Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 21. September 10, 1968
History made at Ruapehu
History made at Ruapehu
Ski Tournament 1968 saw the run of South Island supremacy broken for the first time in 25 years. Auckland, by virtue of some great team skiing, usurped the skiing crown Canterbury has held for the last six tournaments.
This year's tournament saw one of the keenest tussles for skiing supremacy between the universities for some time.
From the first race, the slalom, run in difficult conditions with driving snow. Auckland and Canterbury were the two main rivals on the slopes.
However, some very strong challenges in the individual places were issued by the host club, Victoria.
In the slalom. Farrell (Auckland) turned in the best time followed very closely by Victoria's Tim Haiselden with 92.2.
So tough was the competition that Vic's John Armstrong could do no better than 4th with his time of 92.8s (the first five passed the gate within 0.6s).
Mary McLauchlan (Victoria) turned in the best time of 124.6s to take first place in the women's slalom.
Gay Blyth was the second Vic competitor home in 132.3s to gain 5th place in this event.
Unfortunately, these outstanding individual performances could not be matched by the rest of the Vic team and they slumped to 5 th place in the men's team points and 3rd in the women's.
The downhill, a high-speed run through a minimum of control gates sorted skiers out with a vengeance.
A treacherous course set in soft snow, which was too dangerous for fast skiing, had to be packed and consolidated.
Unfortunately, the course took its toll, and Vic's Mary McLauchlan crashed at high speed in a training run, breaking her leg.
However, the Vic team fought back gamely and once again turned in some very sound individual performances.
John Armstrong, skiing more confidently, came into 2nd place behind Auckland's Jim Farrell with a time of 62.2s.
Unfortunately, Haiselden fell but carried on to record a good time to get him into 13th place.
Falls also marred the performance of While and Thorp, the other two Vic men
Following the loss of Mary McLauchlan the remaining Vic women. Gay Blyth, Bettina Prior and Helen Turnovsky took 7th. 8th, and 9th places in a field which was overawed by the conditions and the technical difficulties of the course.
In the teams points for this event. Vic men rose to 3rd position but slipped to 4th in the womens.
Only 0.2s over an aggregate of three best limes denied the Vic men's team victory in the giant slalom. Run in perfect weather and snow conditions. all the Vic skiers found their form in this race.
Haiselden, skiing the race of his life, came home in 49.6s to nose out Auckland's John Dickie by 0.1s.
The overall champion Farrell came 3rd. a further 0.2s back. So close was the competition in this final event that less than 3s separated the first 10 men.
Armstrong, with 51.6 was 7th. followed by Clive Thorp 9th in 52.2s and team captain Dave White 15th with 55.4s.
Gay Blyth skiing with great consistently took over the role of giant killer by coming in second in the women's giant slalom, only 0.5s behind the Auckland winner, Janice Payne whose winning time was 61 0s.
Bettina Prior, turned in her best run to record the 6th fastest time of 66.6s.
Helen Turnovsky was 10th with 73.5s. This was a creditable performance by Vic women's team to give it 3rd position in this event
Overall tournament placings went to Auckland, Canterbury with Victoria in third placing.
Congratulations must go to Vic's Tim Haiselden and John Armstrong for some outstanding individual races which must place them in the top class of University skiing.
On their performances, they were placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in the overall tournament ranking.
Vic also performed outstandingly in the Ski Drinking Horn.
Vic gave the best display in the teams' race, however mention should be made of the Vic women who insisted on conquering all comers.
The highlight of this part of Ski Tournament was a Beer Slalom on an arduous course skiied from the Racers' Lodge to Victoria's new lodge, with Massey being the first home.