11 April 2016

The BRITS 2016: High Standards in the Halfpipe and Bangers & Cash Rail Comps Conclude the British Championships for Another Year

The second half of the week of the British Snowboard and Freeski Championships in Laax included the final runs of a delayed Ski Slopestyle competition; impressive riding in the snowboard and ski halfpipes; and the jaw-dropping Snowboard and Ski ‘Bangers and Cash’ rail competitions which rounded up a week of world-class riding.

Ski Slopestyle

Over two days in Laax at the BRITS 2016, the skiers overcame the weather to battle it out in the British Slopestyle Championships, where Katie Summerhayes and Harris Booth claimed the overall British Champions’ Titles.

Battling the elements, photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

With tricky weather over two days, the women were able to complete one run on Wednesday on the full Slopestyle course, with GB Park and Pipe athlete Katie Summerhayes claiming the Champions’ crown. With the weather closing in, the men weren’t able to complete their run, meaning competition rolled over to Thursday. The weather gods were still not playing ball though, with the men’s competition having to change to the riders hitting a choice of three rails at the top of the Slopestyle course. The level of rail riding was high across all age categories, with the riders pushing each other to the next level.

After an impressive and creative first hit from Tyler Harding with a switch disaster 2 on to pretzel 2 off, it wasn’t until the third run when eventual winner Harris Booth took the competition to another level with a lipside 450 on, to 450 off.  His solid and technical riding meant he could stand on the top of the podium, with the bronze medal going to Chris McCormick who pulled off a 450 on to front 2 off in his third and final run.

After winning the British Champion title, Harris Booth said: “I don’t think I have ever beaten Tyler before so I am really stoked. I have been based in Laax this season, so I know the jumps well, so shame we couldn’t hit them today. Saying that, we got to have three runs so I think we did the best we could today despite conditions.”

Men's Ski Slopestyle Podium: Tyler Harding (L), Harris Booth (C), Chris McCormick (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

In the ladies’ competition, one run decided the British titles. Katie Summerhayes demonstrated why she is one of the world’s best female Slopestyle skiers by putting down an impressive run on the big jumps. After a switch 540 on the first jump and a left 360 tail grab on the second jump, she pulled out her impressive signature move on the last jump with a 720 japan. The youngest athlete on the GB Park and Pipe team, Madi Rowlands showed why she claimed a double podium at the Youth Winter Olympic Games earlier this season by putting down a big run on the Slopestyle course to claim silver. Her tweaked mute 720 was the pick of the bunch, as well as a huge air out of the quarterpipe. The bronze medal went to young Jodie Grant who took third with a switch 180, left 360 and left 720.

Katie Summerhayes, photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

Summerhayes was stoked to stand on top of the podium: “I am stoked to be back in Laax. The last time I was here was when I was 16 - I was British Champion then, so it is great to come back and win again! With the weather I just put my safe run down, so I thought Madi would be close to me. My run wasn’t super clean - I haven’t skied this course in 5 weeks. But props to the other girls cause that course wasn’t easy.”

With 36 skiers under 16 tackling the Slopestyle course, The BRITS again confirms itself as a breeding ground for young talent. With GB Park and Pipe’s best skiers riding along-side the UK’s hottest young talent, there is no surprise that this year’s BRITS is creating a buzz amongst the athletes. In the ladies’ competition, stand out young athlete was Kirsty Muir, who at just 11 years-old, was hitting the medium jumps and comfortably landing 720s, making her one to watch in the world of British freestyle skiing. In the men’s contest, Under 12 skier Bradley Fry was charging the jumps to win his age category and Felix Klein won the Under 16 category with solid rail runs.

Ladies' Ski Slopestyle Podium: Madi Rowlands (L), Katie Summerhayes (C), Jodi Grant (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

British Ski Slopestyle Championships Results

Men                                                                      Women

1st – Harris Booth                                             1st – Katie Summerhayes

2nd – Tyler Harding                                           2nd – Madi Rowlands

3rd – Chris McCormick                                    3rd – Jodie Grant

 

Snowboard Halfpipe

Thick cloud greeted the riders at the top of Laax's superpipe on Thursday morning as The BRITS day 3 began. After a morning of delays, and hundreds of laps of the nearby mini-halfpipe, the weather finally broke and allowed competition to begin in the early afternoon. Once runs got underway, the pipe was in perfect condition, allowing Olympian Ben Kilner and slopestyle champion Katie Ormerod to put together incredible runs and take the overall titles.

