Tagged ‘La Thuile’

The 2019 World Cup Season

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After Christmas the British team, along with the French, spent time training in La Thuile, Italy. The conditions were amazing and it allowed for some great progress. I was joined by BBC Ski Sunday, who came to film over a few days. This was a really fun and interesting experience where TV presenter, Graham Bell, attempted to telemark in a giant slalom, on a jump and to skate for the first time.

BBC Ski Sunday Presenter Graham Bell with Jasmin Taylor in La Thuile, Italy

The training group with the BBC Ski Sunday team before Christmas

The first World Cup race was also held in La Thuile, it is a super steep slope and has hosted many alpine World Cup events over the years. Graham Bell and the Ski Sunday team turned up again, and Graham actually fore-ran the Classic event which proved to be quite the challenge. I managed a 2nd place finish, and 4th the day before in the Sprint discipline.

The first World Cup podium of the season in La Thuile. Photo credits and thanks to Luca Nava

The final steep section, possibly the steepest slope of the tour. Photo credits and thanks to Luca Nava

The prize from the first podium. Photo credits and thanks to Sara Mo Vanacht

The first race was the Sprint, followed by the gruelling Classic where Sion Bingham (30th, 26th), Ben (27th, 23rd) and Jack Emsley (DNF, 29th) were also competing. Louis Hatchwell achieved a career best finish of 12th place in the Sprint discipline but unfortunately did not finish (DNF) in the Classic. Jack Harvard Taylor and Tanner Visnick were in the commentary booth. US athlete, Tanner, suffered a serious ankle injury in training just before the first race. This is a real shame because Tanner is an amazing skier, and was showing real form on the slopes.

Team-mate, Louis Hatchwell, in the hot seat waiting for his competitors to finish, he looks quite comfy. Photo credits and thanks to Luca Nava

Meanwhile, the British Championships were hosted by the army in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France, and from what I have heard they were a real success and well attended. The new overall British Champions are Sissi Compton (British C Team) and Robert Houstoun (British A Team), while Colin Dixon (British B Team) was victorious in the Classic discipline. There were also some great performances from Ben Silva (British C Team), Magnus McIntosh (Magnus had joined us for training in La Thuile), Naila Cardwell (British B Team) and Louis Blyth (Club des Houches).

My team-mates, (L to R) Naila Cardwell, Colin Dixon, Sissi Compton and Ben Silva in Pralognan-la-Vanoise

The British Championship Classic podium: 1st place; Colin Dixon, 2nd place; Robert Houstoun, 3rd place; Louis Blyth

Then the World Cup tour travelled to Pralognan-la-Vanoise where we joined the rest of our team-mates. The first race was the Sprint, I skied clean on the first run taking the lead by over 2 seconds, the second run was very intense but I am proud to have taken my first victory of the season and against Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) who has proven to be one of the best athletes in snow-sport history. This occurred right before the BBC Ski Sunday program was broadcast to 1 million viewers on mainstream TV, and 80,000 viewers on BBC iPlayer back home in Britain. The support and feedback following the article has been overwhelming.

The opening ceremony in Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

A team photo after opening ceremony

Louis Hatchwell on course in Pralognan-la-Vanoise. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

Sion Bingham powering through the run in Pralognan-la-Vanoise. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

Trying to find the front of my ski in France. Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

The flower ceremony with (L to R) Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

The prize giving ceremony and British national anthem with (L to R) Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Agence Zoom

The French hosted race was a World Cup debut for Ben Silva and Magnus McIntosh where they finished 31st and 29th in the Sprint and 34th and 33rd in the Classic. Sion Bingham finished in 22nd and 21st, Jack Emsley 30th and 32nd, Louis Hatchwell DNF and 22nd, Colin Dixon 27th and 29th, and I finished 4th in the Classic. A great weekend of racing! You can see an article from BBC Sport here.

The winning moment caught on camera. Photo credits and thanks to Colin F Shepherd

We then moved onto the third round of racing in the southern French Alps in Pra-Loup. The event kicked off with a tough Classic, I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle from the very beginning so I was very pleased to walk away with 2nd place and team-mate, Ben Emsley achieved a career best of 23rd position. The following day, the Sprint, I took my fourth podium with a 3rd place, and again Ben achieved another personal best of 20th position. The third and final day of racing was the Parallel Sprint, the first of the season. I finished in 5th after crashing out in the loom against Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) who went on to take 2nd place, Ben finished in 17th place after racing Theo Sillon (FRA). BBC Sport caught wind of the action again, which you can see here.

Last season there were 21 World Cup races, this season had just 12 although it is a World Championship year, these races are counted separately.

Awaiting the start of the Parallel Sprint in Pra-Loup. Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

On the podium in Pra-Loup, France with (L to R) Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI), Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and Jasmin Taylor (GBR). Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

Following these races in Italy and France, we had a short one week break which I spent back in Les Houches. It was so nice to see my boyfriend, Will, who came to visit and we enjoyed some powder skiing together.

Will being shy, or just looking at how much snow there is…

An amazing view of Mont Blanc from Les Houches, France

Some bad news struck in the form of team-mate, Sissi Compton, getting injured. Sissi broke her ACL whilst training, but everyone is behind her wishing her well. She will be back stronger than ever.

The next round of racing in Oberjoch, Germany kicked off with a Sprint where I finished 3rd, Louis Hatchwell DNF, Alec Dixon 31st and Ben Emsley in 30th place. Then the Parallel Sprint where I qualified in 4th place. I raced Johanna Holzmann (GER) in the semi-finals where I suffered one of the biggest crashes in my career, I had to race the small final with borrowed poles and my training skis because of the damage which had occurred to my equipment. Full of adrenaline, I won the dual against Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA) taking 3rd place. Luckily the German team doctor was on location to treat my arm after the race which had swollen to twice the size. The boys all finished in joint 17th place.

