Teams feel the heat
It might have been a chilly challenge but the competition could not have been much hotter as firefighters battled for supremacy on the slopes of Coronet Peak yesterday.
Frankton, eventual winners of the Firefighter Chillfactor Challenge, were elated after a tight battle with Wanaka.
Team member Bill Falcone said it was awesome.
"It was really good competition. Wanaka kept the acid on."
Wanaka captain Layton Craig said the competition with Frankton meant the team adopted a more aggressive style this year after previous wins.
"It was feet together, straight and down - with a tuck sometimes."
Five ski and snowboarding teams from Queenstown, Frankton, Wanaka and Auckland Airport raced down Coronet Peak's M1 holding a 30m-long 20kg fire hose between them dressed in full firefighting gear.
Frankton won by completing 16 runs in two hours, only narrowly pipping Wanaka who did not make it through the gate for the last run to count.
The overall winner of the trophy was the Queenstown brigade who had a ski and snowboard team in the Chillfactor as well as taking top places in a competition to pull members of the public along the skifield with a fire hose and in the fundraising effort for the Bruce Grant Youth Trust.
About $10,000 was raised for the trust in memory of Queenstown man Bruce Grant who died climbing K2 in 1995. It provides for young people looking to further themselves in the arts, sport or cultural fields.
Trustee Craig Ferguson said Grant, an Olympic skier, would have loved the novel ski race and camaraderie it inspired.
A special guest at this year's race was US firefighter Kelly Melton who had to postpone medical work in Sierra Leone to be at the event and competed with the Queenstown team. She hoped to start a version at her local mountain near Seattle.
The Southland Times