Wanaka’s pride in its snowsports athletes lifted another notch this week, after Paralympian alpine skiers Corey Peters and Adam Hall won medals at the Beijing Winter Paralympics.
Wanaka snowsports athletes have now got six Winter Olympic or Paralympic medals in the bag this year and already minds are turning to a homecoming celebration.
But there are also hopes for a higher tally as the Kiwi athletes get back in action at the Paralympics today and tomorrow.
Experienced athletes Peters and Hall now have four medals each from their various Paralympics campaigns.
Sit-skier Peters won gold (downhill) and silver (Super-G) last weekend to add to his silver from Sochi 2014 and bronze from PyeongChang 2018.
Hall won a bronze on Monday in the standing super combined, repeating his PyeongChang 2018 result and complementing two golds for slalom in Vancouver 2010 and 2018.
Sit-skier Aaron Ewen, competing in his first Paralympics, has finished outside the medals but has achieved creditable results in his races so far, with a 10th and 11th under his belt.
Snow Sports NZ chief executive and high-performance director Nic Cavanagh has been closely following the athletes from home in Wanaka.
“It has been phenomenal watching Corey Peters win his first Paralympic gold medal in the downhill and then swiftly follow it up with a silver in the Super-G,” he said.
“Adam Hall showed his class and experience, laying down two solid speed event runs before bringing his focus to his favoured technical events, super combined and slalom.
“Aaron Ewen has been performing exceptionally well, with a top-10 finish yesterday in the Super-G at his first Paralympic Winter Games.
“These results are a testament first and foremost to the athletes, and secondly to our dedicated staff, to be able to achieve so highly despite the challenges faced in their build-up to the Paralympics.
“Seeing the camaraderie between our three athletes has been the cherry on top of what has so far been a fantastic Paralympic campaign,” Cavanagh said.
Although the Paralympics are not yet finished there are already thoughts about how Wanaka might celebrate the efforts of last month’s Winter Olympians and this month’s Paralympians.
There was town parade after PyeongChang 2018 but any repeat of that event will depend on when athletes return from overseas.
Snow Sports NZ communications manager Britt Hawea said Snow Sports NZ was waiting for the Paralympics to finish, before shifting attention to a celebration.
“We haven’t yet confirmed return dates for all athletes yet, so once we have that sorted we will be able to start looking at dates that will work.
“It will likely be much closer to winter, if not during the winter months,” Hawes said.
The Paralympians train at the High Performance Sport New Zealand/Snow Sports NZ Training Centre at Cardrona Alpine Resort.