Izzy Atkin

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Atkin podium highlights busy World Cup weekend

Slopestyle skier Izzy Atkin claimed her first podium of 2017/18 to showcase her Olympic intentions and headline British World Cup performances over the weekend.

There were also top ten performances from James Woods and the men’s sprint cross country team while Jasmin Taylor claimed two more podiums at the Telemark World Cup.

FIS Freeski World Cup, Snowmass USA – Wednesday 10 to Saturday 13 January Izzy Atkin’s season is pointing in the right direction after a stellar weekend at Aspen Snowmass.

Atkin (87.80) finished third in Saturday’s ski slopestyle World Cup, narrowly behind Norway’s Johanne Killi (91.60) and USA’s Maggie Voisin (89.00). The result was Atkin’s first trip to the World Cup podium since winning in Silvaplana, Switzerland in March 2017.

Having placed seventh at Stubai in November then fifth at the Dew Tour in December, the 2017 World Championships bronze medallist’s form is building perfectly as she approaches the most important events of the season.

“I’m stoked to put a run down; I really liked the course and the good weather today,” said Atkin. “Now I can look forward to the X-Games and then onto PyeongChang.”

James Woods also put in a strong performance today in Aspen, finishing sixth in the men’s slopestyle. After making a mistake near the top of his first run, Woods put it all on the line in his second trip through the course and scored 90.20 to finish sixth, four points adrift of the top three in a highly-competitive field.

The pair then backed up their form in the Grand Prix event on Sunday, with Atkin again finishing third while Woods was fifth.

Atkin’s result makes her the fourth member of the GB Park and Pipe squad to stand on the World Cup podium this year. Woods won the ski slopestyle in New Zealand in August, while in November Katie Ormerod placed second at the Milan snowboard big air and Katie Summerhayes claimed ski slopestyle silver in Stubai.

FIS Cross Country Skiing World Cup, Dresden GER – Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 January Andrew Young left the Tour de Ski after the first stage on 30 December following a season-best 10th place; his intentions were to put in a strong performance at the World Cup Sprint event in Dresden and those plans delivered great results over the weekend.

In Saturday’s individual sprint, Young qualified third-fastest through the prologue to progress to the next stage. While he then placed third in his quarter-final, his time wasn’t fast enough to move into the semis but he still finished 13th overall.

Competing in just his second World Cup, James Clugnet – who turned 21 in December – finished 35th, around one second from a place in the quarter-finals.

The pair then combined for the Team Sprint on Sunday with a standout performance. Young and Clugnet were always with the leaders in their heat and eventually finished sixth, earning Great Britain a place in its first-ever Team Sprint Final.

The pair then stayed with the main pack for most of the final, eventually drifting to finish ninth overall. While Young’s continued good form after a bout of early-season illness was impressive, the performance of Clugnet was particularly encouraging, scoring one of the top splits in his final lap on the way to a top 10 in just his second World Cup outing.

FIS Alpine World Cup, Wengen SUI – Sunday 14 January Dave Ryding approached the World Cup slalom in Wengen with high hopes following a series of strong performances over the past month including three top tens.

However the Swiss venue did not prove a happy stomping ground for Ryding who crashed out midway through his first run.

Ryding later lamented on social media that “there are too many rookie errors in my skiing right now”, but will be targeting an improved result this weekend when he returns to Kitzbuhel, the scene of his famous breakthrough World Cup podium in 2017.

FIS Telemark World Cup, Pralognan-la-Vanoise FRA – Friday 12 & Saturday 13 January British Ski and Snowboard co-hosted the second Telemark World Cup of the season in France where Jasmin Taylor again showed she is one of the best in the business.

The British skier claimed two podiums in three events at the season opener in Hintertux in December, and she was again in the medals with a pair of thirds in Saturday’s Sprint and Sunday’s Classic events.

She now has a career total of 12 World Cup podium finishes to sit third on Britain’s all-time list behind freestyle skiers Jilly Curry (29) and Mike Nemesvary (16).

James French (17th) was GB Telemark’s highest-placed competitor in the men’s sprint while Sion Bingham was the best-performed in the men’s classic (=20th).

FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, Deer Valley USA – Friday 12 January “Not my best day at [the] World Cup in Deer Valley, unfortunately it doesn’t always go to plan.”

That was the honest self-assessment of Lloyd Wallace who, by his own admission, performed below his own expectations in Friday’s event where he finished well down the rankings.

Already with one World Cup top 20 to his credit this season, Wallace has two more opportunities to get his form on track with a pair of World Cups at Lake Placid on Friday and Saturday.

FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, Idre Fjall SWE – Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 January The British Ski Cross team’s trip to Idre Fjall did not end up a memorable journey with a series of frustrating performances on Thursday and Friday failing to see any athletes qualify for the weekend’s finals.

Former alpine skier Ollie Davies made his World Cup debut in Sweden following a number of impressive results in FIS and Europa Cup races earlier in the season. Unfortunately he couldn’t bring that form to the challenging course at Idre, although he was only around 1.7sec off qualifying for the top 32 on both days.

In the ladies’ events, no athletes qualified in the top 16 for weekend finals, with the leading performances coming from Emily Sarsfield (25th on Thursday) and Emma Peters (26th on Friday).

The Ski Cross team now heads to Canada for two World Cup and two Nor-Am Cup races in Nakiska, beginning on Friday.