Due to the delays, as well as regular spells of thick cloud, each rider only had one run to lay down their overall score. That was no problem for seasoned competitor, and the UK's foremost pipe talent, Ben Kilner. Ben took the top spot with a huge run that started with the highest air of the day: a perfectly tweaked method. He continued with back-to-back 720s in a run that made jaws drop.  Second place went to Scotsman Jamie Trinder. The only rider to drop in switch; he started with a massive Haakon flip, and continued with huge inverted tricks right down the pipe.  The bronze medal went to newly crowned slopestyle champion Rowan Coultas, whose style and technicality meant an addition to his and GB Park and Pipe's medal haul.

 

Ben Kilner, photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins /Motionstoppers

In his usual good spirits, Ben commented “Laax did an amazing job shaping the pipe. I was very surprised at this time of the year when it's harder. The guys had a lot of fun, even though the conditions were tough. It was a great day's shred

In the women's contest, the new slopestyle champion Katie Ormerod was first to drop, and she locked up a second title in just a few hits of the pipe. A huge frontside roastbeef on her first hit, set the scene for an amazing run which sealed Ormerod’s second gold of the week. Maisie Hill took the second spot with a run that had the judges talking well into après. Every grab imaginable, and unparalleled amplitude amongst the women's field, meant that Maisie's was a standout run, especially as she is still just 15 years-old. Third place went to Cerys Allen, whose neck must now be aching from the medal collection she has racked up over the course of this week in her age group and overall competitions.

Katie Ormerod, photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins /Motionstoppers

Double gold winner Ormerod stated: “I'm really stoked to win the British halfpipe champs. I never really ride halfpipe but I was having so much fun today, the pipe was perfect and I'm really happy to have won.”

As with all the contests this week, the younger categories had a great showing and were very competitive. The under 12 males were particularly close, with just fractions of points separating the top three. Liam Tynan's super technical run was just enough to win out from Lewis Hopkinson's bags of style – his indy nosebone being a particular favourite amongst the judges – and Koby Cook's near perfect blend of amplitude and difficulty.

Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Podium: Jamie Trinder (L), Ben Kilner (C), Rowan Coultas (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins /Motionstoppers

Ladies' Snowboard Halfpipe Podium: Maisie Hill (L), Katie Ormerod (C), Cerys Allen (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins /Motionstoppers

British Snowboard Halfpipe Championships Results

Men                                                                      Women

1st –  Ben Kilner                                                 1st – Katie Ormerod

2nd – Jamie Trinder                                          2nd – Maisie Hill

3rd – Rowan Coultas                                        3rd – Cerys Allen

 

Ski Halfpipe

After half a metre of snow fell overnight, the Laax halfpipe shapers worked overtime to prepare the world-class pipe for the British Halfpipe Championships. With a host of GB Park and Pipe skiers tackling the huge pipe, the level of riding was super high across all age categories. For the men it was Peter Speight who put in two huge clean runs to claim the British title and for the women, Madi Rowlands took victory.  

In the men’s competition it was always going to be a tight contest between GB Park and Pipe riders Murray Buchan and Pete Speight, but after Buchan fell on a double attempt in run two, it was Speight who reigned supreme to take the title with his second run of a safety 9, a 9 tailgrab right mute, switch left 7 japan flat to 5 japan to a final left mute 7. Buchan’s run of a huge 9 tailgrab, 5 with safety grab, flair safety, 7 inside tailgrab, a solid switch cork 7 japan and alley-oop 5 japan got him the silver medal. Taking the bronze medal was Tyler Harding, who did his first run in a pair of Tottenham Hotspur boxer shorts (and nothing else) after losing a bet with GB Park and Pipe coach Jamie Matthew. Tyler put down a technical run of a flair, alley oop mute, 360, switch 360, cork 9 tail, flat 5 japan and flair safety on this first run.

Pete Speight, photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

Speight said after his win: “It was a good day up there. We were lucky with the weather and it feels good to top the podium. It is my first win here at The BRITS so I am stoked. Murray and I compete together all season, so we both know the level of each other. We’ve beaten each other in the past, so it really could have gone either way today. We travel and compete against each other a lot and we are good friends, and to be honest it could have gone either way today.”

