Students might be taking to the streets in the fight against Tory cuts, but it's not all doom and gloom at university - at least not yet. The recent 2010 British University Dryslope Championships at Hillend dryslope in Edinburgh saw some students taking time out to shred and party. After all, you can't fight the law every day can you? Rhys Crilley was there to witness all the action.
University is a great place for new experiences, meeting new friends, spending taxpayers money. The list of new, exciting things is seemingly endless; drinking till you pass out, catching Chlamydia, oh and throwing backside corked sevens whilst 1500 other students watch and party on a freezing, wet hillside in Scotland.
Ok, so perhaps not everyone at the British Universities Dryslope championship 2010 was stomping corked inverts over the snowflex kicker at Hillend, but everyone there had one thing in common: a shared passion for snowsports and getting messy with the aim of their Uni being crowned the champions. From seasoned dryslope slalom racers doing tight turns in lycra to steezy park rats sending it over the kicker, everyone was there to have fun, especially the spectators in fancy dress, downing warm beer and throwing shapes to the epic sounds of the Red Bull sound system.
It might sound like a bit of an excuse for students from across the country to come together and party, and indeed it is, but every year the standard of snowboarding just gets better and better and this year the talent of university freestyle gained the recognition of the TTR tour, with the slopestyle and big air becoming one star TTR events. Coupled with some serious sponsorship from the likes of Rome, Westbeach, Red Bull, Sno!zone, Syndicate and Freezeproshop, BUSC events are becoming a proving ground for up and coming shredders to cut their teeth with aims of using the events as a feeder to the GB snowboard team.
Taking place over two days, Friday saw more snowboarders than you can shake a freshly waxed shredstick at hitting up the slopestyle. The course consisted of Hillend’s big kicker and either a nice flat box or a battleship box leading into a final killer feature in the form of a 20ft long S-box. The comp was run in a jam format with skiers and boarders sessioning together. Despite it being nice to have some kind of skiers and boarders in-it-together-lovefest it proved to be a bit of a traffic jam, with everyone trying to get as many runs in as possible. The queue at the top of the roll-in resembled a French lift queue in half term and many riders were a bit confused as to why the jam wasn’t run as two separate skier and boarder jams.
Nevertheless, everyone got down to business and those who could shred put on a bloody good show. Doug Johnson slayed it on the rails with a plethora of combos but missed out on the finals due to a lack of snowflex kicker experience, the group of finalists with plenty of Hillend air miles didn’t disappoint with a display of switch spins, corked 7s, backside rodeo 5s and crowd pleasing backflips. Nick Carter claimed bronze, whilst Ben Venn had to settle for silver as Edinburgh local Kyle Wise walked away with the gold after stomping every trick on the kickers and rails with aplomb to make the Helgasons jealous. The ladies category stepped it up a level this year with Seona Paxton taking the win by stomping 3s and 5s which put some of the boys to shame.
After a hectic night of jagerbombs, grimy dubstep and a few early morning awkward walks of shame, riders were up and racing in the boardercross nice and early. It was Glaswegian ripper Andrew Flynn who did his best Nate Holland impression and downed a litre of protein shake, sharpened his edges and went on to absolutely blitz it, riding into the distance with first place.
Despite MC Johnny Mac doing his best sundance, the heavens opened just as the Big Air qualifiers started and Scottish rain fell for the rest of the day, putting a bit of a damper on events as people opted to stay in the relative shelter of the Red Bull bar. Those who did stick about in the torrential downpour were in for a treat as a guest appearance from Rome’s Will Smith provided some inspiration for the Uni lot with some switch back rodeos, making the usual suspects from yesterday up the ante and go all out with massive 7s, cab 5s, misty 5s and rodeos. No holds were barred by the weather either as the monsoon turned into sleet and then into the first blizzard of the year.
As the snow fell the final took place where riders had one run to impress the judges and go down In BUDS history. With a landing wetter than an otter’s pocket many riders had trouble stomping their tricks as clean as they would have liked, Benn Venn was unlucky slipping out on a Wiig flip and narrowly missed a spot on the podium. Andrew Flynn and Kyle Wise put in a solid performance to claim third and second respectively but it was the amplitude and style of Craig Hastie’s backside rodeo 540 which saw him walk away with first place and a brand new Rome snowboard. In the ladies category Sarah Murtagh took bronze, Sarah Gooding claimed silver and Seona Paxton once again walked away with the gold.
With the snowboarding done and dusted for another year, everyone headed to the infamous BUDS Ball for a smartly dressed night of drinking with many a broken glass, a free climbing wall, riot police and a distinct lack of cheesecake. A perfect way to end BUDS 2010.
As the government raises tuition fees to £9000 a year the future of higher education is a subject of debate but one thing is for sure; snowsports societies are still going to come together, shred and party regardless of how much you have to pay to be a student. So if you’re at, or planning on heading to Uni anytime soon, fuck the debt, grab your board and make sure you’re getting ready for BUDS 2011!
1) Seona Paxton (Strathclyde)
2) Britney Mesh (Bradford)
1) Kyle Wise (Heriot Watt)
2) Ben Venn (Queen Margaret University)
3) Nick Carter (Sheffield Hallam)
1) Seona Paxton (Strathclyde)
2) Sarah Gooding (Sheffield)
3) Sarah murtagh (Birmingham)
1) Craig Hastie (Strathclyde)
2) Kyle Wise (Heriot Watt)
3) Andy Flynn (Glasgow)