giant Slalom. Eliza Grigg achieved the second highest placing for the home nation in 36th place with Harriet Miller-Brown in 38th. Piera Hudson unfortunately did not complete her second run.
In the men’s competition, Adam Barwood held on to his top spot amongst the New Zealand competitors, finishing in 18th place after his second run.
“I’m quite happy with how things went and definitely glad to have won the NZ GS title,” said Barwood. “We also have the Slalom still to race tomorrow so I’m looking forward to that.”
Manuel Wieser of Austria was the overall winner of today’s men’s Giant Slalom with USA’s Robert Cone in second place and Sebastian Holzmann of Germany in third place.
The FIS National Championships continues tomorrow (Saturday) at Coronet Peak with the Slalom.