Aug 13

Coronet snow ‘world class’

A top ski coach has described snow conditions on Coronet Peak skifield as “world class”.

Chris Knight, speed coach for the United States women’s ski team, is in New Zealand for a two-week training camp with American Olympic gold medallist Lindsey Vonn.

The pair arrived in Queenstown after a stint at Roundhill ski area near Lake Tekapo.

Mr Knight told the Otago Daily Times the skifield, near Arthurs Point, was ideal for training.

“You can get a lot of runs in in a short space of time with the T-bars. There are not a lot of people around so you get high volume.

“Today was world-class actually. We got very lucky with the temperatures and snow conditions. It was very hard, icy snow which is exactly what we like to train on.”

This is the first training camp of the season ahead of northern hemisphere winter competitions. Vonn completed six weeks of “physical training” before arriving in New Zealand.

While in the resort she will work on technical elements for giant slalom and slalom skiing, test out new equipment and train at a low altitude.

Mr Knight, who is originally from Christchurch, said conditions allowed for high-intensity race drills.

He described the 32-year-old as being in good shape.

Vonn departs next week for South America where she will complete a speed training camp ahead of the Alpine Ski World Cup in Canada at the end of the year.

She trained in the resort two years ago — but an injury meant she was unable to make the trip last year.

However, the world-class ski racer has skied in Queenstown since she was about 16.

She previously told Mountain Scene it is one of her favourite places in the world.

“It’s so beautiful and the landscape is incredible and there’s just no other place like it,” she said during her last visit.

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