If you’ve spent time at Cardrona chances are you will have noticed that there is a strong emphasis on winter athlete development including an extensive adaptive ski and snowboarding programme. In conjunction with Snow Sports NZ, Cardrona provides experiences for people with disabilities who are being introduced to snow for the first time, through to training for Paralympians.
At the forefront of the programme is our Adaptive Coordinator, the legend, Jane Stevens. Jane has been involved in adaptive snow sports for almost 30 years and knows how to adapt a lesson, equipment and support systems to teach anyone with a disability. As Jane described to NZ Herald reporter Eva Corlett, it makes no difference what a person’s disability is, “whether it’s physical, sensory or intellectual”, if someone wants to go skiing or snowboarding then she can make it happen.
In recognition of her huge commitment to the sport, Jane Stevens has been nominated for a Pride of New Zealand Award in the Community Spirit category. The award recognises those whose selfless, tireless and largely unacknowledged actions have enriched the lives of those around them in their community.
It’s easy to see why Jane has received this nomination when you go through her long list of experience and achievements. She has been involved on many different levels, helping ‘first timers’, as well as training Paralympians, notably the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics Men’s Slalom Gold Medalist Adam Hall.
She describes a time early on in Adam Hall’s career to the NZ Herald, “I remember a day at Mt Dobson – and he was pretty young at this stage – I said, ‘Well, if you want a Paralympic medal in skiing, you’ll have to learn’. So we went into a shop, pulled these old skis out and drilled holes in them. It was all hit-and-miss, really.
“We went up to the mountain and it was a powder day, which wasn’t conducive to learning to ski, and we gave it the best we had, trying to figure out how we were going to do it … and then he turns around and wins a gold medal.”
Jane has also been involved with training 2014 Sochi Paralympic Silver Medalist Corey Peters, NZ’s only medalist at the last Winter Paralympic Games.
But it’s not all about the high profile athletes for Jane. A large part of her work involves helping people enjoy snow sports with their families. “When you get to see kids get out on snow, who perhaps have a visual impairment, and we get them having fun alongside their brothers and sisters, mums and dads, it’s amazing.”
“For me it’s trying to see the whole picture come together and making sure you support every skier, from beginner right through to those who are representing their country.”
The nominees for the Pride of New Zealand awards go before a regional judging panel who will select three finalists per category. Once the 24 regional award winners have been named in August, the public will be able to vote for their TSB Bank People’s Choice winner. The winner of this special award will also be revealed at the national award ceremony in September.
Please join us in supporting Jane Stevens’ nomination. Watch this space on details on how to vote in August, well done Jane!
To see the full NZ Herald article click here.