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Former Olympian Steals The Limelight At New Zealand Skiing Masters At Coronet Peak

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Former Olympian Steals The Limelight At New Zealand Skiing Masters At Coronet Peak

Former Olympian Kate Rattray (Christchurch) successfully defended her title at the New Zealand Skiing Masters at Coronet Peak (August 7-8) to take the combined trophy for downhill, giant slalom and slalom.

Forty-six-year-old Rattray proved unbeatable once again clearly winning all three events which are decided on age handicap.

"We are delighted that Kate keeps returning to compete at the New Zealand Skiing Masters," said co-ordinator Fraser Skinner. "She is such a talented skier and it is exciting to have someone of her calibre in the field."

The event attracted more than 80 entries with the oldest competitor 82-year-old Frank Baddeley (Christchurch) taking the silver medal in the giant slalom behind 80-year-old Paul Bush (Canterbury) who won gold in the 80-85-year-old age group.

Baddeley who has been a long time supporter of masters ski racing has agreed to become patron of the New Zealand Skiing Masters.

"This is fantastic for the organisation," said Skinner. "Frank represents the true spirit of masters racing and his role as patron will be significant."

The men's over-55 combined trophy was won by Thomas Kronthaler 61 of the United States who competed in the event for the second consecutive year. The under-55 combined title went to Mark Vryenhoek 49 (Queenstown).

Jon Wardrop 51 (Auckland) won the men's under-55 giant slalom trophy.

The signature event was the downhill, which runs from the top of Coronet Peak's M1 to the bottom. Skinner considered it was the best course ever set during the 22-year history of the New Zealand Skiing Masters.

"The drawcard for many of the competitors is the opportunity to race a downhill. It is the only masters event of its kind in New Zealand and the course this year was absolutely outstanding, thanks to the preparation by the Coronet Peak race department. Everyone who entered completed the course and we had incredible feedback following the race."

Rattray won the women's downhill in 1.06.54 while the winner of the men's event on handicap was 72- year-old Walter Unterberger (Nelson), who received the Danny Reid Memorial trophy, after putting in a very competitive run of 1.07.76. The fastest run overall was recorded by Richard Hanson 35 (Queenstown) in 1.02.82 just pipping Mike Robbins 55 (Canada) who clocked 1.02.95.

A feature was the involvement of the US Men's Head Coach Sasha Rearick who set the first run for the giant slalom.

"To have Sasha, who is based in the area with some of his athletes, take time out of his busy schedule to set us a course was a real coup," said Skinner who looks forward to an even greater following for next year's New Zealand Skiing Masters.

"We also plan to increase training opportunities for masters skiers by working with Coronet Peak to ensure quality training is available for competitors who want to undertake pre-race instruction prior to the event.

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