Ruapehu’s big air leg­end re­mem­bered

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STUFF.CO.NZ

The big­gest names in the New Zealand freestyle snow sports scene hit Mt Ruapehu on Satur­day in mem­ory of one of this coun­try’s freeski le­gends.

The in­au­gu­ral Tom Camp­bell Memo­rial Big Air event saw NZ Win­ter Olympians and X Games medal­lists throw tricks off a huge 60ft+ jump at Turoa ski field.

The event was judged by kiwi snow sports su­per­stars Jossi Wells & Beau-James Wells and was MC’d by NZ Win­ter Olympian By­ron Wells.

Turoa ex­pe­ri­enced over 4,400 guests on the ski area, which in­cluded a huge crowd to watch the ath­letes put on a show. Ath­letes in­cluded X Games Medal­list’s James ‘Woodsy’ Woods, Miguel Por­te­ous, Jack­son Wells and Red Bull ath­lete Nico Por­te­ous.

Mt Ruapehu Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Matt McIvor said Tom brought the good weather.

‘‘After fresh snow this week we had a nice win­dow of clear weather and no wind for the ath­letes to throw tricks for the crowds.’’

Ath­letes were jump­ing over Tom’s ashes and a snow groomer named ‘the Black Pearl’, driven by Turoa Groom­ing and Trails Man­ager Fred Camp­bell, Tom’s fa­ther.

The NZ Win­ter Olympians and pro­fes­sional ath­letes signed posters at the end of the day for the pub­lic.

Renowned as ‘‘Ohakune’s favourite son’’, 27-year-old Tom Camp­bell was killed in a car ac­ci­dent in June this year.

Tom grew up in the cen­tral North Is­land town at the foot of Mt Ruapehu and fol­low­ing in the footsteps of his fa­ther Fred, who is Turoa’s cur­rent Trails and Groom­ing Man­ager, he showed a talent for driv­ing snow groomers on the mountain from an early age.

McIvor said Tom was unique in that he skied every­thing he built.

‘‘Even the 85 to 100 foot big airs,’’ he said.

‘‘He was of­ten the first to try his new cre­ations to en­sure they were rid­ing su­perbly for other skiers and snow­board­ers.’’

McIvor said Tom’s death was felt around the world and the Big Air event of­fered those who knew him a chance to cel­e­brate his life, and show their re­spect for the work he did, which he loved.

Mt Ruapehu is aim­ing to make the Tom Camp­bell Memo­rial Big Air an an­nual event.

* Re­sults: Mens Open Ski di­vi­sion - Luke Hughes

Mens Open Snow­board di­vi­sion – Leon Thomp­son

Male Un­der 16yrs Snow­board di­vi­sion – Noah Wot­ton

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