After a story featuring Sam Lee (pictured) the freeskier was published on Stuff last week with a photo of Sam Lee from Cardrona Valley, people took to Facebook commenting on both Sam’s pages.
Sam from Cardrona Valley, who is 38 said the post gained over 300 reactions and over 50 comments, the most he has ever received.
People commented he didn’t look 26, were surprised he was a ski racer and one person commented,
“A Kiwi sat next to me on the chair on Blackcomb (Canadian skifield) and asked me if I knew who Sam Lee was. I was like "of course" then he said how well he's doing in ski racing then I was like "wait what?" We were having a parallel conversation about two snow associated Wanaka Sam Lees.”
Cardrona Valley Sam has lived in Wanaka all his life and attended Mount Aspiring College, graduating in 1997. He represented New Zealand at the World Junior Cross Country Skiing Championships. His parents John and Mary Lee owned Cardrona and set up Snow Farm. Sam works at the Snow Farm in the winter and has his own property maintenance company, Mow and Moore, in the summer.
“Just recently I have had two conversations with people who have got us mixed up and only when I’ve commented saying they have the wrong Sam Lee have they realised their mistake,” Cardrona Valley Sam said.
Freeskier Sam moved to Wanaka when he was 13 with his parents Rob and Rose Lee and also attended Mount Aspiring College. His love for the snow led him into freeskiing and last year he was named Snow Sports NZ Freeride Athlete of the Year. Sam will compete on the Freeride World Tour in 2018 and finished second in the 4 Star FWT qualifier event held at the Winter Games last week, an event he won in 2016.
Freeskier Sam said he often received mail for the other Sam when he arrived in Wanaka.
“From the get-go I would get random letters and bills that weren’t mine. I was the intruder. I moved to Wanaka and I was the second Sam Lee. It was funny when Sam started Snow Park and his other business, people thought I’d turned into some child business prodigy, but they were mistaking me for Sam from Cardrona Valley.”
Both Sams see the funny side of having a namesake that lives in the same town and works in the snow industry.
“It’s funny and it is hard for people. What are the odds that there are two people in Wanaka in a town of 8000 people and they have the same name and work in the same industry?” Cardrona Valley Sam said.
Freeskier Sam has changed his Facebook page name to Sam Ibex in an effort to clarify which Sam Lee he is.
“When I had been freeskiing for a while my friends and I were watching the BBC Planet Earth and there was a segment about the Nubian Ibex (mountain goat). My friends said ‘you are always billy goating and ledge hopping on steep slopes. So I got the “Ibex” nickname and it has stuck,” Freeskier Sam said.
“It is kind of an unusual thing. We both live in the same town, work in the same industry, but we’re not related,” Freeskier Sam said.
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