Disabled Skier Scoops Top Award 6 Oct 1999


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 Breckenridge, Colorado.

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 January.

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 event.

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: Rainbow Valley.

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.

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