The Sprint podium with (L to R) Johanna Holzmann (GER), Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Martina Wyss (SUI), Simone Oehrli (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Stefan Hess

Louis Hatchwell racing in the Parallel Sprint. Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

The crowd in Oberjoch, Germany. Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

Ben Emsley on course. Photo credits and thanks to Stefan Hess

Jasmin Taylor (GBR) vs. Johanna Holzmann (GER). Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

I think it was at this moment I realised that this might hurt… Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

Slightly worse for wear… Photo credits and thanks to Guro Helde Kjølseth

The aftermath of the crash… A huge thank you to Sebastian Sinz, the German Team doctor who was on location to generously provide his help and expertise!

The Parallel Sprint podium with (L to R) Johanna Holzmann (GER), Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). Photo credits and thanks to Bernhard Krempl

Both races were broadcast on mainstream German TV with over 2.5 million viewers on each feature. There was another BBC Sport article published (see here) and a report on the local BBC news channel back home.

Feeling slightly worse for wear, battered and bruised we travelled on to Krvavec, Slovenia for World Cup Finals and the World Junior Championships. There were more junior women, than junior men which is a really positive sign for the sport. Again, we started with the Classic event where I took my final podium of the season, a 3rd place, taking my total to 29 World Cup podiums equalling the British record set by Free-skier, Gilly Curry in 1994. There was an article published by Planet Ski here and one by BBC Sport here. This podium places me 2nd in the World Cup Classic standings, earning me a silver medal. Louis Hatchwell finished in a respectable 20th place.

The race hill in Krvavec, Slovenia

On course in the Classic. Photo credits and thanks to Morten V Eriksen

Louis on course in the Classic. Photo credits and thanks to Morten V Eriksen

The prizes in Slovenia. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

The World Cup podium earning me a joint British record with Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI). Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

A silver medal in the World Cup Classic standings with with Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and Johanna Holzmann (GER). Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

Alec and Colin Dixon did not compete in the World Cup Classic, reserving their energy for the World Junior Championships where unfortunately, Alec DNF but Colin placed in 16th position.

Alec racing in Krvavec, Slovenia. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

Colin on course. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

Qualifications for the Parallel Sprint were held the next day, picking up too many penalties, I found myself in 8th place. Louis crashed and therefore didn’t qualify; Alec qualified in 32nd and Colin DNF. The following day, Alec finished in joint 17th place and I finished in joint 5th place. In the World Junior Championship Parallel Sprint, Colin finished 17th and Alec in joint 9th place. This 5th place result puts me in 4th in the World Cup Parallel Sprint standings.

(L to R) FIS Chairman; Andrew Clarke, Jasmin Taylor, Coach; Sebastien Mansart. Photo credits and thanks to Argeline Tan Bouquet

The very last day, a Sprint, tensions were running high with overall rankings vulnerable and not yet in the bag. I finished in 4th behind Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI), Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). This 4th place just behind Argeline meant I maintained 2nd in the World Cup Sprint standings, another silver medal. Not only that, I have a new world ranking within the top 3, my goal for the season earning me a bronze medal in the Overall World Cup standings. Great Britain finished 5th in the Nations Cup standings, our joint best result.

A silver medal in the Sprint World Cup standings with Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA). Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

A special moment. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

A silver medal in the Sprint World Cup standings. Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

The Overall World Cup podium earning me a bronze medal with Johanna Holzmann (GER) and Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) Photo credits and thanks to Goran Kroselj

The final day in Krvavec was spent in the commentary booth with Monica Huszcz Delevaux where I watched Alec finish in 16th and Colin in 12th in the World Junior Championship Sprint event. The races were broadcast on Slovenian mainstream TV which is again, hugely beneficial for the sport.

A team photo in Krvavec, Slovenia with (L to R) Colin Dixon, Alec Dixon, Sebastien Mansart, Jasmin Taylor. Photo credits and thanks to Neil Dixon

Still a team photo… Photo credits and thanks to Neil Dixon

At least it was a team photo… Photo credits and thanks to Neil Dixon

Now I return to the UK for a few days rest before travelling back to France for more training in preparation for the World Championships later this season in Rjukan, Norway. As always, thank you to everyone making it possible: boyfriend, family, friends, coaches, team-mates, university, organisers, committees, federations and fellow athletes.

British Championships & World Cup Podium

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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.

Inspection in the dark

Inspection in the dark

Still inspecting...

Still inspecting…

Giant Slalom
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)

Sprint 
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

Classic
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.

The Great British Telemark Ski Team

The Great British Telemark Ski Team

Playing in the snow!

Playing in the snow!

What a line up!

(L to R) Fred Thomas, Colin Dixon, Jasper Taylor, Naila Cardwell, Louis Hatchwell, Jasmin Taylor, James French, Ben Atkinson, Olli Wotton, Alec Dixon, Sion Bingham

The new catsuits

The new catsuits (L to R) Naila Cardwell, Alec Dixon, Colin Dixon, Jasmin Taylor, Louis Hatchwell, Sion Bingham, Olli Wotton, Jasper Taylor

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.

(L to R) Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Amelie Reymond (SUI),

The podium (L to R) Jasmin Taylor (GBR), Amelie Reymond (SUI), Mathilde Olsen Ilebrekke (NOR)

The flower ceremony

The flower ceremony

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 Meribel Stade

The Meribel ‘Stade’

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.

Filming for the World Championships

Filming for the World Championships

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.

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