Clear blue skies for nationals

The Snow Sports NZ 2013 Freeski and Snowboard Junior Nationals got under way at Cardrona Alpine Resort yesterday.

Early morning fog lifted and competitors were treated to blue skies and sunshine for the first day of their four-day event schedule.

Close to 200 skiers and snowboarders between the ages of five and 18 competed in the Ski Giant Slalom, Smith Ski-Cross and Salomon Snowboards Slopestyle.

Competitors were split into age divisions including ruggies (born between 2006 and 2007), grommets (2004-2005), rippers (2002-2003), shredders (2000-2001), youth (1998-1999) and junior (1995-1997).

In the Salomon Snowboards Slopestyle, the competition format across all divisions was a straight two-run final.

Amarnie Barber executed a good clean run to win the girls' ruggies division, while Campbell Melville  Ives won the boys' ruggies division, impressing judges with his stylish run including a back three, method grab, board slide and 50-50.

Charlotte Lyell and Zephyr Lovelock were the winners of the grommets' division.

Lachlan Blackmore took out the ripper boys' class, pulling out a front three indy, cab five with a clean grab, 180 onto the flat box and a backboard on the bottom rail.

The girls' shredders saw a hard fought battle between Georgia Crisp and Zoi Sadowski Synott.  Crisp had the lead after the first run but Sadowski came back with her second run to take the overall  win.

The boys' shredders and boys' and girls' youth and Junior snowboard slopestyle took place in the Upper Heavy Metal Park.

The top three in the boys' shredders division came very close in their scores with Daniel Bohinc emerging as the winner.

In youth girls, Lucy Hayes was commended for impressive amplitude and solid airs and took out first  place.

In youth boys Matthew Cox impressed judges with his controlled run.

Georgia Baff was the convincing winner of the girls' junior division and her run stood out for her  stylish grabs.

In junior boys Carlos Garcia Knight's outstanding run included the first ever double seen at the Junior Nationals. It was also the first time he had landed the trick in competition.

With the snowboarders landing tricks in the park, the skiers were focussing on the speed events of dual giant slalom and ski cross.

Beau-James Wells, now a familiar name in the park and pipe arena and likely candidate to compete at the 2014 Winter  Olympic Games, took himself back to his ski racing roots and posted winning times in both the Smith Ski Cross and the Dual Giant Slalom.

While Beau-James competed in ski races until the age of fifteen he hasn't done so for the past few  years.

The slalom course was set on the Race Course Trail and racers competed side by side two at a time.

Each racer completed two runs with the combined time deciding the final placings.

Three-year-old Zora Legnavsky was the only competitor in the girls' Ruggies division and stood proudly on top of the podium at the afternoon's prizegiving, followed shortly afterwards by older brother Gustav who won the boys' Grommets division.

Bayley McDonald was the boys' winner in Ruggies and Shiloh Teen the fastest female in the grommets division.

Top podium places went to Zac Teen and Sam Hadley in Rippers; Alice Robinson and Maxwell Watt  in shredders; and Cameron-Leigh Murphy and Samuel Richards in the youth category.

In the Smith Ski-Cross racers first completed a single time trial on the Speed Zone Gravity-cross  track.

The fastest racers in each age category then moved through to elimination rounds to race head to head, four competitors at a time.

Not to be outdone by the winning result of his snowboarding twin brother Finley Melville Ives was the fastest ski cross racer in the boys' ruggies division, while Gustav Legnavsky was once again  victorious in the grommets' division. Illume Sadowski Synnott was the fastest female Ski-Cross racer amongst grommets.

Zac Teen backed up her win in the Ski Giant Slalom, also winning the girls' rippers division in the  Ski-Cross with Blake Hartley the fastest boy. Sophie Thompson and Julius Staufenberg won the Shredders with Tully Robinson and Jackson Wells topping the podium in the youth category.

The Southland Times