Jossi Wells wins top snow sports award

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS - MAR­JORIE COOK SNOW AWARDS SPORTS NZ

Af­ter 10 years kick­ing around at the top of the world in his sport, Wanaka freeskier Jossi Wells, 26, ticked off a ca­reer goal in Aspen in Jan­uary when he won an X-Games slopestyle gold medal.

It capped a re­mark­able come­back from a bro­ken neck in 2014 and earned Wells his third Snow Sports NZ over­all ath­lete of the year award on Satur­day.

The awards ac­knowl­edged the achieve­ments of snow sports ath­letes dur­ing the 2015/16 North­ern Hemi­sphere sea­son and the 2016 South­ern Hemi­sphere sea­son.

They were de­liv­ered in 12 categories to adap­tive, de­vel­op­ing and elite ath­letes com­pet­ing in events such as World Cups, Win­ter Youth Olympics, Freeride World Qual­i­fier Tours and the X Games.

Wells is re­garded as New Zealand’s most suc­cess­ful and ver­sa­tile win­ter ath­lete.

He is the old­est of Stacey and Bruce Wells’ four free-ski­ing sons (the oth­ers are By­ron, Beau James and Jack­son) and they are coached by their fa­ther.

The Olympian and six-time X Games medal­list learned to ski at Cardrona when he was two years old and has been mak­ing waves in the freeski world since he was nine.

Wells started out as a ski racer but switched to freeski­ing when he was 15.

He has now won medals in all three X Games freeski dis­ci­plines – big air, half­pipe, slopestyle – and was the only ath­lete to com­pete in both half­pipe and slopestyle at the 2014 Olympic Win­ter Games, plac­ing fourth in half­pipe.

The guest speaker was US snow board coach Bud Keene.

In­struc­tor of the Year: Justin Stod­dard (Auck­land); Men’s Masters Ski Rac­ing Cham­pion: Jon Wardrop (Auck­land); Women’s Masters Ski Rac­ing Cham­pion: Bonny Teat (Wanaka); Coach of the Year: Sean Thomp­son (Queen­stown); Break­through Sea­son: Finn Bilous (Wanaka); Cross Coun­try Ath­lete of the Year: Campbell Wright (Wanaka); Alpine Ski Racer Ath­lete of the Year: Wil­lis Feasey (Twizel); Adap­tive Snow Sports Ath­lete of the Year: Corey Peters (New Ply­mouth); Freeride Ath­lete of the Year: Sam Lee (Wanaka); Snow­boarder of the Year: Christy Prior (Kauka­pakapa); Freeskier of the Year and Over­all Ath­lete: Jossi Wells (Wanaka).

ROSS MCKAY

Wanaka freeskier Jossi Wells is Snow Sports NZ’s over­all ath­lete of the year.

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