Three exceptional Para alpine skiers selected to represent New Zealand at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games
Paralympians Adam Hall and Corey Peters, and Para athlete Aaron Ewen have been selected by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) to the New Zealand Paralympic Team heading to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games which begin on 4 March next year.
In addition, the following New Zealand Paralympic Team support staff have been selected, PNZ Chef de Mission – Jane Stevens, Deputy Chef de Mission – Lynette Grace, Head Coach – Ben Adams, and Assistant Coach – Scott Palmer with further appointments to be made at a later stage.
The selection announcement was made today in a ceremony hosted by Macpac at their W?naka store. The outdoor recreational apparel and equipment brand is a new Official Supplier to Paralympics New Zealand, supporting the New Zealand Paralympic Team.
The three Para alpine skiers are thrilled with the opportunity to represent New Zealand once again on the world stage.
Today’s selection announcement is particularly moving for Ewen after being forced to withdraw from the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games team following a fractured hip while training in the lead up to the Paralympics. He made a successful comeback during the 2019 NZ winter and achieved podium finishes in the Southern Hemisphere Cups. Ewen competes with a sit-ski in the classification LW11.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,“ explains Ewen. “I can’t wait to get to Beijing and know I’ve finally made it to the Winter Paralympics.“
Paralympian #158 Adam Hall MNZM is looking forward to showing his skills against a challenging course in Beijing as the Xiaohaituo Mountain Area has one of the steepest racetracks in the world. Hall competes across a number of standing Para alpine ski events, in the classification LW1. Beijing 2022 will be his fifth consecutive Paralympic Winter Games. Hall said:
“New Zealand always punches above its weight for a small country. Let’s prove we can do that again.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the course in Beijing. The course will really challenge athletes and their abilities. That’s to my advantage – I love to pit myself against difficult tracks; it’s more fun than a plain sailing track that everyone is equally capable of completing.“
For Paralympian #188 Corey Peters, Beijing 2022 is a chance to build on the medals he won in the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. He competes across a number of events with a sit-ski, which he learnt to use following a spinal cord injury (classification LW12-1).
Peters appreciates the advantage that a specialist support team provides:
“It’s all about the team. The coaches, physios and whole Beijing 2022 team are world class professionals. It’s an individual event, but the support team is vital to winning. What that does is help us focus. We can do what we do best without distractions. As an athlete, you can just go out and perform at your best.“
Chef de Mission Jane Stevens agrees. Stevens can usually be found on slopes coaching adaptive snow sports in her role as Adaptive Snow Sports Manager at Snow Sports NZ.
“I am so excited to be able to support these three fantastic athletes to give their best, at what is the pinnacle for them in their sport. They are incredible representatives of what New Zealand can do, and what life with a disability can look like. Adam, Corey and Aaron will inspire a new generation of snow sports enthusiasts – both disabled and not. I urge all New Zealanders to show their support by making sure to catch their performances on TV.“
Stevens’ lifelong vocation has been empowering disabled people to enjoy snow sports. A veteran who has coached Para athletes through more than one Winter Paralympics, Stevens is elated to be appointed to the Chef de Mission role for what will be a Winter Paralympics with unique challenges:
“It is an absolute privilege to be Chef de Mission for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. This will be a Winter Paralympics unlike any we’ve had before. The physical and mental wellbeing of every Paralympian, Para athlete and support staff member is the number one priority for PNZ, and our planning reflects that. Beijing 2022 and the IPC are committed to delivering the Winter Paralympics in a COVID-safe environment, and we are working closely with them whilst fully ensuring our own high safety standards are met.“
The New Zealand Paralympic Team will depart New Zealand later this month for the northern hemisphere competitions in Canada and Europe.
Paralympian #158 Adam Hall MNZM
Adam is a two-time Paralympic gold medallist and has competed at four Paralympic Winter Games. Diagnosed at birth with spina bifida – a disability that typically leaves people in a wheelchair – Adam says he’s “lucky” because he is mobile and able to walk. In 2011, he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZOM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to sport.
Following on from his gold medal in the men’s standing Slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Games Adam added a bronze medal in Super Combined at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang before winning his second gold medal in Slalom. Adam was bestowed with an incredible honour when he was announced as winner of the Whang Yuon Dai Achievement Award. This is presented to only one male and one female Paralympian at each Paralympic Games who best exemplify the spirit of the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic values.
