SUMMERHAYES AND TAYLOR-TIPTON TAKE THE BRITISH TITLES AS STANDARDS REACH SKY HIGH IN THE PICTURE SKI BIG AIR
British Snowboard & Freeski Championships, Laax, Switzerland
As the sunshine blessed the final day of the BRITS 2017, it was another spectacular day of world-class skiing, this time in the Picture Ski Big Air. With the level of riding sky high, it was a tough day for the judges not just to select the winners of the Picture Ski Big Air, but also to decide which young guns would be awarded the brand new ‘CSS at the BRITS sponsored by Delancey’ prizes for the best tricks throughout the day, including in warm-up.
With the weather meaning the competition could consist of two qualification runs ahead of a 12-man super final, there was plenty of chance for the top riders to try and throw down their best tricks. With the standard in the men’s competition world-class, it was Justin Taylor-Tipton, fresh from the World Junior Freestyle Championships, who impressed the judges with his perfect dub 12 mute in the second run of the super final, following his first run of a dub cork 10 mute. Despite falling on his second run in the super final, Monty Wright landed a steezy switch dub 10 safety on his first run, which sealed him the silver medal. In bronze medal position was Mike Rowlands, who claimed his second podium of the BRITS 2017, putting down a dub 10 mute with a nose grab on both his first and second super final runs. With the three up and coming skiers keeping big names such as Tyler Harding, who couldn’t make the grab on his dub 12 blunt into safety, off the podium, it was a signal that British freeskiing is a good hands.
Haydn Fiori and Tom Greenway showed why they are both rising stars, as they were the only two under 16 skiers to make the men’s super final. There were also impressive performances from Under 18 athlete Sam Gaskin who landed a clean cork 7 safety, and Under 12 skier David Gornall who again was top of his age-group with a 720 off the medium kicker.
Taylor-Tipton said after taking the title: “I am stoked to win. I thought I might have got the win, but everyone was doing doubles, so I wasn’t sure. I knew I had to step it up which is why I went for the 12. I can’t believe it really, but I am super happy.”
In the ladies’ competition, it was a carbon copy of the Ski Slopestyle podium, as GB Park and Pipe skier Katie Summerhayes took top spot again with her 9 Japan, which she threw down on the first run of the super final. Very close behind Katie was 12 year old Kirsty Muir, who again showed just how much she has impressed as she hit the bigger kicker, landing a clean 720 mute on her first run and a 900 on her second super final run. Taking bronze medal position again was 10 year old Fiona Muir who threw down a super clean 360 safety on her first run, again impressing both the judges and crowds. Just missing out on a podium place was Olivia Burke who skied well in both qualification and the final.
Summerhayes was delighted with her second gold of the BRITS: “I am very happy with another gold. It is the end of the season, so I was just keeping it mellow. I had other things up my sleeve, but I didn’t push it today, but is great to have Big Air back at the Brits.”
Today also saw four skiers walk away with prizes from the first ever ‘CSS at the Brits sponsored by Delancey’ competition. 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, overall winner Justin Taylor-Tipton walked away with the top prize and £500 at just 16 years old, and in second was 15 year old Tom Greenway who landed a dub 10 safety with ease to claim the £250 cheque from Delancey. For the girls, sisters Kirsty (12) and Fiona Muir (11) couldn’t be beaten as their tricks sealed them the two CSS at the Brits prizes, with Kirsty winning £500 and Fiona £250.
CSS at the Brits was born out of the success of the first ever Championship Ski and Snowboard (CSS) league, which ran on UK slopes last spring and summer. Delancey wanted to bring support for the young riders to the slopes, 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.
Kirsty Muir commented after the prizegiving: “It feels so good to have won the CSS prize. I was really pleased with my tricks today on the big jump and it was amazing to be on the podium again. I had the prize in the back of my mind, but I just wanted to do my best and have fun today. I will definitely use the money for my skiing, it is so great to have won it. It have just been the best week at the BRITS.”
Picture British Ski Big Air Championships Results
1st – Justin Taylor-Tipton 1st – Katie Summerhayes
2nd – Monty Wright 2nd – Kirsty Muir
3rd – Mike Rowlands 3rd – Fiona Muir
OLYMPIANS REIGN IN THE PIPE ON THE FINAL DAY OF THE BRITS 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.
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, with13 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 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 Championships Results
1st – Ben Kilner 1st – Lesley McKenna
2nd – Siddhartha Martin Ullah 2nd – Aimee Fuller
3rd – Spencer Claridge 3rd – Mia Brookes
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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).