Barwood, Hudson claim back-to-back National titles in New Zealand

The New Zealand Alpine National Championships hosted at Coronet Peak, got underway with a large international field of 59 ladies and 95 men competing in giant slalom. Adam Barwood and Piera Hudson were crowned national champions, only to repeat their triumphs only days later in slalom.

Giant slalom

The ladies were the first to race with Robinson starting in bib three and making short work of a fast and straight course set to clock a time of 52.76 seconds and secure a lead.With Piera Hudson just 0.40 seconds back in second place, the scene was set for a tight battle for the national title. Run two got underway after a course reset with Hudson finding herself more at home on the “turnier” course and laying down a good second run. Robinson was next in the start gate but a mistake on the third last gate would cause her to ski out , leaving Hudson unchallenged the national title.

In the men’s field Willis Feasey finished his first run just 0.05 seconds ahead of teammate Adam Barwood and knew he had work still to do to secure the top step of the podium. Flat light added to the challenge for the men’s second run, but NZL’s Adam Barwood was able to iron out a few mistakes and jump ahead of teammate Willis Feasey to claim the national title, finishing eleventh overall. Feasey dropped back in to 14th overall but held on to a place on the national podium, second fastest Kiwi. Tai Juneau finished third amongst Kiwi men with a significantly stronger second run which saw him move from 40th place to finish 26th overall.

Slalom

Warm temperatures overnight created soft snow conditions, and Hudson was happy to be the first racer on course. “I got a lucky draw with bib one today with the soft conditions,” she said. Hudson made the most of the advantage and laid down the fastest first run in the women’s field. As the leader of the first run, Hudson started 30th in run two and had to battle the ruts to make it to the finish line. A few mistakes on the bumpy course cost her the overall lead, putting her in sixth place, but she still claimed the national ladies’ slalom title. 

In the men’s field, defending NZ champion Adam Barwood never looked in too much danger of relinquishing his title so long as he could hold on in the tricky snow conditions. After the first run, Barwood was placed fifth with Willis Feasey the closest of his teammates way back in 19th place. A mistake on the bottom half of the course on run two would put an end to Feasey’s second run charge for the men’s national championship title while Barwood hung on, dropping back to eighth overall but managing to retain the men’s slalom title for another year.