American coach impressed with resort biking scene

Americanmountain bike coach Kat Sweetwith Corrie Mullin, of Queenstown's DTR Industries, at the Ride Centre in Queenstown last week. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Americanmountain bike coach Kat Sweetwith Corrie Mullin, of Queenstown's DTR Industries, at the Ride Centre in Queenstown last week. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
One of the world's top female mountain bike coaches is visiting Queenstown over the summer to runclinics for the young, the keen and the capable.

Kat Sweet, of the United States,arrived in Queenstown last week and says she has been impressed by the scenery and also the people. Ms Sweet's Sweetlines Sisterhood of Shred clinics start this week, and are designed to give female mountain bikersextra skills coaching.

Since starting her mountain biking career in 1987, Ms Sweet has achieved much in the sport, includingwinning gold medals in the Crankworx Giant Slalom in 2010 and 2011, a 1998 national downhill title and racking up over 20 years' experience as a rider inlocal, state, and national level competitions.

On the side, she gained a red belt in taekwondo in 2009.

Ms Sweetqualified as a coach in 2003. So what does she have planned for Queenstown during the next two months?

''I'm wanting to bring in the idea of stewardship and teach more skills - it's always good to have more skills in the toolkit. It's not just about being the best, it's about giving back to the community.''

When the women's coaching clinic is finished, she will lead the coaching staff for the newly developed DTR Junior Freeride Camps. The first will run from January 6-12 and the second from January 13-19. Since her arrival, Ms Sweet has taken time to try Queenstown's mountain bike tracks at the Queenstown Bike Park and Wynyard.

"I have been so impressed with the riding - it's so steep. I was also impressed with the ladies' riding,'' she said after attending the bike park's Ladies Downhill night on Wednesday.

"I am so in love with this place.''

She felt Queenstown was fast gaining a reputation worldwide as a good mountain bike destination.

She planned to bring some of her clients from Seattle to the resort next year.