In the ladies’ competition, unsurprisingly World Cup level skier and Youth Winter Olympic gold medallist Madi Rowlands took the win with a huge straight air, an alley-oop air, a tail grab, alley-oop 5, straight air, 360 and switch straight air. Behind Rowlands was 10-time British Champion and seasoned halfpipe veteran, Emma Lonsdale who put down a huge mute grab, a safety, alley-oop three, switch straight air, a 540 and an alley-oop 360. There were some jaws dropping in the crowd when 11 year-old Kirsty Muir took to the pipe. Putting down a second run of a straight air, alley-oop, another alley-oop, a 540, a 360 and a switch, she wowed the judges to take third place and the bronze medal. An amazing achievement for her age.

Rowlands was stoked after collecting her gold medal: “There is no doubt that I am really happy. I didn’t really feel much pressure because I have been doing World Cups so to be honest I just enjoyed shredding with the younger athletes and showing them what it is like. I was so happy for Kirsty taking the bronze, she definitely deserved it. To see her throwing the tricks she did at her age is amazing.”

Madi Rowlands, photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

In the younger age groups, there was some exceptional riding. Chris McCormick put in two solid runs to win the Under 18 category and finish 4th overall, and in the men’s Under 16 category, Sam Gaskin looked super strong to take the age group wins. In the Under 12s male category, brothers Maximus and Hugo Metzgen went huge on both runs to finish first and third respectively, with the impressive Bradley Fry being sandwiched between the two brothers. For the ladies, Jodie Grant was second behind Madi Rowlands and Madi’s sister Lexi Rowlands looked technically solid to finish behind Kirst Muir in the girls Under 12 category.

Chris McCormick, photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

Men's Ski Halfpipe Podium: Murray Buchan (L), Pete Speight (C), Tyler Harding (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini

Ladies' Ski Halfpipe Podium: Emma Lonsdale (L), Madi Rowlands (C), Kirsty Muir (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Nicki Antognini 

British Ski Halfpipe Championships Results

Men                                                                      Women

1st – Pete Speight                                             1st – Madi Rowlands

2nd – Murray Buchan                                       2nd – Emma Lonsdale

3rd – Tyler Harding                                           3rd – Kirsty Muir 

 

Bangers and Cash Snowboard Rail Competition

The final day of snowboarding competition at the 2016 BRITS began under a foot of fresh powder. Almost every competitor arrived at the course covered in snow and with a huge grin on their face. After the park shapers cleaned up the beautifully constructed rail garden, Matt McCormick and Sabrina Burnham put on a masterclass to become Bangers and Cash champions of 2016.

Bossing the men's contest from start to finish was Scotsman Matt McCormick. The GB Park and Pipe athlete stood head and shoulders above the rest of the field, especially in the finals. Hiking up the hill to get as much speed as he could into the double kink down-rail, he gapped all the way to the final section with a huge backside lipslide. He followed that up with a gap 50-50 to 360, and looked focussed all day. Second place went to Matt Corry, whose antics on the flat to down transfer setup throughout the jam were enough to sweep up the silver. Bronze went to Harry Waite, who at just 15 years-old is now certainly one to watch. Harry and his brother George both qualified for the 6-man final, and rode incredibly well, but in the end it was Harry's huge gap to back board on the double kink that put him ahead, and onto the podium.

Snowboard Bangers and Cash Rail Competiton, photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins

Fresh off the podium, McCormick commented “I'm stoked obviously! It was a bit snowy and stuff, so pretty hard, but it was really fun. The setup was sick, the transfer feature was great, and you don't see a double kink that often in rail jams”

The women's competition was also dominated by one rider – Sabrina Burnham. Her perfect front-boards, and backside boardslide through the double kink rail amazed the judges, and she was at the top of their score sheets all day. Cerys Allen scooped yet more medals, winning the under 16 category and grabbing silver in the overall. Her high speed, aggressive riding was appreciated by the judges; an outrageously fast 50-50 gap 50-50 on the transfer feature was a highlight. Third place went to crowd favourite Maisie Hill, who closed out the contest with attempts at a crazy backflip onto the down box. Although she was unsuccessful in landing it cleanly, all the riders and spectators loved her bravery, and the judges loved the rest of her riding - awarding her with a bronze medal.

Stoked on her win, Sabrina said, “I really enjoyed it. I was happy it snowed overnight so it was a little bit softer. The set up was really fun because of the variety of features, and it was great hiking and shredding with the other girls.”

