Skiing: Beau-James Wells hopes slopes reopen under Level 2 with eye to Beijing 2022

While some athletes have struggled during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, Kiwi freestyle skier Beau-James Wells has used the time to his advantage.

With snow starting to fall on southern mountains, the two-time Winter Olympian believes he'll be allowed to return to the slopes under Level 2 lockdown restrictions. Cabinet will formulate those guidelines this week and reveal if New Zealand will downgrade from Level 3 on Monday on May 11.

Wells had just returned from his second knee-ligament rupture in three years, when the pandemic began closing down sport around the globe. 

He made his official return to competition in January at the Aspen X-Games, 13 months after his latest injury during an FIS World Cup event in Colorado.

"I'll just be super stoked to ride," he has told Newshub. "I haven't had that much time to ride in the past year or so, because I was recovering from my injury. 

"I'm striving towards the Olympics in 2022. It will be my third Olympic Games and it's been really good to have this time to plan things out. 

"I've got some sick runs that I want to do and some tricks I want to learn, and now it's just about putting practices into place, where I can make that happen and make sure that my body is in the best place it can be.

"I'm actually pretty pumped for the season. I haven't been this stoked for a season in a while, I guess it's because I haven't had as much time on snow lately." 

While the 24-year-old is eager to get back on the snow, he knows there are pros and const o having less people riding on the mountains.

The benefits for locals will be having the slopes all to themselves, but the downside will be no overseas training competition.

"When international people do come here, they generate revenue and income, so it's really good for the mountains. 

"In terms of an individual skier, riding when there are less people up there is obviously going to be more fun, but it might mean less facilities are open, like they might not open all their chairlifts. 

"It's a bit of a mixed bag, because I really like it when the other pro skiers and snowboarders come down - it gets you even more hyped and everyone is sort of learning tricks. 

"But having just a domestic season would be cool, because there wouldn't be these crazy lift lines. There are definitely pros and cons to both, but I hope we do get open, that's all. 

"I'm definitely going into this New Zealand season with it in the back of my mind that we might not be able to go over to America or something until 2021. 

"At the moment, I'm just focusing on the now. This could potentially just be the period we get to ride for the next however long, so make the New Zealand season count."

During his time off with his anterior cruciate injury, Wells became a personal trainer, self-contracting at Snap Fitness in Wanaka, while working towards a Bachelor of Sport & Exercise degree at Massey University, majoring in exercise prescription and training.

He realises he needs to start preparing for life away from the glitz and glamour of professional sport, but he's still determined to compete at his third Olympic Games. 

"I really want to go to another [Olympics], so that's what I am thinking about at the moment.

"But there are also heaps of other aspects in skiing, like you go filming, put things on social media and get paid that sort of way. 

"I've always wanted to put out videos and get some filming out there as well. I will reassess that later in the future, but for now, I’m just focused on getting my tricks that I want to get and having that 2022 sort of rundown." 

Wells was NZ's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and narrowly missed out a medal, finishing fourth in the halfpipe final, where Kiwi teammate Nick Porteous won bronze.