The Wakatipu is mourning the untimely death of one of its brightest sons after a car crash yesterday.
Local teenager Hamish Bagley, who died when the Subaru Impreza he was in left the road at the Lindis Pass, had carved out an impressive record on the snow slopes.
Hamish represented New Zealand at the 2012 Youth Winter Olympics in Austria, coming top ten after making the finals in snowboard halfpipe.
At the time, Snow Sports NZ’s Adam Dooney said of the then-15-year-old’s performance: “Hamish put down two incredible runs landing back to back 900s in both the semi-finals and finals.
“He had some tough competition with the level of skiing really ramping up in the finals.”
The Wakatipu High student was never far from the limelight.
At age 14, the talented snowboarder and skateboarder joined good mate Will Saxon to star in a Weetbix kids commercial In 2010.
The nationally-televised Saatchi & Saatchi-produced commercial ‘Nothing stops a Weet-Bix Kid’ showed the pair with two other Christchurch teens starting with the cereal before riding from snow to surf in a day.
“The snowboarding was the easiest because that’s what we’re best at,” Hamish told Mountain Scene at the time.
The same year he won Snow Sports NZ’s Emerging Talent award for his snowboarding prowess.
Tributes to Hamish are pouring in on social media, among them New Zealand snowboarder Rebecca “Possum” Torr who tweeted from the Winter Olympics in Sochi: “With a heavy heart I hear of a young life taken too soon. Rest in peace Hamish Bagley.”
The New Zealand Olympic Winter Team in Sochi has issued a joint statement saying it’s shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of the talented snowboarder.
Hamish had been working towards qualification for the Sochi Olympic Games as a member of the official long list.
Olympic Team Chef de Mission Pete Wardell says. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Hamish at this sad time. He was a bright and talented young man who made a positive contribution to winter sport in New Zealand. He will be sorely missed.”
New Zealand athletes and support staff in Sochi will gather together later today to acknowledge the snowboarder and the role he played in their close-knit community, Wardell adds.