Snow star says sod local slopes

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An Arrowtowner who is one of the hottest pro snowboarders on the world circuit refuses to ride Queenstown skifields. 

Jake Koia – ranked 18th on the Ticket To Ride international snowboard rankings and a New Zealand snowboarding team member – is boycotting NZSki moun-tains The Remarkables and Coronet Peak because he didn’t get free or discounted season passes. 

Koia (right) says this season a representative from the NZ Snowboard Union approached The Remarkables on his behalf. 

“They said no to a pass, no to join their Parklife team and no to even get any sort of discount at all. So flag that,” Koia says. 

“I would like to be offered some special rate for sure.” 

Instead Snow Park-sponsored rider Koia frequents Snow Park or Cardrona – where he gets complimentary passes. 

Koia also pocketed a free season pass for Mount Ruapehu – despite only laying tracks there for the first time this year. And he says Treble Cone forks out free day passes on his infrequent visits. 

“The only people that don’t are NZSki,” Koia says. 

“I like it up [The Remarkables]. I wanted to go up this year. And it’s so much closer.” 

Koia – who spends his NZ summers in Vancouver riding and filming – cut his teeth on Queenstown’s slopes. 

“I’ve been riding the mountain since I was eight and you’re not going to give me a pass or some sort of deal?” 

Koia is mostly pipped because he’s on a promo poster for The Remarkables, with a snap of him riding their terrain park last year used as the field’s profile picture on Facebook. 

The Remarkables Ski Area boss Ross Lawrence says he’s never actually spoken to Koia about the matter. 

“He expects a lot doesn’t he? Just because he’s New Zealand’s best or up-and-coming or close to it. 

“He’s never asked me for a pass. Second-hand another person, who spoke for him, just asked enquiring and then passed the information back to him,” Lawrence says. 

“I think Jake needs to come see us and not put it through the newspaper if he’s got some issues,” he adds. 

“I’d be happy to talk to Jake any time.” 

Lawrence says he wasn’t willing to slot Koia into the Parklife team because allocations had already gone out. 

“It’s not something you just add to willy-nilly. I wasn’t prepared just to add names to it for names’ sake.” 

In relation to other mount­ains being charitable to Koia, Lawrence says: “Good on him.” 

Coronet Peak ski area manager Hamish McCrostie doesn’t know anything about Koia’s boycott, but says the [NZ Academy of Sport South Island] and Snow Sports NZ put forward the names of high performance athletes for pass considerations. 

“We have what’s called an elite athlete’s pass pro-gramme, which is nationwide for all the ski areas, and they provide a list of all their athletes and those athletes then get varying degrees of assistance with lift passes,” McCrostie says. 

“We don’t involve ourselves with one-off people individually.”