The recent Sochi Winter Olympics saw New Zealand field their largest ever squad on snow with many of them along, with their overseas competitors, sharing a local connection – Cardrona Alpine Resort.
The majority of athletes at the halfpipe and slopestyle events in Sochi had spent the last few southern hemisphere seasons honing their skills on Cardrona’s world class terrain parks and halfpipes in the hills above Queenstown and Wanaka.
Along with the three Wells brothers, Jossi, Byron and Beau-James, who literally grew up on the mountain, freeskiers Janina Kuzma, Lyndon Sheehan and his sister Amy who is representing Australia are all long-time Cardrona skiers.
They were joined on the mountain last season by the Olympian snowboard contingent of Bex Sinclair, Stefi Luxton, Shelly Gotlieb, Rebecca Torr and Christy Prior.
The 22 foot-high Olympic halfpipe itself was shaped by long-time Cardrona grooming crew member John Melville who developed his pipe-cutter technology on the hill.
Testing and refinement of the pipe and the slopestyle course was done by a full complement of New Zealand’s top free-skiers and snowboarders along with a line-up of the world’s best including snowboarder Shaun White. Alpine teams from Europe including the dominant German women’s team had also used Cardrona’s slopes for training.
Access to those very same slopes and terrain park facilities will be open to the public from June 20. It could be time to hit the gym and wax up those bases for your own personal Olympics!