Queenstown will be the main host of alpine ski racing’s national pinnacle event for the next four years.
Snow Sports New Zealand has signed a deal with NZSki to hold the NZ National Alpine Ski Championships at Coronet Peak and Canterbury’s Mt Hutt till 2013, alpine manager James Lazor says.
NZSki will give SSNZ free access to training lanes and race courses at both skifields – cutting down a large chunk of the $20,000 it costs to run the four-day event.
Previously, national champs were held at a different mountain each year and SSNZ’s alpine arm has paid for access to the slopes.
“It’s a huge help for us,” Lazor says.
“By NZSki doing that we can give more benefits and services to our athletes and coaches. I can’t say thank you enough to NZSki.”
NZSki will recover costs through entry fees, but the bonus for them is the profile – especially with the amount of international athletes training on the slopes who are likely to enter the comp, Coronet Peak boss Hamish McCrostie says.
“For them it’s a good outing in terms of seeing where they are leading into World Cup training.
“But it also means the higher the calibre of international competitors, the better the FIS points are. And the better the points are, the more advantage for our NZ ski racers competing because they can compete for some very good FIS points.”
Lazor hopes to raise the event’s profile over the next four years to attract more spectators – and ultimately more money. This year’s champs are at Coronet from August 30-September 1 and at Mt Hutt on September 6.
Coronet Peak will also host two Australia and New Zealand Cup races next week after a lack of snow at Australia’s Mt Hotham caused the event’s cancellation.
NZSki “stepped up” to make way for the last-minute change It’ll host elite national and international athletes for giant slalom on Monday and slalom on Tuesday, Lazor says. The ANC Cup is a regional series that’s part of the worldwide Continental Cup series.