Kiwi ski racer Ben Griffin has made the history books after holding off formidable international competition in a giant slalom race yesterday and sneaking into second place.
The result means Griffin (pictured) is now New Zealand’s highest world-ranked skier racer in 20 years.
He turned in a stellar performance on day one of the Japanese FIS Southern Cup giant slalom at Coronet Peak.
“I’m very stoked with the result,” Griffin says. “I made a few mistakes up the top of the run but I carried a lot of speed into the bottom.
“I’ve been skiing really well. I always get a huge boost when we’re working alongside US and other top racers, we always up our game.”
The podium spot propels Griffin into the top 125 alpine ski racers in the world – the first time a Kiwi has achieved this since former Winter Olympian Simon Wi Rutene pulled off a similar result in 1990.
American hot-shot Will Gregorak won the Coronet Peak battle, while his countrymen Warner Nickerson and David Chodounsky came third and fourth.
Queenstown’s Tim Cafe was the second Kiwi home, in 19th place.
Germany’s Christina Geiger was giant slalom queen for the day, ahead of fellow German Fanny Chmelar and Russian Elena Prosteva in third.
Kiwi Sarah Jarvis came sixth.
The snow action continues today, with athletes tackling the giant slalom course again in the finals at Coronet Peak.