Press Release August 28
Coronet Peak Queenstown: The Audi quattro Winter Games NZ FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC)women’s giant slalom at Coronet Peak today was a Scandinavian affair and featured a tight tussle for top honours with the title going to Norwegian World Cup skier Mina Fuerst Holtmann just splits ahead of team mate Kristin Lysdahl.
High profile Swedish athlete Maria Pietilae-Holmner took out the bronze medal.
Spring conditions created challenges for the race crew and the men’s giant slalom, scheduled for today, was postponed.
Chief of Race Hannah Hazeldine said because of the delicate snowpack combined with warm weather the jury decided to preserve the Out Wide slope and delay the race until Friday (September 1).She said the course held up well for the women’s event in the “unseasonably warm weather” and there was a good surface on the race line.
The elite field of 50 women included Olympians and World Cup racers representing 18 countries – Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
Thirty four competitors completed the race and 22-year-old Holtmann who was lying second in 56.67 after the first run, put down the hammer to record 55.18 in the second giving her a combined time of 1.51.85, pipping Lysdahl (21), winner of two 2017 European cup titles, who clocked 1.51.91 (57.08, 54.83).
Pietilae-Holmner (31) who was sixth in giant slalom at the Sochi Olympics, scored 1.52.05 (56.69, 55.36) to take third place.
Holtmann is ranked 67 in the world in giant slalom, Lysdahl 31 and Pietilae-Holmner 57.
Holtmann was happy with her result after coming off a two-year injury break.
“The last time I raced was at the Winter Games NZ in 2015 on the same course. I love this hill and it was very challenging today so it was good to get the win. It was quite bumpy but the same for everyone and the mountain did a great job on the course.”
The first New Zealander was Georgia Bushell of Mt Hutt who finished in 26th place in 2.01.09.
Current New Zealand giant slalom champion Alice Robinson went out in the first run after missing a gate near the bottom of the course, while top ranked Kiwi Piera Hudson was holding sixth place in 56.86 after her first run, but failed to finish the second.
The men’s first ANC giant slalom will be held tomorrow followed by the women’s second ANC giant slalom. The slalom events scheduled for Wednesday (August 30) and Thursday (August 31) will be relocated to the Rocky Gully Race Arena.
“We are making the shift to preserve the Out Wide course for the men’s second giant slalom on Friday (September 1),” said Hazeldine.