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Podiums across Europe for British skiers

The World Cup season is almost at an end but there was no let up for British skiers and snowboarders competing across Europe in alpine, cross country, freestyle, telemark and speed skiing.

And it was a successful series of results across the board with three World Cup podiums, three Europa Cup podiums amongst a host of top 10 performances.

FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup – Friday 16 March – Seiser Alm ITA

Britain’s slopestyle stars were at it again in their final World Cup of the season with Izzy Atkin and James Woods both earning podium finishes in Seiser Alm on Friday.

Olympic bronze medallist Atkin had to launch a second run charge to qualify for the top eight on Wednesday and she showed similar poise to come through the field in the final. Sitting seventh after the first run, Atkin sent down the best second run of the competition to score 80.40.

She then watched on as the next six skiers failed to pass her score and she took second place behind Caroline Claire (USA 84.00) while Canada’s Yuki Tsubota was third (80.00).

Not to be outdone, James Woods closed out season 2017/18 with another podium appearance after starting his campaign with victory in New Zealand back in August.

Woods was fourth after the initial final runs but jumped up to second with a score of 89.20, sitting just adrift of Andri Ragettli (SUI 91.20). However Olympic silver medallist Nick Goepper (USA) came through on the last run of the competition with a score of 92.60 to take top spot on the podium.

“To finish off the World Cup season with two podiums, especially after the busy year with the Olympics, it’s sort of been a dream end to this chapter,” said head coach Pat Sharples. “The whole team have showed consistency at the highest level all year and have gone on to earn World Cup, X-Games and Olympic medals.

“I’m super proud of everyone from the athletes and coaches to the support staff who’ve all worked so hard to get us to where we are.”

FIS Telemark World Cup – Wednesday 14 to Saturday 17 March – Rjukan NOR

Jasmin Taylor started the penultimate Telemark World Cup of the season with fifth and equal-ninth placings, but she made amends on Friday and Saturday with a pair of podium finishes.

In Friday’s parallel sprint, Taylor won through her opening two races to set up a semi-final against Beatrice Zimmerman (SUI), however Taylor unfortunately recorded a DNF and was relegated to the small final. The 24-year-old turned it around quickly to then defeat Guro Helde Kjoelseth (NOR), finishing third and claiming her 12th podium of the season.

On Saturday Taylor marked her 100th World Cup race by finishing third in the sprint, recording her 14th top three finish from 18 races this season.

Taylor now has 21 career World Cup podiums, eight behind British record-holder Jilly Curry (freestyle skiing, 29 podiums 1987-1994).

Robert Houstoun also raced in Rjukan over the weekend, competing in his first World Cup races in more than two years. He failed to make the round of 32 in Thursday or Friday’s parallel sprint and was 37th in Wednesday’s sprint.

The World Cup Finals take place from Wednesday to Sunday this week in Mürren, Switzerland.

FIS Cross Country World Cup – Friday 16 to Sunday 18 March – Falun SWE

Andrew Musgrave finished the World Cup season with a 29th-place finish in the mini-tour at Falun over the weekend.

The result saw him finish 2017/18 ranked 22nd on the overall World Cup standings, and 14th on the distance rankings. Both are career-bests for Musgrave who was 23rd overall last season and 18th in distance.

The 28-year-old was 40th in Friday’s sprint qualifying before finishing 33rd in Saturday’s 15km classic mass start. He then ranked 34th going into yesterday’s 15km free pursuit, recording the 30th-fastest time to move up five places overall.

Andrew Young had the best individual race result out of the four British team members, qualifying for the top 30 in Friday’s sprint and only narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-finals to be ranked 16th. He went on to finish 63rd overall.

James Clugnet was again competitive in the sprint, missing the top 30 by less than two seconds. He completed the mini-tour 78th out of 91 starters while Callum Smith did not finish Saturday’s classic race.

FIS Snowboard World Cup – Friday 16 & Saturday 17 March – Veysonnaz SUI
Four-time Olympian Zoë Gillings-Brier wound back the clock at the World Cup finals in Veysonnaz, recording her best result in more than four years.

Gillings-Brier qualified 15th-fastest on Friday, then on Saturday finished third in her quarter-final to move into the top 12. She was then fifth in the semis, and while she was relegated to the small final, she finished third to earn a ninth-place finish.

It is Gillings-Brier’s best result since finishing eighth at Veysonnaz in March 2014 and marked her 40th World Cup top ten.

FIS Snowboard World Cup – Friday 16 & Saturday 17 March – Seiser Alm ITA

Three bright young hopes of British snowboarding made their slopestyle World Cup debuts on Friday.

In the first heat, Billy Cockrell put in a fantastic performance to record a score of 73.50, just 2.5 points away from qualifying for the final, and a 20th-place finish overall.

Fin Bremner (42nd) and Raymond Prentice (47th) were unable to land either of their runs but both earned World Cup points and will benefit from the experience of competing alongside some of the best in the business.

FIS Alpine World Cup – Sunday 18 March – Are SWE
Dave Ryding was hoping for the opportunity to record a big finish to his 2017/18 World Cup campaign, however Sunday’s slalom event at Are was cancelled due to high winds.

Ryding finishes the season ranked 11th overall in slalom, his second-best season after he was eighth in 2016/17.

His next appearance will be at the Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships in Tignes later this month.

FIS Speed Skiing World Cup – Friday 16 & Saturday 17 March – Idre Fjäll SWE
Jan Farrell has moved his overall World Cup ranking up to fifth following a pair of strong results at the Speed Skiing World Cup in Sweden.

Farrell finished ninth on Friday and bettered that result to sixth on Saturday where his average speed of 177.12km/h was less than 4km/h from top spot on the podium.

The final Speed Skiing World Cups of the season will be at Grandvalira, Andorra in the first week of April.

FIS Freestyle Skiing Europa Cup – Friday 16 March – Airolo SUI

Thomas and Makyala Gerken Schofield’s first season on the World Cup circuit has paid dividends with the pair recording podium finishes in the Europa Cup event at Airolo on Friday.

Makayla was first to crack the top three when she was second in the single moguls before older brother Thomas made it a double by finishing third in the men’s event where Max Willis was eighth.

Thomas then stepped it up in the dual moguls later in the day where he was second in an event which highlighted the rising strength of British moguls, with Max Willis (6th) and Wil Willis (8th) also recording top 10 results.