Star Kiwi snowboarder Rebecca ‘Bex’ Sinclair is a young athlete at the pinnacle of her sport.
Sinclair’s consistent performance in the snowboard halfpipe during the 2010 / 2011 northern hemisphere season - World Cup, Europa Cup and Nor-Am Cup circuits - has seen a string of top 20 results.
A New Zealand Olympian in Vancouver in 2010, Sinclair finished fourth at the 2011 World Snowboarding Championships in Spain, and is expected to perform well at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
City of Sails
Born in Auckland - the ‘city of sails’, where she spent her early years surrounded by the ocean, Sinclair discovered the mountains when her family moved to Taupo - a lakeside town in the North Island’s Central Plateau region.
Sinclair was 11 when she learned to snowboard on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, one of three active volcanos at the southern tip of Lake Taupo.
These days, when not competing outside New Zealand, Sinclair (19) is based in Wanaka - a South Island ski resort in the Southern Alps, where she trains with the NZ snowboard team at Snow Park NZ.
Bex Sinclair first competed for New Zealand in 2006, and won the under-15 halfpipe at the World Youth Games in Italy that year.
She drew international attention when she placed seventh on the Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado, in 2008.
That resulted in an invitation to the 2009 Winter X Games, but she turned that down in favour of attending the FIS World Snowboard Championships in Korea - a qualifier event for the 2010 Olympics - where she came in at 28th.
Sinclair placed 14th at the 2009 World Cup in Italy, and was 29th at the inaugural 2009 Winter Games World Cup on her home turf at Cardrona (New Zealand).
She finished second at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand in 2010, and fourth at the 2011 World Snowboarding Championships in Spain.
Sinclair now has her sights on the next Winter Olympics.
"After competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I feel inspired and hugely motivated to train hard over the next few years and to try podium at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia."
In the meantime, Sinclair is studying for a Bachelor of Science, with the eventual aim of working in the medical field.
When she is not on the slopes, she likes to relax "painting or playing instruments - mainly guitar and piano". And, when she’s travelling there’s always a ukulele in her backpack.
Rebecca Sinclair: Key Achievements
- #2 Half-pipe - 2010 NZ Junior World’s Snowboarding Championships, Half-pipe
- #4 - 2011 World Snowboarding Championships (La Molina, Spain)
- #6 - US Open (Vermont, USA)
- #21 Half-pipe - 2010 Winter Olympics (Vancouver, Canada)
An hour''s drive from Queenstown, the little town of Wanaka sits on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Sometimes described as ‘the New Zealander''s Queenstown’, Wanaka is less commercial, smaller and quieter though there are still plenty of nice restaurants and bars.
Wanaka''s nearby ski fields are:
- Cardrona has a family environment with a giant toy clock tower, several restaurants and special facilities for children. The hills have wide open slopes for learners or intermediate skiers, and facilities include ''magic carpet'' moving walkways that are easier than T-bars for beginners. It''s also the home of the NZ national snowboard championships, offering half pipes and a terrain park.
- Treble Cone''s skifields overhang the aquamarine lake with its tiny snow-covered islands and mountain backdrop. The Treble Cone terrain is more difficult than Cardrona, but it''s usually less crowded because of this.
- Snow Park, in the Pisa Range - between Wanaka and Queenstown - is renowned internationally for the challenging terrain that makes it popular with young free-riders. The resort has 55km of ski trails and 310ha of back country skiing terrain.
Snow Sports in New Zealand