Wanaka teen Zoi Sadowski Synnott is Snow Sports NZ athlete of year
Wanaka snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synnott, 16, has been named Snow Sports NZ's top athlete for 2017.
The Mt Aspiring College student won her first snowboard world cup earlier this year, making her just the third Kiwi to win a world cup.
Sadowski Synnott is a shoo-in for the New Zealand team to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, following in the footsteps of Olympian snowboarders Juliane Bray, of Wanaka, who won a World Cup in 2001 and Kaukapakapa's Christy Prior, who won a World Cup in 2014.
The Red Bull athlete also headed off high profile Christchurch snowboarder Carlos Garcia Knight and Queenstown's Duncan Campbell to win the snowboarder of the year category at Snow Sports NZ's annual awards night in Wanaka on September 30.
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Sadowski Synnot's world cup win came during her first season competing on the Northern Hemisphere world cup circuit.
The 16-year-old is currently ranked third on the International Ski Federation (FIS) world cup standings for women's snowboard slopestyle.
Her world cup triumph in the Czech Republic at the end of March was hot on the heels of a silver medal at the world championships in Spain. She also claimed a world cup bronze in Snowboard Big Air in Quebec, Canada in February.
Sadowski Synnott also won a world cup slopestyle bronze medal in front of her Cardrona home crowd at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ in August.
- Instructor of the Year – Kim Cosman (The Remarkables)
- Men's Masters Ski Racing Champion – Jon Wardrop (Auckland)
- Women's Masters Ski Racing Champion – Julie Gibbs (Auckland)
- Coach of the Year – Nils Coberger (Queenstown)
- Breakthrough Season – Alice Robinson (Queenstown)
- Cross Country Athlete of the Year – Campbell Wright (Wanaka)
- Alpine Ski Racer Athlete of the Year – Adam Barwood (Queenstown)
- Adaptive Snow Sports Athlete of the Year – Corey Peters (New Plymouth)
- Freeride Athlete of the Year – Sam Lee (Wanaka)
- Freeskier of the Year – Jamie Prebble (Christchurch)
The awards encompassed a 12-month timeframe including the 2016/17 Northern Hemisphere season and the 2017 Southern Hemisphere season.
It was a successful year for Kiwi athletes, who performed well various world cups, world championships, the Freeride world tour and world qualifier tour and the X Games.
The award's night guest speaker was Peter Wardell, who is New Zealand's chef de mission for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018.