NZ Juniors Shine in ANC Halfpipe
New Zealand’s up and coming freeskiers and snowboarders showcased their talents in the Olympic halfpipe at Cardrona Alpine Resort today, competing in an Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) which had been postponed earlier in the season. Freeskiers Gustav Legnavsky (Wanaka) and Ruby Andrews (Queenstown) achieved podium finishes.
The rescheduled competition has coincided with the Snow Sports NZ Junior Freestyle Nationals, a long-time favourite end of season event for junior athletes, with some making a difficult decision to miss Junior Nationals in order to focus on the open event which is sanctioned by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and attracted an international field.
“I’ve been doing the Junior Nationals since I was a nipper,” explains Gustav, who finished in third place in this morning’s competition. “It’s kind of part of my routine every year so it was a huge compromise to not do it this year. I had a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) but I knew I needed to put my time and energy in to these two events. Today’s result paid off for me and I am beyond stoked to get my first podium at this level.”
The men’s ANC freeski halfpipe was won by Toma Matsuura (JPN) with Canada’s Peter Verheyde in second. NZ’s Max McDonald placed fourth and Finley Melville Ives (Wanaka) fifth.
Ruby Andrews (Queenstown) put together two solid runs to finish second in the women’s competition, behind Canadian skier Dillan Glennie. Ruby has also achieved two ANC slopestyle podiums this season, finishing in second place on each occasion.
New Zealand snowboarders Rakai Tait (Wanaka) and Campbell Melville Ives (Wanaka) put down strong first runs which initially had them sitting in second and third place respectively. However strong second runs saw China’s Xiaobing Fan move in to second place, Kangsan Kim (KOR) third and Hongbo Gao (CHN) fourth, putting Rakai and Cam back in to fifth and sixth place. Ziyang wang (CHN) took a convincing win on 96.33 points.
Chinese athletes took a clean sweep of the women’s snowboard podium with Shaotong Wu first, Leng Qiu second, and Jingjin Wang third. NZ’s Kaiya Collins (Queenstown) finished in eighth.
Competition is scheduled to continue tomorrow (Saturday) at Cardrona with the NZ Showdown slopestyle event on the Big Bucks course. The competition is an open FIS event, and for snowboarders also has dual sanctioning from the World Rookie Tour. A strong contingent of New Zealand athletes, including many on the national development programme, will be in the start gates.