Not on slippery slope

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Disgraced Queenstown Winter Olympian Tim Cafe never doubted he’d be renamed in the New Zealand Ski Team announced today.

Cafe – on the rebound from a drink-driving conviction in May plus guilty pleas to dishonestly getting into a vehicle, and taking a vehicle for his own purpose – is among 10 men and eight women selected.

Snow Sports NZ made the team announcement as preparations for the next two Winter Olympics and the prestigious annual World Cup events begin.

“I was definitely expecting to be back,” Cafe, 22, says.

“I’ve represented ski racing fairly well for enough years that people understood it was a one-off mistake.”

Police told Queenstown District Court how at 3.30am on May 1, a boozed Cafe got into a parked Subaru Legacy, which his key started, and drove a short distance on Frankton Road before stopping and getting into another Legacy on nearby Adelaide Street. Cafe, who told police he thought the first car was his and he wanted to sleep in the second one, may get diversion for the dishonesty offences – a decision will be made next month.

SSNZ alpine boss James Lazor says the selection committee felt Cafe’s conviction wasn’t relevant.

“It’s basically about performance on the slopes.”

Cafe and fellow 2010 Winter Olympian Ben Griffin, based at Ohakune, head the men’s team. Hamilton’s Sarah Jarvis leads the women.

Lazor says the team boasts plenty of talent.

“We’ve got two Winter Olympians that are going to be pushed by the up-and-comers, and at the same time those up-and-comers will learn from the Olympians.

“My ultimate goal is to produce an athlete that skis on the World Cup circuit, and when they get to the Olympics it’s just another event for them.”

The 2010-11 team reflects a move away from the old format of splitting squads into national and development teams, Lazor says. The athletes will train at Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Treble Cone, Mt Hutt and Ruapehu.