Skiiers and Snowboarders Ski and Snowboard in Snow
With winter in full flight, around 100 students from New Zealand universities gathered to shred up Wanaka for the 2012 University Snow Games, held from August 26 — 31.
The winter games have been held annually since 1945, making this the 67th year of competition. With the 2013 World University games being held in Italy next year, a chance to perform on the world stage is also at stake for competitors. Perfect weather and snow conditions in Wanaka contributed to the 2012 event’s success.
The Michael Forrestal Shield, awarded to the university with the most points, has been won by Otago for the last eight years, and the scarfies were hoping to make it nine as Critic went to print on Thursday night. However, University Sport Executive Director Peter McDonald warned before the competition began that “Otago could be pushed this year and we’re expecting a week of fun, competition and some good healthy campus rivalry.”
Katie Logan started off Otago’s flurry of success on day one, taking out the Female Snowboard Giant Slalom title, while Mikey Austin came second in the Female Ski GS. Day two saw another Otago victory, with Marc Andri Riedi winning the Male Snowboard Skills Slalom event.
On day three, the multi-talented Riedi continued his success with a win in the Male Snowboard Gravity Cross event, which involves “fast and technical racing”, as well as the Male Snowboard Halfpipe event. Mikey Austin also gained further honours by winning the Female Ski Halfpipe event and placing second in the Female Gravity Cross. Otago’s Henry Schikker and Katie Logan picked up third place in the Male Ski and Female Snowboard Gravity Cross events.
On day four, up against some fierce southern competition, the Otago men “threw down” some moves that led Arran Stewart to first and Jack Harker to second place in the Male Ski Big Air. Stewart also came second in the Male Ski Slopestyle competition, while Riedi placed third in the Male Snowboard Big Air.
In the women’s events, Mikey Austin won both the Ski Big Air and Ski Slopestyle. In the latter event, Otago’s Nata De Leeuw placed second.
Day five was comparatively quiet for Otago with just one placing. Despite the competition being in its 67th year, the biathlon, a team event combining cross country skiing and laser shooting, was introduced for the first time in 2012, and proved “hugely popular”. As well as the biathlon, Snow Farm played host to the separate Cross Country skiing event, in which Otago’s James Webster came third.
Speaking about day five, McDonald stated: “It’s all new to a lot of the competitors, so while it’s a fairly social day on the Uni Snow Games schedule, it’s also one of the most entertaining days and it’s awesome to see so many people giving the events a go and really enjoying it too.”