Hawke's Bay snowski racer Aidan Wilkins has been selected for a January training camp in Switzerland after a top three finish at the recent Whakapapa-hosted North Island championship.
Wilkins, 8, finished third in the 9 years and under section in an event which attracted the best skiers from throughout the country. Wilkins displayed the benefits of recent coaching stints with Ruapehu Snow Sports head coach Grant Stockman.
A former coach of Central Hawke's Bay's 2011 Sportsperson of the Year, Piera Hudson, Stockman, had 10 back-to-back seasons of coaching in Switzerland and in January will take Wilkins and four others skiers from Whakapapa to Switzerland where they will train with members of the Switzerland junior team.
While Ruapehu is often seen as a poor cousin to the South Island fields, Stockman is quick to point out many of New Zealand's top racers started their careers at Ruapehu.
"Consistently the majority of our best skiers have come from Ruapehu and you are always proud to be from here.
"Down south you have the main mountains, there is a strong base of ski racing there and it's very well set up. Here, we have to use what is available but that's a positive thing," Stockman said.
After his North Island championship campaign Wilkins competed in the annual Hawke's Bay championships and won the under-14 boys section which saw Henry Mossman and Josh Richard finish second and third respectively. Wilkins had the third fastest overall time in the championships which catered for under-18 skiers.
Jonathan Sohnge won the Hawke's Bay under-18 boys championship which saw Joseph Wellwood and Alex Ross-Smith finish second and third respectively. Mia Sohnge won the Bay's under-14 girls title ahead of second placed Sarah Van Nes and Penny Wilson (third).
Alice West took out the Hawke's Bay under-18 girls championship from Emma Ross-Smith (second) and Emma Spender (third).