WITH the Winter Olympics in Russia fast approaching, athletes from all competitive disciplines are flocking to Perisher to get as much on-snow training as possible in preparation for Sochi. One of them is often overlooked as a true medal hopeful - Nate Johnstone.
While the Northern Beaches of Sydney may not seem like a breeding ground for a Winter Olympian, Perisher Resort Ambassador Nate Johnstone swapped the surf for the snow by joining Perisher's renowned Winter Sports Club program from a young age. Working his way up the developmental stages of the program and competitive arena with OWIA and NSWIS backing, Nate is now on track to making his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games for Snowboard Halfpipe.
Having qualified for Vancouver in 2010, Nate devastatingly broke his ankle in training only months before the competition, forcing him to withdraw from the Games with a world ranking of number two. This setback has only made Nate more driven and determined to succeed in Sochi next February.
On the back of some impressive results from the last qualifying season including winning the 2012 Stoneham World Cup and the 2013 Copper Mountain Grand Prix in the US, adding to the 2011 World Championships gold, there is no denying Nate Johnstone is a strong contender for a podium finish in what is seen as an extremely competitive discipline.
The addition of Charles Beckinsale as Perisher Terrain Park Manager this year has created a buzz within the industry and cemented Perisher terrain parks as being some of the finest in the Southern Hemisphere, with the PlayStation Slopestyle Park on Front Valley the stand-out.
Also, with the inclusion of Bright's Superpipe (Australia's only halfpipe), Perisher has the perfect training facilities for elite athletes with the likes of resort snowboarding ambassadors Nate Johnstone and Torah Bright along with the Norwegian, German and Canadian National Slopestyle Teams preparing this winter for Sochi.