It’s been a while since my last blog, time always seems limited once the season starts. After a snow-less new year in the French Alps, the British (and Army) Championships kicked off in Pralognan La Vanoise, France and the snow finally began to fall. We had the opportunity to train giant slalom with a small jump before the racing started and it gave everyone the chance to get a feel for the snow once more.
The racing began with a Giant Slalom, a discipline which is now ‘extinct’ from the World Cup circuit. It includes a flagged gate section with a jump, no loom or skate so it felt a bit like a training run. The following race was the Sprint and finally we concluded the championships with a Classic. Most mornings, we all gathered on the piste ready for inspection at 06:40am, it was still dark and -20 degrees. The racing was great fun and the perfect warm up event for the World Cup races to follow.
1st James French (World Cup Team)
2nd Jasper Taylor (World Cup Team)
3rd Sion Bingham (World Cup Team)
4th Jasmin Taylor (1st Female, World Cup Team)
5th Louis Hatchwell (World Cup Team)
6th Ed Lees
7th Colin Dixon (World Cup Development Team)
8th Olli Wotton (World Cup Team)
9th Naila Cardwell (2nd Female, World Cup Development Team)
10th Tara Parks (3rd Female, World Cup Development Team)
1st James French
2nd Louis Hatchwell
3rd Jasmin Taylor (1st Female)
4th Alec Dixon (World Cup Development Team)
5th Sion Bingham
6th Fred Thomas (World Cup Team)
7th Colin Dixon
8th Ed Lees
9th Olli Wotton
10th Jasper Taylor
1st Jasper Taylor
2nd James French
3rd Louis Hatchwell
4th Sion Bingham
5th Olli Wotton
6th Alec Dixon
7th Ed Lees
8th Jasmin Taylor (1st Female)
9th Colin Dixon
10th Ben Atkinson (World Cup Development Team)
It’s awesome to be British Champion for another year – thank you to everyone making it possible. GB Telemark has made a great deal of progress in the last year; new clothing with Dare 2b, a new van courtesy of Aquatronic Group Management and a new training set up with team coach, Sebastien Mansart. The outcome; a new and much improved GB team.
Team-mate, Tara Parks, is unfortunately missing from these photos due to a bad crash in the Sprint – we are all wishing her the very best for a speedy recovery, she will be missed. Following the British Championships, we travelled on to La Thuile, Italy for the next round of World Cup competition. I finished on the podium in 2nd place behind Amelie Reymond (SUI) and ahead of Mathilde Olsen Ilebrekke (NOR) in the Sprint event.
Jasper Taylor finished in 15th place, Sion Bingham finished in 22nd and unfortunately, Louis Hatchwell crashed out. The second day of racing, a long and tough Classic on the steep Italien piste also went quite well – I finished in 4th position and Jasper again in 15th place.
Straight after the race, everyone packed up and left for Meribel, France for the continuation of competition. Saturday afternoon and evening, we raced in the Sprint event on the main Meribel ‘stade’ under the flood lights. This race was a tricky one for me, I picked up several penalties on the first run so had some work to do on the second run. The second run was going well until a near crash on the last two skiing gates, I just survived and pulled it back to finish in 7th place. It was very close between the British boys; Louis finished in 21st, Jasper finished in 22nd, Sion in 23rd and Alec Dixon in 32nd. New comers, Ben Emsley completed his first World Cup ever despite crashing out and Naila Cardwell finished in 11th place.
The final day, a Dual Sprint started well for me – I qualified in 3rd place and won my first round of head to head racing. Following this, I was drawn against Mathilde Olsen Ilebrekke (NOR) and lost out, Mathilde went on to take 2nd position and I therefore finished in 5th place. Naila and Louis finished in 9th position, Alec, Jasper and Sion all finished in 17th place.
It has been a brilliant week all around for British skiing, congratulations to Dave Ryding and Andrew Musgrave for their amazing performances, you can read the federations write up HERE. It was lovely to have some British support and a sizeable crowd watching live – all in all, a very strong start to the year for everyone.
The racing starts again in Slovenia on Saturday 28th January continuing on Sunday and Monday before moving on to Germany for more racing on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th February. You can watch the live streaming HERE.