On a wild and windy day in Laax, day two of the BRITS 2019 saw new British champions crowned on a challenging ski cross course, and some impressive performances in the Snowboard Big Air, despite difficult conditions that meant competitors could only put down one run. With a big weather front on the horizon and 70-100cm of snow set to fall on Thursday, it was hoped that the weather would only affect the one day of competition, but Wednesday saw the arrival of gusty wind and poor weather, shortening both competitions.
Snowboard Big Air
After a cloudy morning at Snowpark Laax, it looked as though conditions would clear for competition. With a short delay to allow more practice, the big guns showed that they were firing at the top of their game, getting both crowds and riders hyped for what looked set to be a great battle on Laax’s biggest hits.
But, alas, mother nature always has the last word. As the runs progressed, conditions began to deteriorate and by the time the biggest names in men’s UK kicker-riding dropped, they could not reach the speeds required for the largest kicker, limiting their air time. But what they lost in amplitude, they added in style, and all those who stood on the podium did so deservedly.
It was a closely fought battle between second placed Matt McCormick and victor Billy Cockrell, both pulling backside 720 mutes off the medium kicker. However Cockrell’s was deemed the cleaner by a tiny margin – just a single point split the GB Park+Pipe athletes, highlighting the strength and depth in the current squad. Fraser Jamieson took the bronze medal with a cranked 720 japan.
“I was happy with the win today, it was hard conditions and they weren’t the same as last years, so a very different comp,” said Cockrell, who was named by GB Park+Pipe coaches as their most improved rider of 2019. “Still a good one and great to shred with everyone.”
Dropping first, the women’s contest mostly avoided the higher winds that later stopped the competition. Making full use of her place at the stop of the start list was 12-year-old Mia Brookes, who just can’t stop winning at the moment! With a huge backside 720, Brookes opened the contest in style and retained her title as British Champion for the second year running.
Silver went to yesterday’s boardercross champ Maisie Hill, with a towering frontside 540, while bronze went to the 2018 slopestyle champ Cerys Allen (all pictured top).
Brookes, who invested last year’s winnings in some new Lego, was asked what she would do with this prize:
“Buy a car, a mark 1 VW Caddy! And I’m gonna fill the back with Star Wars Lego…”
BRITS 2019 – Picture Big Air Championships edit from Snowpark LAAX. Overall Men: 1st Billy Cockrell, 2nd Matt McCormick, 3rd Fraser JamiesonOverall Women: 1st Mia Brookes, 2nd Maisie Hill, 3rd Cerys Allen Follow us on insta @britssnow for more videos
Posted by The BRITS on Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Having yesterday lost the snowboardcross title he had held for three years, BBC’s Ed Leigh was looking for redemption in the big air. With a go big or go home mentality, he dropped into the Masters category and showed that dads can still get rad with an enormous laid out backflip over the sizeable medium kicker. With wins for his wife Sian and daughter Suki in the women’s masters and under 16s respectively, and a silver for son Oscar, the Leighs certainly have reason to celebrate!
Olympians and Junior World Champions have graced the ski cross podium in recent year at The BRITS but it was a host of teenagers which took centre stage today in an event which rewarded raw speed over physicality and tactics. With conditions closing in, there was always the chance the ski cross titles would be determined by qualifying times alone, and so it did, with weather causing cancellation of the head to head knockout rounds.
In the ladies contest, 13-year-old Octavia Steiger set the fastest qualifying time (57.77) which was enough to earn her top spot on the podium by just over a second’s advantage over second placed Emily Keen (58.93). Imogen Smith (1:00.42) claimed bronze.
The race was good, conditions were tough but I thought I handled them well and it was very fun,” said Steiger. “It was hard because it all had to be done on qualification times which is difficult. It’s hard because you don’t know where you are compared to everyone else but I think everyone handled it fairly well today.”
British Junior World Championships representative Nicholas Bingham cast a dominant figure in the men’s ski cross, with his first run qualifying time of 53.67 almost three seconds quicker the rest of the field. Tommy Dade (55.40) closed the margin by more than a second on the final run, but Bingham’s time stood strong to hold onto the gold medal. Patrick Young (57.55) was a further two seconds back in third.
“I thought the course was really great,” said Bingham. “A great competition as always and such a good way to finish off the season. I’m delighted to be British champion.”
BRITS 2019 – Skiercross Championships edit from Snowpark LAAX . Overall Men: 1st Nicholas Bingham, 2nd Tommy Dade, 3rd Patrick YoungOverall Women: 1st Octavia Steiger, 2nd Emily Keen, 3rd Imogen SmithFollow us on insta @britssnow for more videos
Posted by The BRITS on Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Photo credits: Snowboard – Motionstoppers.com / Ski & Podiums – Bluebird Photography