When he’s not on snow Adam also enjoys biking, kayaking, golf and anything outdoors.
Paralympian #188 Corey Peters
Corey claimed a silver medal in Giant Slalom at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games and added a bronze medal in Downhill at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. At the 2019 Para Alpine Skiing World Championships Corey achieved a fourth-place finish in Downhill. Corey was named Snow Sports NZ Overall Athlete of the Year in 2014 and Adaptive Snow Sports Athlete of the Year in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.
Corey’s results are made all the more impressive given the fact that he only took up sit-skiing in 2011. The former Taranaki age group and development squad rugby representative’s life was turned upside down in September 2009 when he sustained a crushed spinal cord at a motocross event.
Corey now spends his Northern Hemisphere seasons training in Winter Park in the USA and travelling throughout Europe and North America to compete. Back in New Zealand he splits his time between his home base in New Plymouth and training at Cardrona Alpine Resort and at the High Performance Sport New Zealand/Snow Sports NZ Training Centre in Wanaka.
Para athlete Aaron Ewen
In February 2013, shortly after Aaron’s 16th birthday, he suffered a huge crash while competing in downhill mountain biking, sustaining a spinal cord injury which left him without movement in his legs. Not one to be held back or miss out on fun, just six months after his accident Aaron tried out sit skiing for the first time. His mates took him up to Mt Ruapehu for a ski lesson and a new passion was born.
Aaron gained his first international podiums in February 2017 with third places in GS and Slalom at IPCAS races in Park City, USA. He was selected to the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games team for Pyeongchang but had to withdraw due to injury. He made a successful comeback during the 2019 NZ winter and achieved podium finishes in the Southern Hemisphere Cups, including third in Super-G and second in the Slalom.
Support Staff biographies
Jane Stevens, Chef de Mission
Jane is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience in adaptive snow sports having specialised in the area for over 35 years. She plays a critical leadership role with the New Zealand High Performance Para athletes through event entry, coaching assistance and operational organisation. Jane has coached in NZ and around the world.
Previously Jane has been the Head Coach of the British Disabled Ski Team, she is the Adaptive Course Manager for the NZSIA (New Zealand Ski Instructors Alliance) and holds qualifications in NZSIA, BASI and the Canadian System. Jane sits as the Australasia representative on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Jane sits on the World Para Alpine Skiing Technical Committee of the IPC representing Asia and Oceania.
Jane has been with Snow Sports NZ for over ten years and has been an integral part of the Adaptive Program and the athletes Paralympic success over the past four Winter Paralympics. Previous PNZ roles include Head Coach for the NZ team for the 2006 Torino Paralympics and Assistant coach 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympics.
Lynette Grace, Deputy Chef de Mission
As Games and Sports Manager with Paralympics New Zealand since 2014, Lynette has a wealth of experience and knowledge in creating high performance environments that support athlete success. Lynette was Deputy Chef de Mission for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and has attended two prior Paralympic Games in 2016 and 2018 within management roles. She is excited to continue her leadership role within the New Zealand Paralympic Team.
Ben Adams, Head Coach
Ben Adams is the Head Paralympic Coach for the Para Alpine Ski High Performance Programme and has long taken care of members of the New Zealand Paralympic Team. Ben has worked hard to strengthen the athletes’ technique and consistency, resulting in many podium finishes at top events. Ben has taught skiing in New Zealand, USA, Canada, France, Switzerland, Austria and Japan. Ben transfers this depth of adaptive experience working as an examiner and trainer for the NZSIA. Ben was named as a member of the IPC Alpine Skiing Coaches Advisory Group for the 2016-17 season.
Scott Palmer, Assistant Coach
Scott has been teaching skiing since 2009, having first trained through ITC in the Otago Polytechnic programme in 2008. Since then Scott has worked at Cardrona and heads to Park City, USA for the Northern winters. Over the years Scott has broadened his knowledge by achieving his children’s, freestyle, snowboarding and adaptive certifications. Now he works as an Instructor and Trainer at Cardrona and looks after Cardrona’s adaptive programme. Scott is also an active Examiner with the NZSIA.