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USA dominates FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Slalom race

The FIS Australia New Zealand Cup alpine ski racing programme continued at Coronet Peak today, with the first of two Slalom races held on the ProAm slope.

In the women’s race American athletes Ava Sunshine and A J Hurt fought hard for first place. Sunshine took a convincing lead from the get-go, finishing run one 0.75 seconds faster than her closest competitor, Valentina Pfurtscheller of Austria.

Hurt, who was ranked 6th after run one, pulled an exceptionally fast run out of the bag for her second run to take the win.

Hurt explained; “that run was a lot better than my first run, I feel like I was just skiing a little more free and loose which turned out better I guess.”

The women's podium was rounded out by Sunshine in second and Pfurtscheller in third.

The men’s race was one of the tightest races we have seen so far at Winter Games NZ 2023. After the first run, the top ten men were all within 0.75 seconds of each other, with Jimmy Kruper (USA) leading the field by -0.11 seconds.

Going into run number two, the men knew every millisecond they could save on course would count. Skiing right on the edge of the limit we saw a handful of the top men ski out and record a DNF.

Kruper took a slightly more conservative approach, recording the 10th fastest time in run two, but with times combined he was declared the winner of the men’s race.

Krupka said, “I just tried to express myself on the mountain, as corny as that sounds. The skis were running, the dobermanns [Nordica skis] were barking so I felt good. It's beautiful here. I get distracted by the views!”

Sam Maes of Belgium and Laurie Taylor of Great Britain finished in second and third place respectively.

Today’s race marked the first time Winter Games NZ has held a slalom race on the ProAm slope. ProAm adds a degree of technicality to the racecourse, with multiple fall lines and pitch changes occurring throughout the course, requiring the athletes to be precision perfect. It also crossed under the Coronet Express chairlift, allowing skiers and snowboarders to spectate and enjoy the event from above.

The Winter Games NZ alpine action continues tomorrow with the second FIS ANC Slalom race.

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