Sabrina Burnham, photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins

The younger generation was also out in force and enjoying Snowpark Laax's handwork. 13 year-old Luca Mai Lane Hopkins and 9 year-old Amber Fennell had a friendly competition in the qualifiers seeing who could stomp the best trick with just one foot strapped in. Two creative young riders, ready to take up Sabrina Burnham's place at the top of rail jam podiums in years to come.

Men's Snowboard Bangers and Cash Podium: Colin Holden, BSS Snowboard Director (L) (2nd place Matt Cory), Matt McCormick (C), Harry Waite (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins

Ladies' Snowboard Bangers and Cash Podium: Cerys Allen (L), Sabrina Burnham (C), Maisie Hill (R), photo credit The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee Zarins

British Rail Championships Results

Men                                                                      Women

1st – Matt McCormick                                     1st –  Sabrina Burnham

2nd – Matt Corry                                                2nd –  Cerys Allen

3rd – Harry Waite                                              3rd – Maisie Hill

 

Bangers and Cash Ski Rail Competition

The final day of The BRITS 2016 saw the skiers tackle Laax’s awesome rail garden, with talent oozing out of every corner as Chris McCormick and Madi Rowlands wowed the crowds to become Bangers and Cash champions of 2016.

After Chris’ brother Matt had bossed the men’s Bangers and Cash snowboard contest yesterday, the GB Park and Pipe athlete laid down impressive trick after trick to take the ski title. His huge 450 disaster to flat rail was a highlight, as was his switch up on the flat to down rail and switch up on the down to pretzel 2 out. Hot on the tails of Chris was Callum Welch, who seriously impressed the judges with his runs - most notably his 450 disaster to flat rail. Taking the bronze was Rob Wilkinson who put in super clean runs, his best run consisting of a switch up from the flat to down rail with a front 2 out. There was bad luck for Tyler Harding who after making the final had to pull out with a groin injury.

Chris McCormick, photo credit www.brits-com | The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee 

For the Under 16 men, Justin Taylor Tipton proved to be the pick of the bunch with super clean riding. His tidy switch ups on the rail and many variations on all the features meant he clinched the gold ahead of Felix Klein and Haydn Fiori. For the Under 12’s there was some exciting riding from four riders involved. Bradley Fry again impressed, with Luke Burke, Jordan Ray and Charlie Ray all showing off their talents as the rising stars of British freeskiing.

Fresh off the podium, McCormick commented “I am really stoked. It was a good comp, a lot of good riding so yeah, I am really pleased to get the title. It was really tight out there. There were a lot of good riders doing a lot of good stuff. Everyone was killing it and doing their own thing taking different lines and doing different tricks. I am really happy with my riding today.”

The women's competition was a really close affair, with just five girls contesting the overall British title. Following her gold medal in yesterday’s Ski Halfpipe, Madi Rowlands once again stood on the top of the podium after some slick rail riding. Her front switch up to lipslide rail slide gave her the victory over the impressive 11 year-old Kirsty Muir, who took a very close second position. Muir, who has had remarkable BRITS put down a 2 out on the long flat rail which rivalled Madi for the top spot. In third place was Madi’s sister Lexi Rowlands who threw down a grind 2 on the rail and a ‘spin to win’ on the box.

Madi Rowlands, photo credit www.brits-com | The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee 

Rowlands commented on her second gold of the week: “Today was really good fun. It was great to be shredding with all the little kids. I am stoked to win again and The BRITS have been a lot of fun. I will be back next year 100%.”

Men's Bangers and Cash Rail Competition Podium: Callum Welch (L), Chris McCormick (C), Rob Wilkinson (R), photo credit www.brits-com | The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee  

Ladies' Bangers and Cash Rail Competition Podium: Kirsty Muir (L), Madi Rowlands (C), Lexi Rowlands (R), photo credit www.brits-com | The-Brits.com | Aivars Zee 

British Rail Championships Results

Men                                                                      Women

1st – Chris McCormick                                     1st –  Madi Rowlands

2nd – Callum Welch                                          2nd –  Kirtsy Muir

3rd – Rob Wilkinson                                          3rd – Lexi Rowlands

 

Don’t forget to check out the BRITS 2016 picture galleries at www.facebook.com/britsfestival, where you will be able to check out the Snowboard and Freeski action from the whole competition.

The BRITS would not be possible without its highly supportive Partners: LAAX, Swiss International Air Lines, Switzerland Tourism, Swiss Travel System and British Ski & Snowboard (BSS).

 

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