Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Ski season continues at a pace in Thredbo

Australia breaks new ground by hosting the first IPC Alpine Skiing competition from the Australian Alps, featuring big names Mitchell Gourlay, Jon Santacana and Henrietta Farkasova. 01 Sep 2013
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A picture of a man skiing on the slopes

Mitch Gourley is one of Australia's top alpine skiier heading into the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

ⒸMarcus Hartmann
By IPC

Gourlay will also be looking to finish top in the first giant slalom standing competition of the season, after the disappointment of not finishing the course at the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina in February.

Some of the world’s top skiers head to Thredbo, Australia from Monday (2 September), where Australia will host their first ever IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup.

Athletes have already kicked off the season in style in style in Coronet Peak and Mount Hutt, New Zealand where they posted some convincing performances ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games which begin on March 5.

Amongst those heading to the Australian Alps will be Mitchell Gourlay, currently ranked number two in the world in the men’s slalom standing class behind New Zealand’s Adam Hall after the first two competitions. Hall does not travel to Thredbo, taking a break after competing on home slopes, so Gourlay may be able to gain back some ground on his native snow.

Gourlay will also be looking to finish top in the first giant slalom standing competition of the season, after the disappointment of not finishing the course at the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina in February.

Team mate Melissa Perrine sits atop the world rankings in the super-combined after the second world cup in Mount Hutt this week, and heads down the mountain in the women’s slalom and giant slalom visually impaired races with guide Andrew Bor, also in anger for the first time this season.

Team USA meanwhile send the biggest team, featuring Perrine’s rival Danielle Umstead with guide and husband Rob. Following Umstead down will be Staci Mannella and guide Kim Seevers. Umstead and Manella currently block-out the top two spots in the world rankings.

Slovakian Henrietta Farkasova picked up gold in the women’s slalom visually impaired class in La Molina, and may spoil all of Team USA’s fun as she opens her season at Thredbo with guide Natalia Subrtova.

USA’s Stephanie Victor and Laurie Stephens would also like to continue their early dominance in the women’s slalom sitting class as well starting their giant slalom campaign, as well as Tyler Walker in the men’s who sits equal first in the slalom with Canadian Josh Dueck.

New Zealander Corey Peters sits equal third after taking the home advantage in the first two world cup events held in his home country.

Double world champion Spaniard Jon Santacana heads out in the men’s slalom and giant slalom visually impaired class on his road to Sochi with guide Miguel Galindo Garces. Closet rival Alessandro Daldoss currently leads the standings and forms Italy’s only entry in Thredbo, whilst Santacana sits in third behind team mate Gabriel Juan Gorce Yepes who does not travel to Australia.

Team GB have had a good opening few weeks for their 2013/14 season, with Benjamin Sneesby heading out well in the men’s slalom sitting class and Heather Mills gaining good ground in the slalom sitting races in New Zealand. Both will compete in the giant slalom.

South Africa’s only foray into snowsports is led by former para-trooper Kingsley Ward, hoping to qualify for Sochi in the men’s slalom sitting class.

The next edition of the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup series from Thredbo starts tomorrow (2 September) until 5 September, before a short break and move to the northern hemisphere in Panorama, Canada on 8 January.

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