9 Jun 2021

NZ snow sport athletes get new facilities as they chase Olympic glory

10:38 am on 9 June 2021

High Performance Sport NZ will fund the building of an Olympic quality halfpipe and other training facilities to help New Zealand snow sport athletes prepare for next year's Beijing Winter Games.

New Zealand skier Alice Robinson.

Alice Robinson. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

HPSNZ will provide an additional $306,000 dollars to create the halfpipe alongside the big air and slopestyle facilities at Cardrona, dedicated speed training lanes at Coronet Peak for Alice Robinson and the Para Alpine Athletes, and an injection bar to prepare injected slopes that will replicate the hard and icy conditions found at World Cup and Olympic level Alpine and Para Alpine events.

The injection bar will further enhance the support for Alice Robinson's campaign by allowing the preparation of injected courses in New Zealand.

Alpine skiier and three time World Cup giant slalom winner, Alice Robinson, says it will help her in her bid to win Winter Olympic gold.

"It's a huge boost for me. The conditions that you ski on at any of the mountains in New Zealand are quite soft and easy. It's not quite like what it's like for us when we're racing in Europe etc. It's always bulletproof ice or super firm, so it's really hard to find those conditions in training in New Zealand and the injection bar will help massively."

HPSNZ chief executive Raelene Castle said, "It is important that New Zealand athletes have world-class training facilities, and we are pleased to be able to support Snow Sports New Zealand in continuing to improve the training environment in and around Wanaka.

"This is one of many ways we are supporting the athletes in their preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and, as we have seen over recent months, they are on track for something very special."

The $306,000 is the latest in a programme of strategic facilities investment to support the growth and success of the programme, including: $500,000 in 2017 to install landing bags at Cardrona to enable athletes to practice and perfect jumps with reduced risk of injury, $407,000 in July 2020 to assist with the delivery of domestic training facilities, which was predominantly spent at Cardrona to support park and pipe facilities (Slopestyle and Halfpipe) and $600,000 in October 2020 for the development of a year-round dry slope training environment for targeted Beijing 2022 park and pipe athletes and the development athletes preparing for pinnacle events beyond Beijing leading up to and including Milan 2026.

In addition, HPSNZ has invested more than $8 million into Snow Sports NZ's high performance programme over the Beijing Olympic Quadrennial and the programme is in the strongest position it has ever been in in the lead up to an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in terms of medal potential.

This investment followed the successful PyeongChang Winter Games in 2018 where the New Zealand team won two bronze medals and a further three medals at the Paralympic Winter Games.

Snow Sports New Zealand chief executive and High Performance Director Nic Cavanagh explains the organisation is very grateful for the support of HPSNZ.

"Our core investments and initiatives, including the landing bags invested in previously, played an important role in our success at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. Since PyeongChang, we have received even greater support from HPSNZ, helping fuel our further successes on the World Stage."

"This is a really exciting time for snow sports in New Zealand, with a team of talented young athletes proving themselves time and time again on some of the biggest snow sport stages in the world. The ability to create a world-class training environment and being able to replicate the conditions that our athletes will compete in at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games provides us with a real competitive advantage," said Cavanagh.