Winter sports are a bit of a subculture in New Zealand and are not always at the forefront when one thinks of Kiwi competition. With that said, winter sports are gaining momentum, and popularity, in today’s world. The most popular winter sports are skiing and snowboarding , which each have several subcategories.
Skiing, for example, is something at which Kiwis tend to excel. Both Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, and Nico Porteous, received bronze medals at the PyeongChang Olympics that took place last year. On a smaller, but still impressive scale, 19-year-old Finn Bilous, who is a Kiwi freeskier from the region of Wanaka, has received a medal at the Winter Games. He also won the halfpipe title at world juniors as well.
Several types of skiing and snowboarding are popular among local athletes. For skiers who are looking to do so on the North Island, Whakapapa and Turoa are commercial resorts, that allow both athletes and leisure, or sports, skiers to take advantage. For those on the South Island; Wanaka, Queenstown and Christchurch are the best towns and cities with direct mountain access. There are also non-commercial places to visit in the North and South Islands, namely in the Southern Alps. Field skiing is prevalent in this region as well.
Athletes that have made a name for themselves on the international scene include Mitch Brown, his sister Kendall Brown and Jacob Koia. These three are all snowboarders. Skiiers whose names are internationally known include Claudia Riegler and Annelise Coberger, who are both proud medalists and Kiwis!
The mountains in New Zealand are too beautiful not to take advantage of. Winter athletes from New Zealand have excellent conditions for training, and there is undoubtedly an increase in popularity, and focus, on these exciting winter sports, including free skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding, as well as less conventional or mainstream games as well.