It’s the end of March, snow is still falling in the Alps and there’s a whole army of snowsports mad British folk kicking about – yep, it can only be the British Snowboard Championships! Once again, the Whitelines team are out getting amongst all the action, both on and off the slopes of course, and competition kicked off yesterday with the guaranteed drama, razor sharp edges and über tech waxing that’s all part and parcel of the Tresspass Snowboardcross.
This year marks the first time in almost a decade that the Brits is located in France, moving from its long standing home of Laax to the dramatic peaks of Tignes (‘Teen-yay’ to any of you Yanks kicking about after last week’s X games). The move means that Crap Bar has been traded in for Drop Zone and CHFs have made way for Euros – which is easier on the wallet but not on the liver. Thankfully, Tignes has some of the best alpine terrain in Europe and with a strong British seasonnaire base, is a fitting new home for the most important competition series in the British calendar.
While Snowboardcross may not draw the same crowds as freestyle events these days, it’s still a proper spectacle to watch: four humans hurtling down a slalom-course-on-crack on snowboards, all at once, navigating whoops, banked turns and jumps along the way? What’s not to love? The swollen crowd of supporters and spectators at the bottom of yesterday’s course clearly agreed and embraced the cold, snowy conditions to cheer on their friends, kids and heros.
Frustratingly, the largely clear and sunny conditions of the X Games a few days prior were nowhere to be seen and the conditions were about as challenging as they could possibly be, with the top half of the course cloaked in a thick cloud that refused to budge for the whole competition, reducing visibility to about a few feet. Not ideal. The snow conditions were firm bordering on icy and we were seriously impressed that riders were even making it down the course in one piece, let alone tanking it at Mach 10 alongside three other people. Of course, there was a fair share of spills as well as thrills but thankfully, and as far as we know, nobody was hurt.
After some incredibly close heats, 16 year old Maisie Potter claimed the overall women’s title for the third year in a row with a performance that belies her years. She had the following to say about it:
I’ve now won three years in a row which I am so happy about. It feels brilliant. I’m loving the new resort and being in Tignes, there’s just so much to see here. I thought the course was great today, it’s just a real shame about the weather.
Ro Kealey managed to edge across the finish line in second place just ahead of Ayla Thidling and at the tender age of 13, Ayla in particular will be one to watch in future events. The women’s masters section was dominated by local Tignes seasonnaires Corinne Mayhew and Amy Butler, to raucous applause from the assembled local supporters.
On the men’s side it was once again Team GB Snowboardcross coach James ‘Jumbo’ Foster whose vast experience shone through the fog on the day, with a clear lead across the finish line over Ross Taylor and Kyle Wise. Understandably, James was also chuffed with the result:
I am stoked to get back on the podium after being out for a while, especially taking first place. Moving the BRITS from Laax to Tignes is a refreshing change especially coming straight off the back of the X Games.
Last year’s winner Thomas Bankes qualified with the quickest time of the year but wasn’t quite able to hold it together in the finals, while 11 year old Tomski Robinson was riding solidly all day but was just pipped to the podium by Kelean Venning in the male kids final.
Despite the challenging conditions, this year’s Snowboardcross was a gripping start to the 2013 edition of the BRITS and we’re looking forward to the first freestyle event of the series (the Bangers and Cash rail jam) going down today. Keep your eyes peeled for more reports and videos direct from the event.
British Trespass Snowboardcross 2013 Results:
1st James Foster
2nd Ross Taylor
3rd Kyle Wise
1st Maisie Potter
2nd Ro Kealey
3rd Ayla Thidling