|by Tim Dunbar
For the second
straight year a disabled athlete has been
named New Zealand Skier of the Year with
Canterbury’s Steve Bayley honoured in the
annual snow sports awards.
Bayley, 28, received the prestigious
trophy at the New Zealand Ski Council’s
Amarula-sponsored awards dinner at the Hotel
Grand Chancellor in Christchurch last night.
Last northern winter Bayley competed for
the first time in the new disabled alpine
FIS World Cup circuit, and finished sixth
overall in the four disciplines with the
highlight his gold in the downhill finals at
The 1998 Nagano Paralympic giant slalom
bronze medallist also competed in
able-bodied races on the New Zealand FIS
circuit this winter.
A member of the national disabled ski
team, Bayley learned to ski at Mount
Olympus, but now trains at Wanaka during the
domestic winter. He has his eye on winning
two medals at the 2000 disabled world
championships in Anzere, Switzerland, in
Bayley lost his right leg below the knee
five years ago after being in a car which
lost a wheel and hit a power pole returning
from Porter Heights.
When he awoke from the anaesthetic his
first reported words were "Now I can go to
the disabled Olympics." He was back on skis
within 2 ½ months.
Bayley also won the Disabled New Zealand
Skier of the Year award.
Julianne Bray, from Tawa, was named
Snowboarder of the Year after sweeping just
about all the half-pipe and big air
competitions she entered.
New Zealand Freestyle Skier of the Year
was Mark Hunter, of Upper Hutt, after his
very consistent results on the national
mogul (bumps) tour.
Hunter, 21, was the overall winner of the
New Zealand tour, and the only New Zealand
open men’s skier to make finals in every
The detailed list of NZ
Ski Council snow sports awards:
Skier of the Year: Steve
Bayley (Chch), Snowboard of the Year:
Julianne Bray (Tawa), Freestyle Skier of the
Year: Mark Hunter (Upper Hutt), Contribution
to snow sports: John and Mary Lee (Cardrona
Valley), Ski area of the year service award:
National champions of 1999
honoured were: Free skiing: Sarah Newman,
Geoff Small. Cross-country: Kerri McArthur,
Sam Lee. Freestyle moguls: Annabel Wilson,
Mark Hunter. Snowboarding half-pipe:
Julianne Bray, Deni Bevan. Boarder cross:
Rene Hollis, Richard Hunt. Giant slalom: Lee
O’Connor, Greg Prouse. Alpine ski-racing:
Erika McLeod, Todd Haywood. Disabled Skier
of the Year: Steve Bayley.