Spotlight on Queenstown for Winter Games

Blake Marshall competing in Winter Games NZ at The Remarkables, Queenstown PHOTO: ROSS MACKAY

Winter Games boss Marty Toomey admits he was starting to worry.

A significant dearth of the white stuff ahead of New Zealand’s biggest snowsports competition wasn’t exactly ideal.

“It’s been a challenging season for the resorts to deal with,” he says.

“They’ve done a great job in ensuring they’re building up enough.

“We’ve got good entries, we just need Mother Nature to keep delivering snow.”

The comp starts tomorrow at Coronet Peak with the night parallel slalom, before launching into two weeks of top-quality winter sport.

A big focus this year is bringing more events to Queenstown mountains, Toomey says.

“Part of it is making sure the southern ski resorts in Queenstown are getting a good chance to promote, or be promoted.

“Last year was Wanaka, because we had the junior world championship in the park and pipe disciplines, and there is only the one option. So not having that this year means we can be better across the resorts.

“That’s why we’ve got a strong focus in Queenstown with more alipine disciplines being added in again this year.”

He’s also hoping sterling runs from Queenstown athletes in the lead-up to the Games will draw big crowds.

Local star Alice Robinson was crowned national giant slalom and slalom champion at Coronet Peak last week, and Ruby Andrews finished second in women’s ski at the NZ Freestyle Open RookieFest Slopestyle at Cardrona.