Nelson skiers rule the Rainbow
Skiers and snowboarders from Nelson College and Nelson College for Girls have once again ruled the slopes of Rainbow Ski Area to dominate the Tasman secondary school champs.
They took advantage of the fresh powder snow and perfect weather last Wednesday to win most of the individual and team races.
Sixty three skiers and 18 snowboarders from seven Nelson and Marlborough schools competed in the annual event, which is organised by the St Arnaud Ski Racing Foundation in conjunction with the Tasman Secondary School Sports Council and Sport Tasman and sponsored by Harcourts.
Competitors completed two runs down a giant slalom course, with their times combined to give a total score.
In the individual boys' races, Nelson College's Eugene Cech again proved that growing up in St Arnaud with the skifield on his doorstep is a decided advantage as he ripped up the packed powder and his opposition, to outpace his schoolmates Archie Smith and Sam MacKay-Wright by more than 8 seconds.
Nelson College also swept the ski team event, taking the top three places. Its A team of Cech, Ben Mains, Marcus Jones and Tobias McGill proved too fast, heading off the C team of Smith, Finn Wilkinson, Jonty McGIll and Justin Russel. The B team of MacKay-Wright, Alex Kroch, Jacob Goessi and Tom Crosbie completed the trifecta.
Lilli Wilkinson of Nelson College for Girls proved the queen of the slopes, just holding off Nayland College's Emily-Rose James in the individual race, while Brittany Mark from Waimea College finished third.
Nelson College for Girls proved too strong in the ski team event, with Wilkinson, Trinity Hufflett, Izzy Wilson and Clarie Balance much too quick for their schoolmates Hannah McKay-Wright Libby Neill, Sally Mains and Alaina Burr. Waimea College's Mark, Holly M, Olivia Mark and Jessica Ladley took third.
The mixed ski team race was won by Nayland College's team of Dan Sutherland, Mikkel Bjerkvoll, Emily-Rose James and Alan James. Tom De Hammel, Kullum Ladley, Sam Field and Elora Chang of Waimea College claimed second followed by Garin College's Thomas Heaton, Harry Duffy, Kay Thomson and Jack Harris.
Phoenix Gallagher of Waimea College comfortably won the boys individual snowboard event from Nelson College's Finn Meekma and Jimmy Wright, but they got some revenge when they and team-mates Ben Oakley and Jack Malcolm took out the teams title ahead of Waimea's Gallagher, Quinn Wilson, Reagan Helem and Hadley Blackman.
Addie Lowe of Nelson College for Girls came out on top in the individual girls race from Kirsten Walker of Motueka High School.
The mixed snowboard race went to a Motueka High School team of Oscar Hadley, Tino Berl, Manu Vink and Walker.
Race organiser Maureen Clinton-Baker said the standard of competition remained high despite the event attracting only half the 150 entries received last year. She put this down to doubt over whether there would be sufficient snow at Rainbow and a lack of organisation by some schools.
"We only knew at the last minute the event was going to be on."
In the event, fresh new dumps and a glorious morning made for a ‘fantastic day" with conditions only closing in after racing was finished, she said, adding that the event and its primary school equivalent still remained among the largest and most popular in the country.
The Nelson Mail