It’ll be on home snow with parents in tow for one young Queenstown ski racer at this month’s Audi Quattro Winter Games.
Queenstowner Adam Barwood carries the flag for his home town into the third instalment of the games.
The 21-year-old plans to compete in both the slalom and GS (giant slalom) on what is effectively his backyard at Coronet Peak ski field.
Barwood learnt to ski at Coronet on a school holiday programme in 2001.
“It’s always really nice to compete on your home turf,” he says.
“My parents will be up there to watch me. I’m looking forward to it.”
And while neither of his races are among the events in the Games to carry World Cup status, he expects a high calibre field.
“There’s going to be a lot of good racers there,” Barwood says, “probably a few World Cup racers.
“I’ve not seen the list yet but it’s a big race.”
Barwood has already mixed it with the best this year.
In his first European season, he qualified for the World Ski Championships – held in Schladming, Austria, in February.
“There was a 55,000-strong crowd there to see Marcel Hirscher take gold for Austria, a really cool atmosphere.
“To race in such a race had to be one of the best experiences of my life.”
Barwood also competed in 40 races in France, Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, Germany and Switzerland, landing a series of top 10 and top 20 finishes in full FIS races in slalom, giant slalom and Super G. They included three sub-30 FIS point scores.
The national team racer moved up the world ranking 154 places, from 600 to 446.
His coach Nils Coberger told Mountain Scene at the time: “To qualify was sensational. He’s had a fantastic season. Adam made a big step into the European programme. It’s one of those rites of passage – every racer has to do it.
“His world ranking is down to 446, which will give him National C team status. So he’s moved up from the development team and is the only male athlete this year to do that.”
Now he’s home to compete in the southern hemisphere season and train.
“Training’s being going really good – we’re just up at Coronet at the moment.
“It’s been hard but we taper it down after pre-season. Our first race of the season was supposed to be Hotham in Australia but that’s likely to be cancelled due to the [lack of] snow.
“They’ll be other races before the Games though.
“I’ll do the whole winter season here and then early November head over to Colorado – it’s not confirmed yet but probably a month there and then head over to Europe.”
Before that, the third biennial NZ Winter Games will give Barwood the chance to compete with a home advantage.