Australia’s best aerials and moguls skiers are set to soar through the Brisbane sky as they begin testing the new Olympic Winter Training Centre at Sleeman Sports Complex.
The $6.5 million facility is the first year-round outdoor aerial facility in the world.
A collaboration between the Australian Government through Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Queensland Government, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA), the new home base for elite athletes will boost Australia’s talent and training pathways to identify and develop the next Lydia Lassila or Alisa Camplin, who grew from junior gymnasts to Winter Olympic champions.
Australia’s rich legacy in aerials and moguls has netted eight of Australia’s 15 Winter Olympic medals, including three gold.
The ‘Flying Kangaroos’ aerial ski team members Danielle Scott, Abbey Willcox, Gabi Ash and Airleigh Frigo are the first to trial the facility, beginning this week with single and basic double somersaults before progressing to larger jumps and more complex skills throughout the testing phase.
The moguls team, including PyeongChang 2018 silver medallist Matt Graham, current world number two Jakara Anthony and 2017 World Champion Britt Cox, will begin their training at the centre late next week.
From the top of the 37m high facility, athletes can reach maximum speeds of over 70km/h and launch up to 17 metres above the water, trialling and perfecting aerial manoeuvres in the safety of the water-landing before transferring them to the snow.
Australian athletes have had to hone their skills overseas, with a water ramp facility in Utah having more than 3600 days of training logged by Australian athletes from 2013-2017.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll said he was thrilled to see the project completed and athletes testing the centre. He said:
It’s fantastic to see this world class facility come to life and have Olympians showcasing their skills in Brisbane. This means Australia’s best talent can be identified, developed and reach their peak performance right here at home, while being close to family and their community.
Having a home facility means this is time and funding that can be invested here in Australia rather than overseas facilities, providing greater opportunity to the next generation and bringing Australian sports fans closer than ever to our winter athletes.
The centre has different jumps to cater for a wide variety of Olympic winter disciplines and experience levels, from beginner to the tallest triple jump.
The official opening of the facility is expected to occur in 2021.