Flat Ocean Drive top training spot

Sled dog Kazak tows  cross-country skier Larry Nichvolodov along John Wilson Ocean Dr. Ski Dogs...
Sled dog Kazak tows cross-country skier Larry Nichvolodov along John Wilson Ocean Dr. Ski Dogs New Zealand wants the DCC to prevent any vehicular access to the road, so it can use it as a dry-land training spot for sled-dog cross-country skiing.
Sled dogs and skiers could become a regular feature of John Wilson Ocean Dr in Dunedin if one submitter to the Dunedin City Council's annual plan/long-term planning process gets his wish.

Larry Nichvolodov, from Ski Dogs New Zealand, told councillors the closed section of the drive was ideal for dry-land training for Nordic-style cross-country sled-dog skiing.

In fact, the 1.3km section of road was used for dry-land cross-country ski training in preparation for the 2011 IFSS World Championships held in Norway last March, he said.

Nordic style skiers around the world did dry-land training, as well as snow training. Even in Nordic countries skiers struggled to find long flat areas for dry-training.

Ski Dogs NZ would be happy to pay up to $10,000 to seal a 1.5m-wide 600m section of the roughest parts of the road using a "slurry seal" if the council would agree to allow it to be used for practice.

It would be a sports training facility unique in New Zealand and would be used by several Dunedin-based cross-country skiers, other New Zealand skiers, and international skiers coming to train in the northern hemisphere off-season.

For use as a practice venue, vehicles would have to be kept off John Wilson Ocean Dr.

Council staff said the council had agreed to restricted vehicle access along the road once resurfacing was completed and new markings were set out to provide a separate pedestrian/cycle lane on the road's seaward side.

That was in the long-term plan, to be completed in 2012-13, but was to be confirmed against other priorities through the present budget review process.

Council staff would contact Mr Nichvolodov to see if any agreements could be reached for using the road for restricted periods for continued practice use, and discuss the resurfacing funding offer.


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