10 April 2017


British Snowboard & Freeski Championships, Laax, Switzerland

A well needed bluebird day appeared from any remaining clouds as competitors arrived at the top of Laax’s almighty superpipe - the biggest in the World. Stunning views and warm weather meant that it was a fine day for some stunt ditch action. Riders of all ages mixed it in the overall competition, as softening conditions meant that holding speed and staying upright were tough, with masters and under 12s represented on both podiums. But standing on the all important top step it was two legends of the UK pipe scene: Ben Kilner and Lesley McKenna.

Ben Kilner’s style and amplitude knew no bounds, and it was almost a foregone conclusion that the Olympian would retain his title. But he didn’t take it easy, instead he put on a masterclass that will surely inspire the next crop of pipe athletes in the junior categories. Kilner’s hits included a towering backside air, frontside 720, Haaken flip and a frontside 900, all thrown way above the coping of the 200m long pipe. A tiny figure stood beside Ben on the podium, as 10 year old Siddhartha Martin Ullah took an incredible silver medal. Huge amplitude for his age, and back to back 5s meant that it was a truly deserved second place for young Sid, and he is now firmly on the radar of many. Third place went to ex-pro and BRITS organiser Spencer Claridge. Claridge’s return to the pipe was bitter sweet. He laid down a beautiful melon air to fakie and scooped the bronze medal, but a crash in his 2nd run saw him in the local hospital getting x-rays.

Ben Kilner | Photo by Motionstoppers.com

Asked if it would be his final national title, Kilner commented “Certainly competing wise, my days are kind of over, I’m hanging up the boots, but I’m sure I’ll be back. It’s one of those events that’s a real lot of fun and I can catch up with a lot of family and friends”

In the women's contest, it was three time Olympian and GB Park and Pipe programme manager Lesley McKenna who added yet another gold to her BRITS haul through the years. Egged on by her athlete Aimee Fuller, Lesley returned to competition for the day and showed that she still has it! Her style and pure amplitude meant that she sailed ahead of the competition. In second place it was the very person who put Lesley up to riding - Slopestyle and Big Air champ Aimee Fuller. Fuller may not be as home in the pipe as she is on the kickers, but her all around talent shone, and alley-oop handplants had everyone smiling. Third place went to another young rider with talent greater than her years. Mia Brookes stood on the podium just a couple of months after turning 10 years old. As always, she was oozing style as she cranked methods and span 360s in both directions.

On her return to the podium, McKenna said: “Aimee Fuller sneakily entered me into the competition, and persuaded me to ride for fun, and actually I’m so glad I did, the atmosphere was so great. From the old-timers like me, to the young rippers, everyone was having a great day up there and really supporting one another.”

Today's prize giving also saw four young snowboarders awarded with prizes from the first ever ‘CSS at the Brits sponsored by Delancey’ competition which ran during yesterday's Picture Snowboard Big Air. All riders under 18 were in with the chance of claiming the prize, which was awarded to the young gun performing the best trick of the day, whether in warm-up, qualification or finals. For the men, 17 year old Ciaran Tucker came out on top to claim first prize and the £500 cheque, with 13 year old Leon Drynan taking £250 for second place. And for the girls, 16 year old Cerys Allen impressed the judges to be awarded first place and walk away with the £500 cheque, and just behind her was the ever-impressive 10 year old Mia Brookes. 

CSS at the Brits sponsiored by Delancey prize winners

CSS at the Brits was born out of the success of the first ever Championship Ski and Snowboard (CSS) league, which ran in UK slopes last spring and summer. Delancey wanted to bring the same support for the young riders to the mountains, with ‘CSS at the Brits’ allowing young athletes to showcase their skills and push their limits as well as inspire more young athletes to achieve their snowsport ambition.

British Snowboard Halfpipe podiums | Photos by Bluebird Photography.com

British Snowboard Halfpipe Championships Results

             Men                                                          Women

1st –  Ben Kilner                                            1st – Lesley McKenna

2nd – Siddhartha Martin Ullah                      2nd – Aimee Fuller

3rd – Spencer Claridge                                   3rd – Mia Brookes


Be sure to follow The BRITS on Facebook for all the latest photos and videos from the championship as it happens - www.facebook.com/britsfestival

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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