All four Wells brothers are aiming for the 2018 Olympics
The fresh-faced freeskier BeauJames Wells has arrived back in Wanaka after finishing the most successful season of his so far short career.
Finishing sixth in the freeski half-pipe event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games was the proudest moment of the year, the 18-year-old said.
After the games he went on to win the World Junior Freeski Half Pipe Championships in Italy and earn the second place world ranking overall in the Association of Freeskiing Professionals.
This season’s training at his favourite stomping ground at Cardrona Alpine Resort will concentrate on strengthening his both way double cork on half pipe and jumps and comfortably landing a triple corks.
‘‘It’s definitely my favourite (ski resort),’’ Wells said.
However, there would be no slowing down for him or his family as they were determined to become the first in history to have four members qualify for the Winter Olympics in Korea in 2018.
Older brother Jossi, who arrives back from the United States in August, finished fourth
in the Olympic halfpipe and second oldest Byron had to pull out due to injury. All three were working toward the Olympics and hoped youngest brother Jackson would join them.
In the short term it was hoped they could clean sweep the podium at the freeski halfpipe event New Zealand Open in August.
Beau-James said a key ingredient to the family’s success was having their father Bruce as their coach.
‘‘I wouldn’t want anyone else as my coach. The five of us together is the best coaching, learning environment to be around,’’ he said.
The rivalry between the brothers was strong, so they pushed each other.
However, ‘‘if you don’t do well, you know someone else (another brother) has,’’ he said.
Beau-James said being thrown into the spotlight during the Olympics was unexpected but he did not let it affect his performance.
Nor did comments by a sports writer saying ‘‘it’s like watching Kiwis on an expensive ski holiday’’.
‘‘She was just a bit uneducated,’’ BeauJames said. ‘‘For us as a family we didn’t take much notice . . . We all ride the best when we are having a good time,’’ he said.
Winter Games New Zealand sit skier silver medallist Corey Peters, who won a medal in the Giant Slalom event, said this season for him would involve testing new shocks on his sit ski to improve his
New Zealand sit skier Corey Peters holds the silver medal he won in the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in the Giant Slalom event. Peters has returned to Wanaka is amped to start training. race performances.
The shock under the seat was ‘‘critical for a ski skier. It’s like a knee,’’ he said.
Peters only picked up the sport in 2011 after he bought sit ski equipment at an expo without attempting to try it out.
In September 2009 Peters was involved in a motorbike crash at a competition, badly damaging his vertebrae and crushing the spinal cord by 80 per cent, resulting in paralysis.
‘‘Considering I’ve winged it, I’ve done pretty well,’’ he said.
The next 12 months will be used to build up to the games in 2018.
There were no competitions in New Zealand this season for Peters and he would return to international competitions in December with the pinnacle event, the World Championships, being held early next year.
Going into the Winter Olympics with no expectations hanging over his head helped with his performance.
Six months out from the event everything was ‘‘starting to click. I knew inside myself I had the speed and ability,’’ he said.
He will be chasing more medals in future.
‘‘We’ll go for a different colour. Go for gold,’’ Peters said.
Back in Black: Wanaka’s own freeskiing sensation BeauJames Wells taking a break at home before mountain training kicks off next month.