Queensotwn ski racer Sam Hadley’s the latest local name to remember in the skiing scene.

Hadley, 20, has been recently named as the newest member of the New Zealand National Alpine Ski Team.

‘‘It took me a long time to calm down once I realised I had qualified for the team, I was pretty excited,’’ he says.

Others named in the team are fellow Queenstowner Alice Robinson, and Wānaka’s Piera Hudson and Mikayla Smyth.

Born and bred in Arrowtown, Hadley first donned skis at the age of three, where he skied away from his dad on the magic carpet and crashed into a fence.

After his parents enrolled him in the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team holiday programme when he was six, he started ski racing, won the end-of-programme race, and has never looked back.

He’s just back from a season in Europe, where he’s been working closely with his coach Vassilis ‘Vas’ Dimitriadis, the former head coach of the Greek National Ski Team, racing in Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Romania and Bulgaria, and occasionally training with the Bulgarian ski team — it was at the Greek national champs his results lowered his world ranking enough to put him in the Kiwi team.

Skiing prodigy: Local Sam Hadley’s been named in the NZ National Alpine Ski Team

‘‘I am grateful to have skied in some pretty amazing places, but I would say Coronet is 100% my favourite, because I can wake up at home, in my own bed, and head up the mountain.’’

He’s now working on his preseason fitness with retired ski racer Ben Griffin, at Alpine Performance and Remarkable Physios, before he heads up the mountain here this year, where he’ll be working with Coberger Academy’s Nils Coberger, a world-class coach who’s worked with Kiwi, Aussie and British teams for the past 30 years.

Hadley says his immediate goal’s to get good results in the Australia New Zealand Cup races, hopefully bag some national titles and then head back to Europe for the world champion ships at the start of next year.

‘‘Thinking big, I definitely want to get to the Olympics one day.’’

That in mind Hadley — who also works three days a week as a greenkeeper at The Hills — has decided to switch from fulltime to part-time study at the University of Canterbury, where he’s working towards a Bachelor of Science, majoring in financial engineering, so he can focus on his ski racing goals, and hopefully find some sponsors to help him meet the costs of his upcoming season.

Meantime, Queenstowner Sam Woods, 20, has been named in the NZ Alpine Development Team for 2024-25.

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