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Ski camp to help NZ’s snow sports athletes

Media release – July 5, 2006

First national black on white ski camp to help NZ’s snow sports athletes later this month

The first major national ski camp this winter to play a major role in helping fund the country’s future snow sports athletes will be held at Mt Hutt later this month.

Elite ski racers – World Cup ski champion Claudia Riegler and ex-New Zealand Olympian skiers Fiona Stevens and Erika McLeod - form a dream team on snow to run the camps for up to 80 recreational skiers. The first of the five camps will be held at Mt Hutt from July 27.

Proceeds from the five camps will go toward the Snowvision Foundation’s capital fund building programme and Snowvision initiatives.

The foundation aims to build a fund of $5 million and provide long term support for New Zealand's snow sports athletes. The other camps will be held at Treble Cone and Coronet Peak. The Treble Cone camp is sold out.

McLeod joins the Snowvision coaching team for the first time having just retired from the competitive international slopes after the 2006 Torino Olympics.

``We aim to teach people how to ski like the best in the world,’’ Snowvision’s co founder and chief executive Fiona Stevens said today.

``Our exercises and drills help people change the way they ski. We know how to make the changes because we have been through it ourselves plus we have a lot of experience in analyzing and understanding how to make technical changes.

``Many people especially those in their 30s and 40s learnt the old school style of skiing – legs and feet together, turning by impulse and driving the feet around versus the new way which is very different.

``People have the new equipment but can’t get the most out of it because they don’t have the technique. The camp lifts them to a new level.’’

She said skiers found after the camps that they were more confident and could ski faster and tackle more challenging terrain and snow conditions.

``We see ourselves a little bit as ski saviors. Many of the people who are older and could easily give up on skiing and go play golf, as they are not making progress – their partners and kids won’t ski with them and they have lost confidence.

``For others they just love to ski and want to improve, use the technology under their feet and know they are helping the Snowvision Foundation and its vision.’’

The Formthotics-sponsored camps, in their fourth year, raise money for the foundation which has a vision of putting New Zealanders on snow, on top of the world.

The events are called the Formthotics black on white snow camps, as it aims to put black on white (New Zealanders on snow) on top of the international snow sports arena. They have the backing of Snowvision patron, Sir Edmund Hillary.

Last month, Snowvision, in conjunction with ABN AMRO Craigs and Mapei, launched the Mapei Snowvision McKenzie Ski Scholarships in Wellington.

Stevens said the scholarships will identify and nurture young snow skiing talent in New Zealand by paying season-long coaching fees up to the value of $2500 per child.

Snowvision aim to award around six scholarships a year, the first of these being named at the Mapei national junior races series starting at Mt Hutt on Saturday.


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