The return of Big Balls


A brave young Queenstown skier has put his balls on the line again – this time riding the resort’s scariest rail. 

Wakatipu High student Alec Savery, 14, won the Reavers Lodge Rail Wars last Saturday, an event not for the fainthearted. 

When held for the first time last year, one entrant fractured ribs, another went to hospital with delayed concussion while another re-broke a wrist. 

Savery’s win is a successful return to rails after he painfully crash-landed astride a makeshift rail during downtown Queenstown’s Parklife Invitational in August. 

He landed in hospital on that occasion but after a groin check was found to have nothing more than bruising and swelling. 

Savery says he only decided to enter the Rail Wars on the night when he heard the winning prize was $200. 

“I thought that’d be good if I could take it out and so I drove home, got my skis and ended up winning.” 

Savery beat six other entrants, but admits feeling the fear when attempting the “pretty gnarly” rail above bone-crunching concrete steps. 

“I was pretty scared to be honest. But once you do it the first time you get over that.” 

Savery plans to put the cash prize towards a skiing competition trip to the United States. It caps a good week for him – he took third at the New Zealand Junior Ski Nationals under-17 slopestyle event at Cardrona last Monday.
Meanwhile, Queenstowner Dean Stuart, who ran the inaugural Reavers rail jam last year, says he feels “gutwrenched” that he wasn’t chosen to run it this time. 

“But at the end of the day it’s not an event I can own because I don’t own the venue.” 

Reavers Lodge manager Glen Rolle gave the nod to Fraser’s Bar manager Richard Docherty and assistant manager Peter Tully this time. 

Rolle says his decision was nothing personal. 

“It was purely down to the presentations and what was put forward to me.” 

Rolle says he hopes it’ll continue as an annual event. 

Docherty and Tully retained St John as the donor recipient. 

Tully says while him and Docherty are unlikely to recover their own costs, St John – which was on hand in case of injuries – should get about $1500. 

Snowboarder Kolby Saetre, of Alaska, won a snowboard for best Rail Wars trick.