Dane Kirk- 2015 Recipient

Dear Perago Trustees,
Hi.  I am writing today to give you an update on how I have been going with my training and competition in men’s freeski slopestyle, and what my plan is looking forward.  I am currently one of the athletes identified by Snow Sports NZ as being a contender for the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle team at the upcoming Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics 2018.

 As I wrote in my application late last year, I had a very successful season in the NZ winter, in which I qualified to do World Cup events in Men’s Freeski Slopestyle.  Consequently, the focus of the Northern Hemisphere season (16/17) was doing the World Cup circuit.  There were 5 events on the circuit (Font Romeu, France;  Seiser Alm, Italy;  Mammoth Mountain, California;  Quebec City, Quebec; and Silvaplana, Switzerland) followed by the World Cup Champs in Sierra Nevada, Spain.  

 To prepare for the circuit, I mixed, trained, and shared ideas in Colorado with some of the top international men’s slopestyle skiers, and was satisfied that I had a good competitive run sorted for the World Cup comps.  When I began competing in Europe I found that I wasn’t landing my middle slopestyle jump, a switch dub, which is a difficult trick that I know I can do.  This technical issue messed up my whole run.  I consequently achieved lower scores than what I know I am capable of.  I found it extremely frustrating, and I was pretty bummed about not doing what I knew I could.  Being an intense competition schedule, there wasn’t time to get this technical issue sorted before the remaining World Cups.

Men’s ski slopestyle at Mammoth ended up being cancelled due to adverse weather, and then there was Quebec City, where I did marginally better, but still I was frustrated at not doing my best.  So at that point I made the decision to go back to Breckenridge, Colorado, to train.  It was a good decision, and I felt that that time really helped me to consolidate my training and my tricks.  I remained in Colorado (training) until coming back to NZ at the end of March (slightly early as I was best man at my brother’s wedding on 1st April).

Although the World Cups didn’t go as well as I had hoped, if I am to look at the positives I did get an appreciation of how demanding the World Cup circuit is travel-wise, and will be aware of this in the future.  I also realised the extreme variability in slopestyle courses even at World Cup level, so as always, experience is paramount.

Since coming back I have been working a lot of hours with a mowing contractor (McCann’s Mowing) in order to save up for the coming winter season at Cardrona.  I will work a little as a coach with the Cardrona Parks Squad in the coming season to offset some of my living expenses, but otherwise I will be extremely focussed on my training, both on-snow and off (trampolining at SnowSports NZ, gym, etc).  I am targeting the Audi Quattro Winter Games at Cardrona (a World Cup event) as my key competition for the Southern hemisphere season, and will be doing all I can to achieve well at that.  I leave for Wanaka on the 6th June, and will be there until roughly the end of October.

At the end of our winter, I intend to go back to the Northern Hemisphere (US, Europe, and Canada) for competition.  I know that my experience doing World Cups this last winter will put me in good stead to be much more competitive this coming year, particularly as I am one of the younger ones on the circuit.  If my results are good in the period to January 2018, this could lead to Olympic team selection.

I would like to say “thank you” again to the Perago Trust for your support of my sporting goals.  I will continue to give it my very best as I seek high achievement at the top international level of men’s freeski slopestyle.
Kind regards,
Dane Kirk


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