Ashley bows out on a high

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After more than a decade overseeing New Zealand’s top skiers and snow-boarders, Ashley Light’s making tracks.

The Queenstowner’s leaving his role as Snow Sports NZ’s high performance director after 12 years.

He led athletes through three Winter Olympics and Paralympics campaigns, but with just under three years to prepare for the 2022 Games in Beijing he believes now’s the perfect time to hand over the reins.

“I had to look really seriously at whether I wanted to carry on for another four, five years,” he says.

“All great things come to an end, I just decided after that length of time it’s time for a new voice and new opportunities for the athletes and coaches to look forward.”

He says he’s leaving as “one of the proudest men in NZ”, and with good reason.

During his tenure he’s presided over huge levels of success on the international stage, including from many Queenstown and Wanaka athletes.

A major highlight has been the success of skier and double Paralympic medallist Adam Hall, he says.

“Ultimately what I’m most proud of is the development of the people, and over that decade, seeing coaches and athletes just grow as people.

“That’s probably what I’ll miss, just seeing those people inspire their communities.”

Light was also the chef de mission for the 2014 and 2018 NZ Winter Paralympics teams.

As for what’s next? “I’m very excited to be sleeping in my own bed more, because I won’t need to travel,” he laughs. “I’ll definitely be doing something in Queenstown, and definitely something to support the community, so watch this space.”

– DAISY HUDSON