The BRITS, 3-10th April 2016, Laax, Switzerland
The opening day of The BRITS 2016 saw the British Snowboard Championships return to the Laax snowpark for the first time in 4 years. Although riders had to fight increasing winds and slushy snow conditions, the level of riding was consistently high from the under 12s to the elite riders. Two of these elite riders were crowned British Champions for 2016 – GB Park and Pipe athletes Katie Ormerod (18) and Rowan Coultas (18).
With Laax recording high temperatures, snow conditions were monitored and discussed at length in the days running up to the contest. With input from riders, coaches, and officials, the decision was made to run the open and older athletes first, and only run finals if a change in weather brought better snow conditions. With this in mind, all riders went out to lay down their best runs in qualification.
With the top riders on course first, it was straight down to serious business. Rowan Coultas was one of the first of the open men to hit the course, and absolutely made it his own. His cranked method over the roller feature and huge backside double-cork 1080 nosegrab on the final kicker made for a run packed with technicality and style, and earned him his maiden British Title. The second step of the podium was claimed by big air legend Billy Morgan. Laying down a classic backside rodeo – which judge Jamie Keeble described as “the single nicest trick of the day” – along with a towering switch-backside 180, Billy Morgan claimed his first BRITS Medal since the championship was last in Laax. Bronze went to Fin Bremner, who doubled up on medals; also taking out the under 18 title, whilst locking up the podium for GB Park and Pipe athletes.
After a huge return to form, Rowan said “I had a banger of an end to the season, it didn’t start that great, but managed to come back from injury pretty quickly and got a few results at the end of the season” The women’s podium was also topped by a GB Park and Pipe athlete fresh off international podiums. Katie Ormerod was the only woman to take on the enormous Laax Pro Line kickers, and despite the tough conditions, sent her first hit further than most of the men’s field. With her usual comprehensive mix of spins, and her world-class frontside boardslide, the 18 year old claimed the Gold. Fiona Reid’s (23) second place run was brimming with confidence and speed. A big rocket grab and a stylish nose to tailgrab were the highlights of a stellar run. Third place was taken by Cerys Allen (15) – now a near-permanent feature of British championship podium ceremonies.
Clearly stoked on her win, Katie said, “I’m so excited to be back here in Laax at the BRITS and to win the slopestyle event. Such a fun day riding with all my British friends.”
A highlight of the Slopestyle each year is seeing the young guns on the same stage as the World Class athletes. Harry Waite (15) took out the under 16 title and an overall top ten with an incredible cab-underflip on the first kicker. On the second kicker, method of the day went to Mia Brookes, who at 9 years old also took 4th place overall – an almost unbelievable achievement. The style and technicality of her riding is far beyond her years, and there are few athletes with a brighter future in the British snowsports scene.
British Snowboard Slopestyle Championships Results
1st – Rowan Coultas
2nd – Billy Morgan
3rd – Fin Bremner
1st – Katie Ormerod
2nd – Fiona Reid
3rd – Cerys Allen
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 previous day’s 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).
For further information go to www.the-brits.com