06 April 2018

Hill tops podium again and Courtier-Jones returns to throne

Truly glorious spring conditions greeted competitors and spectators as they arrived on the Crap Sogn Gion for the final day of competition at the Brits 2018 and the British halfpipe championship.

Blue skies, high temperatures and a festival atmosphere were the perfect ingredients for a great contest in the almighty Laax halfpipe. Taking the spoils and the title of national champions were Maisie Hill and Lewis Courtier-Jones.

As with the whole week of contests, there was an incredible energy at the top of the hill, with families and pros, newcomers and vets all getting stuck in. The super final saw Under 12s to Masters categories all represented, showing age is just a number at The BRITS.

To compete for the Men’s crown, 2014 & 2015 champion Lewis Courtier-Jones had travelled all the way across the Alps from Courchevel, France through the night before the contest. It turned out that the seven-hour trek was well worth it, as Lewis lead throughout with amplitude that was unmatched.

In the last run, with a solid score in the bag, he let loose with the hammers, and although he fell, it was great to see him put on a show for the crowds.

Behind Courtier-Jones and keeping him honest was 13-year-old phenom Liam Tynan. He hadn’t been able shown his full potential in big air due to the high winds, but leapt at the opportunity in today’s perfect conditions, and delivered throughout the contest. In third it was BBC Ski Sunday’s Ed Leigh, who could barely believe that his Masters-winning run was also good enough to put him on the overall podium.

Chuffed on being able to regain his title, Courtier-Jones explained his hiatus from pipe riding: “This is my third win; I didn’t win it last year or the year before… I’ve been injured the last couple of years. It was my first day in the pipe today, this season. I did my ACL and I did my wrist as well so it feels just good to be back on the board this season and to win The BRITS at the end is nice, isn’t it?!

“ The pipe was absolutely perfect – you couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day, really. It was awesome.” And he was clearly happy with what he managed to get down today after little preparation: “I was just doing a few big methods, trying to go big… cripplers and back to back 7s. I did try a front 9, but I landed on my face!”

(l-r) The BRITS 2018 Men's Snowboard Halfpipe podium: Liam Tynan (2nd),  Lewis Courtier-Jones (1st), Ed Leigh (3rd) / Bluebird Photography

In the women’s event it was also a broad spread of age and experience that graced the podium as an Under 12, an Under 18 and a Master shared the medals.

Taking the win and an unprecedented fourth podium of the week was Maisie Hill, who added another overall gold to the Boardercoss title she won on day on. With two titles plus a silver and a bronze, she will leave Laax as the most-decorated athlete of the year.

Standing beside Maisie on the podium, and more than happy to hand the baton to her young rival was British snowboarding legend Lesley McKenna. The three-time Olympian and GB Park & Pipe Programme Manager’s pipe runs are still a thing of beauty, and her first hit had the crowd grinning from ear-to-ear. Scooping the bronze was 11-year-old style-cat Mia Brookes, who’s steeze has been off the chart all week.

“Everyone killed it, especially Lesley, it was just so good,” said Hill. “The pipe was excellent; shaped to perfection, as usual in Laax.” Looking ahead, she has plans to be even stronger in 2019: “I’m going to Livigno now for a week to train on the air bag. I don’t know where I’ll be going this summer but hopefully I’ll be training somewhere nice”, and on coming back next year to defend: “Of course I will… it’s Laax!”

(l-r) The BRITS 2018 Women's Snowboard Halfpipe podium: Lesley McKenna (2nd, with daughter Coira),  Maisie Hill (1st), Mia Brookes (3rd) / Bluebird Photography


British Halfpipe Championships - Snowboard Results

MEN: 1st Lewis Courtier-Jones, 2nd Liam Tynan, 3rd Ed Leigh
WOMEN: 1st Maisie Hill, 2nd Lesley McKenna, 3rd Mia Brookes

Be sure to follow The BRITS on our social channels for all the latest photos and videos from the championship as it happens - www.facebook.com/britssnow and @britssnow on Instagram.

The BRITS would not be possible without its highly supportive Partners: LAAX, Picture Organic Clothing, SWISS International Airlines, Switzerland Tourism and British Ski & Snowboard (BSS).

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