A snow-groomer is used to form the Cardrona halfpipe this
week. Photo by Hamish Rudhall.
The international spotlight is focused on Cardrona Alpine
Resort this winter in the build-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics,
now the resort has the only Olympic-sized halfpipe in the
Cardrona is expecting higher numbers of athletes training in
the halfpipe this season in preparation for the Winter
Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February, following the closure
of Snow Park NZ, which had southern hemisphere's only other
New Zealand professional skier Byron Wells said he believed
most, if not all, national [halfpipe] teams would be at
Cardrona this winter to train for the Olympics.
''It's really the last training period before the Games, so
everyone will be taking advantage of the facilities,'' he
However, Cardrona sales and marketing manager Nadia Ellis
said the halfpipe would not be available exclusively to
''The pipe will only be closed to public on event days, which
are very few,''she said.
Cardrona would now host the Burton ''Hi Fives'' event
previously held at Snow Park, but would close the pipe for
only one additional day. The New Zealand freeski open was not
Cardrona was committed to keeping the halfpipe open to the
public, Ms Ellis said.
Snow Sports New Zealand (SSNZ) high performance director
Ashley Light said the number of events at Cardrona this year
might restrict training time, but Cardrona had always catered
for New Zealand athletes and SSNZ.
Having so many professional athletes and role models training
in the same place would be a great experience for New
Zealand's Olympic hopefuls, he said.
''This is positive for SSNZ. We don't expect any detrimental
Wells thought a busier pipe would have a positive impact on
athletes' training, as they would motivate each other to try
to learn new tricks.
The Cardrona halfpipe was his favourite to train in, due to
quick laps provided by the Wells Pipe Platter surface lift -
named after the Wells family - running alongside it.
Ms Ellis said the amount of early-season snow meant Cardrona
could start forming the halfpipe with snow groomers. The cost
of maintaining the halfpipe this year would likely be the
same as previous years, and the mountain management would
take steps to protect it during heavy use and warm weather by
closing it in the afternoons, she said.
Tom Elworthy, managing director of Snow Park's new owner,
Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds, said building a halfpipe
at the park for private training groups was ''very
- Leith Huffadine