[Method madness: Ben Kilner boggles minds in Laax. All photos by Ed Blomfield]Much like Tuesday’s slopestyle and Wednesday’s boardercross, the halfpipe event at The Brits 2016 was plagued with pea-souper fog. Mother Nature consistently teased us by clearing the clouds for a few minutes only to bring them right back in again, which left the event in limbo. Eventually the comp began, with the riders advised to make their first run count - as it could be the only one they get.
Many used their first hit as a statement of intent – or perhaps just wanted to get at least one meaty air in before being robbed of their speed in the slushy pipe. Jamie Trinder boosted a massive cab 7, while Ciaran Tucker sent a crippler over the banners.
No-one went bigger than Ben Kilner, however, whose opening salvo – a sensational method that drew cheers from the assembled crowd – was as stylish as it was huge. Once he’d followed it up with back-to-back 720s, it was clear he was going to win this one. Jamie managed to take second, while slopestyle champ Rowan Coultas’ Michalchuk, crippler and front 5 earned him third place.
Matt McCormick wasn’t far behind, and certainly won the crowd over when he cut the corner of the pipe wall with a backside rodeo at the end of his run. It might have got the biggest cheer of the day had Billy Morgan not snaked the pipe on snowblades, hucking a flair and riding off with a huge claim.
Katie Ormerod added to her slopestyle crown, somehow maintaining enough speed at the end of her run to put down a hectic McTwist. Maisie Hill ran her close with some impressive hits, and Brits stalwart Cerys Allen rounded out the podium.
9-year-old Mia Brookes once again rode beyond her years, with massive airs on both pipe walls, but the no-guts-no-glory approach of micro-shredders Luca Mai Hopkins and Mae Hodgson suggested that she’s not the only one to look out for in the future.
In the end it was only a one-run event, with several holds for the weather eating up the afternoon. In classic Sod’s Law style, once the event was curtailed it wasn’t long before the sun came out – and stayed out. Several of the competitors stayed around to make the most of the excellent Laax pipe, or to enjoy the sight of Korua Shapes mastermind Nicholas Wolken slashing the pipe walls with style on one of his carving creations.
So the Brits halfpipe in 2016 could have been longer, but under the circumstances it couldn’t have been much stronger.