Wells wins gold at junior world champs


Wanaka freeskier Beau-James Wells has won the Freeski Halfpipe Junior World Championship.

The talented teenager took gold at Valmalenco, Italy, on Sunday with an impressive finals performance.

Wells, 18, landed an exceptional right double 900 on the second hit of a smooth and lofty first run on the halfpipe.

The run scored 94.2, enough to win the competition from his nearest rival Joel Gisler from Switzerland.

“The halfpipe was so fun to ski,” Wells says.

“I’m stoked to win the title; it is one of my best competition results.”

Wells will now set his sights on the World Championships in Whistler in April.

New Zealand team-mate Finn Bilous, also from Wanaka, put in another outstanding performance in the pipe landing a right 1080 for the first time in competition in his first run to score 75.00.

Bilous scored 77.8 in his second run by adding a left 720 to finish the day in fifth place.

Beau-James’ brother Jackson was unable to complete a clean run in finals and finished in 11th position.

Freeski coach Bruce Wells – who’s now raised four Wanaka snowsports stars – was delighted with the team’s performance.

“It was impressive to see the team adapt to a pipe that was smaller than what they are used to skiing,” Bruce says.

“The quality of tricks improved each and every training session and we have enjoyed the challenge and watching the progression.

“Beau had to get brave and throw some of his gnarlier tricks for the win – we’re proud of another strong performance in the pipe.”

New Zealand team snowboarder Lyon Farrell, who won silver in the snowboard halfpipe last week, finished fourth in the snowboard slopestyle on Sunday, while teammate Carlos Garcia-Knight was seventh.

The Kiwi team is competing in the freeski slopestyle and snowboard cross today.