Team News from the East Coast, USA 24 Jan 2000


The New Zealand team awoke to a bitterly cold windy morning in Waterville Valley on the day of the Eastern Disabled nationals Super-G.

Most of the US Disabled ski team were there along with the Winter Park Disabled ski team who had a compliment of 18 there were also 15 local independents. With a total field of 40 men and 15 women there was a good turn out for the event.

The snow conditions were firm but not icy for the super-G. The course was set over rolling terrain with two good steep pitches in the middle of the course and two nasty rolls within five gates of the finish.

The last roll on the course claimed a third of the women's field including New Zealand's own Sue Walker and guide Dave Gardiner. Racheal Battersby skied the course strongly and hung on over the roll to end up in third place in the stand up class bring home New Zealand's first and by no mean the last medal for the week.

It was no less merciless on the men causing 5 men to crash, 13 men to be pulled from the start and 2 injuries resulting in a trip to hospital. New Zealand's Matt Butson and Steve Bayley were among the first on course to succumb to the roll resulting in a DNF for both skiers. They were both lucky to get away with only minor scrapes and bruises.

It was still very cold on the morning on the GS but the wind had dissipated to nothing which made the inspections bearable. The rolls had also been shaved to ensure a safer course for every one. The courses were well set again and on firm snow conditions. Everyone fared a little better today and all the New Zealanders finished strongly in their respective classes.

Racheal Battersby skied strongly and finished third again to complete the double . Sue Walker and guide Dave Gardiner also skied well to clinch first place in the visually impaired class.

The New Zealand men also finished well with Steve Bayley narrowly edging out US team member Sage Betty in the second run for the silver medal in the Stand up Class. Matt Butson skied tentatively due to injuries from the previous day but skied well to finish 5th in the Stand up class. Kevin O’Sullivan skied solidly for his first race of the season and finished 9th in the Stand up class.

The morning of the slalom dawned clear and calm but with 6 to 8 inches of fresh powder on the course which had to be slipped away through to the icy hard base. This combination of conditions left big ruts and soft berms to deal with on a low line and bullet proof ice to deal with on the high line so any mistakes in the skiers line was not forgiven by the course. This was especially felt by the mono skiers on the US team.

Racheal Battersby skied very strongly with two excellent runs to clinch third and the hat trick. Three for three a personal best for Miss Battersby who was well rewarded for her strong skiing during the week. Sue Walker and guide Dave Gardiner had another excellent day and were well pleased with a gold medal in the visually impaired class for the second day in a row. The

New Zealand men had another good day with mat Butson having two blistering runs to come home with the silver medal in the stand up class and third over all. Kevin O’Sullivan skied solidly again and came 9th in the stand up class. Steve Bayley had problems on both runs, loosing his pole on the first run and blowing out of the second run resulting in a DNF.

All in all a good week with valuable lessons learned and experience gained.


Thanks again from all the team.

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