The recent influx of international elite athletes confirms the Queenstown Lakes ski fields are fast gaining recognition as the premier region for northern hemisphere top international skiers and snowboarders to base their off-season training, providing quality resorts and competitions.
The US Men’s alpine ski team is currently based in Queenstown for a four-week ‘summer’ training programme. The training team includes Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and three-time World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety, Olympian and World Cup podium finisher Nolan Kasper and Olympic US athletes Will Brandenburg, Tim Jitloff and Tommy Ford. The US Women’s ski team has also just completed their training camp in New Zealand.
The US Head Men's Technical Coach, Mike Day believes the region is perfect for their summer training. “Queenstown provides excellent mountain facilities, Coronet Peak create a high quality snow surface for us to train on and there is also a fantastic mix of off-mountain activities,” he said. “With the Winter Games NZ next year, being able to train on the courses is critical to our success at the event and the Winter Olympics a few months on.”
New Zealand holds the competitive advantage during the northern hemisphere’s summer when the world’s elite snowboarders and skiers need somewhere to train and compete. One year out from the third Winter Games NZ, international athletes and teams are attracted to the region. The Queenstown Lakes’ resorts are on the World Cup competition circuits and hosting more and more prestigious international snow sport events.
Winter Games NZ 2013 is being staged at a crucial time for the athletes, six months out from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This will be one of the last chances for athletes to accrue important qualifying points. The event is expected to attract over 1,000 athletes.
“Having so many international teams and events at the southern resorts is testament to the world-class facilities and competitions we have available to snow sports professionals,” said Arthur Klap, Winter Games NZ CEO. “Athletes are keen to train at the fields where prominent competitions are being staged and Winter Games NZ is no exception to this. It is set to be the premiere international sports event in New Zealand.”
International ski and snowboard teams confirmed to train and compete at the local ski fields this winter include: German, Slovakian, British, US, French, Korean, Belgian, Australian, Spanish, Chinese and New Zealand at Cardrona Alpine Resort, the women’s Austrian ski team at Treble Cone, Dutch, Polish, Italian and Finnish teams will be amongst those training at Snow Park NZ and the Russian, Norwegian, German, Swiss, Canadian, Austrian, Swedish, New Zealand and Japanese national teams also at Coronet Peak.