Falling snow and high winds across the top section of the course delayed the morning start times of the much anticipated FIS ANC Super G event presented by Coronet Peak. But it would be the soft snow conditions which raised safety concerns, finally causing a postponement of the days racing when the clouds parted just after midday over the Wakatipu Basin.
The Winter Games NZ Alpine Ski Racing speed events continue at Coronet Peak tomorrow with the ANC Super G and WPAS Southern Hemisphere Cup Super G presented by Coronet Peak.
An update of the Alpine Ski Racing schedule will be listed on the Winter Games NZ website schedule and the Alpine sports page as soon as the update is received after the Team Captains Meeting today.
The QRC Winter Games NZ fuelled by Forsyth Barr opened in celebratory fashion with a party atmosphere and falling snow during night skiing at Coronet Peak on Friday evening. The Hon Grant Robertson, Minister of Sport officially declared the Games open with Alpine Ski Racing kicking off with the action packed head-to-head Parallel Night Slalom presented by Coronet Peak held under lights before fireworks and George FM’s DJ General Lee brought the party to the Peak to conclude the evening.
Alpine Ski Racing’s newest discipline and most spectator friendly event, the Night Parallel Slalom opened the Alpine Ski Racing programme at Coronet Peak with Poland’s Maryna Gasienica-Daniel and Luke Winters of the USA making their way to the end of the round-robin format as the fastest racers of the evening.
A twenty four thousand dollar equal gender prize purse provided a lucrative incentive for athletes to make it through to the evening’s finals via afternoon qualification to confirm the 16 men and women to contest the evening’s finals to over four rounds of racing.
Held over a side by side 20 gate course, the quick fire race format produced tight finishes, DNFs and upsets with kiwi racer and Games ambassador Alice Robinson falling victim to the less favoured red course and exiting in the semi-finals to eventual third place getter Youngseo Kang who made the first international podium of her career.
With the higher ranked athlete of each run choosing their preferred side of the course and the right hand blue course delivering majority of the winning runs of the evening Winter clinched victory in the Men’s competition against the odds when he took a different line on the red course deploying a slalom style cross blocking approach over top seed Adam Zampa who stated that he “needed to start to cross block more” after the finish. Sam Maes of Belgium rounded out the podium taking out the men’s petite final.
Women’s winner Gasienica-Daniel went against the grain picking the red course all night long finding harmony on the right hand side of the Pro-Am course claiming a close victory over Canada’s Ellery Smart.
The event was a chance to see what the Para-Alpine athletes are going to deliver in the days ahead with Paralympic Medallists Corey Peters and Adam Hall along with up and coming kiwi sit skier Aaron Ewan and the hero of last year’s The North Face Frontier 4* Freeride event Patrick Halgren giving a glimpse of the speed they are going to bring to Monday and Tuesday’s Super G courses held on the Hurdle course at Coronet Peak, a truly World Cup level race course being brought back after a long hiatus.
Kiwi snow sports prodigy and Winter Games NZ ambassador Alice Robinson has had an exceptional season, winning New Zealand’s first Alpine Ski Racing World Cup medal in 17 years. After her impressive debut on the world stage at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Alice has been continuously performing at an outstanding level.
In March 2019 she claimed New Zealand’s first Alpine Ski Racing World Cup medal since 2002, finishing with a silver medal in Giant Slalom at the FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Andorra. The 17-year-old finished 0.30s behind Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) who holds the world number one ranking on the World Cup tour. Current World Champion Petra Vlhova (SVK) finished in third place. Prior to this the last NZ athlete to podium at a FIS Alpine World Cup was Claudia Riegler in Slalom in 2002.
Alice earned her start at the World Cup Finals due to her success at the Alpine World Junior Ski Championships in Italy on February 19 2019. Alice crossed the finish line in the Giant Slalom over a second ahead of her closest competitor, silver medal winner Camille Rast (SUI).
Alice has been turning heads this Northern Hemisphere season with a string of impressive results, including a Europa Cup win and two Europa Cup silver medals and a seventeenth place – including the fastest second run time – at the World Champs in Sweden in February.
Alice is a member of the NZ National Alpine Ski Team A Team and tells her story in Snow Sport NZ’s latest ‘Be Next’ campaign (video below).