by St Paul's Collegiate School

Skiers hit the slopes

The St Paul's ski team have been spending the better part of their weekends on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, preparing for the competition season.

Waikato Secondary Schools Ski Championships

After two months training in heavy rain, ice, wind and blizzard-like conditions, the St Paul’s ski team was well prepared to face the Waikato Secondary School Ski Championships on 30 August.

Our 18 skiers took to the Turoa Ski Field for the challenging banked slalom course that saw each skier complete two runs.

With over 60 boys and 50 girls competing from secondary schools across the Waikato, it was a long day of racing in heavy rain and snow, with limited visibility.

The St Paul’s ski team excelled in their commitment and effort with Henry Mandeno (Year 13) placing first in the boys’ banked slalom event.

Callum Shepherd (Year 13) placed fifth and Lachlan Coleman (Year 12), sixth – to see three of our skiers place in the top ten of the boys’ competition.

Other notable successes included Frankie Smith (Year 11) who was the seventh fastest girl on the mountain and Sam Ladbrook (Year 9) who put in the tenth fastest run.

North Island Secondary Schools' Ski Championships

With high hopes and two of our strongest teams for some years, the St Paul’s Ski Team headed to the mountain on Saturday, 14 September, with a significant detour to the Tihoi Venture School, as it celebrated its 40th birthday party.

With last minute preparations on Sunday at Whakapapa, the team was pumped and primed to compete at this year's North Island Secondary Schools Ski Championships.

However, as has often been the case this year, the weather turned against us and despite the sunshine, high winds kept all the lifts closed on Monday. On Tuesday snow and rain along with poor visibility, joined with the wind and once again access to the mountain was denied to us.

On Wednesday, it was all systems go. On a beautiful bluebird mountain day, the giant slalom courses were open to competitors from 10:00am with senior girls and senior boys competing on the same course, with separate courses for junior boys and junior girls.

St Pauls submitted two teams this year, captained by Henry Mandeno:

Team A: Henry Mandeno, Callum Shepherd, Sam Cox, Jazzabel Russell and Angus Gower

Team B: Joseph Grigg, Riley Wills, Sam Ladbrook, William Mollard and Frankie Smith

Unfortunately, Frankie Smith did not compete due to a knee injury occurring on Monday.

Henry Mandeno was awarded the prestigious position of going first in the senior boys' competition and during his final high school ski racing competition finished in a very respectable 6th position in the Senior Boys category in which over 70 senior boys competed.

In a field of over 140 skiers, junior boys Angus Gower and Sam Ladbrook performed well, achieving 22nd and 30th positions respectively.

Our training trips to the mountain were rewarded at NISSSC, despite fierce competition from some very competitive teams, with almost semi-professional training programmes in place: St Paul’s senior and junior ski team were placed jointly 17th overall which is a significant achievement, with over 100 teams in the competition.

It’s been a great season and all of our skiers are to be congratulated for their commitment to their sport and the fantastic team spirit generated this season. Thank you to Reverend Peter Rickman and Mr Blair Heaton for accompanying the students to this competition and giving them this wonderful opportunity.