X Games 2022 is set to get underway in Aspen, Colorado on Friday 21 January. We take a look at what’s in store for the British athletes on the invite list.

Among the world’s action sports events, X Games stands out as one of the year’s biggest and most significant gatherings for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Returning to Aspen, Colorado, for the 21st consecutive year, X Games 2022 will see some of the world’s best-known freestyle skiers and snowboarders compete in front of enormous live and global TV audiences.

Who’s Competing?

Four British athletes have received invites to compete at X Games 2022:

When does it start?

X Games 2022 runs from Friday 21 January to Sunday 23 January. The opening day’s competition includes Women’s Ski Big Air and Women’s Ski SuperPipe.

How did the Brits get on last year?

Britain’s Izzy Atkin grabbed silver in the Women’s Ski Slopestyle in 2021, while her younger sister Zoe came in fourth in the Women’s Ski SuperPipe.

How can I watch?

Across Europe, X Games is broadcast on ESPNPlayer and on Eurosport. If you’re in the US, it’s on ESPN’s online streaming service, or the event is free to attend in person.

Where can I find out more?

The X Games Aspen 2022 site contains a wealth of information, including a full competition schedule and details of competing athletes.

Header Image: Zoe Atkin competing in Women’s Ski SuperPipe during X Games Aspen 2021. (Photo by Matt Morning / ESPN Images)

A packed week of action at the World Para Snow Sports Championships saw Britain take three medals from the opening days’ competitions, while elsewhere there were impressive results for Charlie Guest and Katie Summerhayes

Britain’s Para Snowsport bagged three medals in the opening stretch of the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, with Para Alpine sit skier Shona Brownlee marking her first World Championships appearance with a silver in Super-G, Para Alpine Paralympic medallist Millie Knight bagging Super-G bronze, and Para Snowboarder James Barnes-Miller also grabbing Dual Banked Slalom bronze.

Amid a festival of Para Snowsport at the famed site of the 1994 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Neil Simpson and Andrew Simpson took an impressive fourth place in Super-G, with Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest coming in fifth in their own Super-G race.

In Snowboard Dual Banked Slalom, Nina Sparks marked an impressive World Championships debut by progressing to the quarter finals, losing out to eventual champion Lisa Bunschoten, while Ollie Hill took an exceptional fourth place, finishing just 1.08 seconds outside of the bronze medal position to Ben Tudhope. Jon-Allan Butterworth, also making his World Championships debut, finished less than three seconds outside of the quarter final qualification spots, Owen Pick was disqualified in his qualifying run, while Andy Macleod was eliminated at the same stage.

In the Para Nordic competitions, the pick of the results was Scott Meenagh’s 12th place in the Sprint competition, 14th place in Middle C and 15th in Middle, while Steve Arnold recovered from an injury scare in Middle C to return to competition just two days later with 19th (Sprint) and 17th (Middle) place finishes. Steve Thomas took 21st in Middle C.

On the Alpine World Cup circuit, Charlie Guest’s excellent season continued with a personal best 13th place finish at World Cup Schladming in her fourth top-20 finish in just seven races this season. Dave Ryding took 16th place at World Cup Wengen, to put a short run of DNFs behind him, while also taking fourth spot in the invitational night slalom at Crans Montana.

The Freeski World Cup in Font Romeu ended with a sixth place Slopestyle finish for Katie Summerhayes, her first top-10 since last year’s Silvaplana World Cup. In the men’s competition, Chris McCormick came in 24th. In Laax, Katie Ormerod took 11th place in the Freestyle Snowboard World Cup.

Finally, Nakiska’s dual Ski Cross World Cups saw Emma Peters and Ollie Davies both take top-20 finishes, with each coming in 19th spot in the first of the event’s two WC competitions.

The weekly GB Snowsport results summary is presented in association with Snow+Rock

Header Image: James Barnes-Miller at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, January 2022. Photo: Gisle Johnson

A golden weekend saw Charlotte Bankes top back-to-back World Cup podiums, while Billy Major took gold in Germany. The Freestyle squad saw impressive results for Katie Ormerod and Kirsty Muir in the US, while in Norway final preparations are underway for the World Para Snow Sports Championships.

Charlotte Bankes’ run of outstanding form continued this weekend with a brace of World Cup victories in Krasnoyarsk. The reigning Snowboard Cross world champion notched her second and third World Cup gold medals of the season, and her fourth podium in five races, with a pair of dominant displays. Both races saw her hold off France’s Chloe Trespeuch in second place, with American Lindsey Jacobellis taking bronze on both occasions, and she now stands 99 points clear in the overall World Cup standings. Maisie Potter took 31st and 25th spots in the two races, while in the men’s competition, 20-year-old Huw Nightingale recorded an encouraging 25th place in Sunday’s race, his highest World Cup finish in his four WC level solo events to date.

In Mammoth, USA, Katie Ormerod’s Olympic preparations continued with fourth place in the Slopestyle World Cup, her highest WC placing since taking third in Calgary World Cup in February 2020. Her score of 72.32 was enough to hold off Hailey Langland in fifth, with Japan’s Kokomo Murase taking third spot. In the Freeski competition, Kirsty Muir notched another top-10 finish coming in fifth in an extremely strong field. The result gives the 17-year-old back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in her WC career, while Connie Brogden continued her return to competitive action with an encouraging top-20 spot, finishing up in 16th place in Slopestyle and 23rd in Halfpipe, with Katie Summerhayes taking 13th place in Slopestyle.

Sticking in Mammoth, Chris McCormick banked another top-20 finish with 19th place in Freeski Slopestyle, with Tyler Harding coming in 23rd. James Woods saw both his runs end in crashes, leaving him outside the WC points positions. Sam Ward finished 31st in Freeski Halfpipe, with Sam Gaskin taking 33rd spot in the same event.

In Alpine, Billy Major grabbed a pair of Europa Cup podiums with silver and gold in Berchtesgaden, Germany. In the first of the two races, Laurie Taylor was leading the field by a significant margin going into the turn, but was unfortunate to crash out on his second run.

In Adelboden, Dave Ryding experienced a tough day’s racing at the site of his return to Alpine WC podiums last year. Well-placed after a solid first run, his second run saw him straddle a gate to record a DNF. Charlie Guest, meanwhile, continued her fine run of World Cup form with another top-20 finish, this time securing 18th place in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, just slightly over 0.5s outside of the top-10.

Mani Cooper took silver in the Nordic Combined Austria Cup by winning the mass-start Cross Country, and in Moguls, the high point of back-to-back World Cups in Tremblant, Canada, was a 22nd place finish for Makayla Gerken Schofield on a weekend that also saw Leonie Gerkan Schofield, Will Feneley, and Skyler Nunn bank top-30 spots.

In Norway, preparations are now well underway for the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, where British hopes for success are pinned on the largest ever British squad attending the competition. Events get underway on Wednesday 13 January.

The weekly GB Snowsport results summary is presented in association with Snow+Rock

Header Image: Charlotte Bankes on the podium at Krasnoyarsk World Cup. Photo Credit: Alekseev Semyon

Amid the Christmas and New Year festivities, British skiers and snowboarders were putting down some impressive results in the lead-in to an Olympic and Paralympic year

As the clock ticked over into 2022, 18-year-old Freeskier, Zoe Atkin, was adding to her already impressive body of results with a pair of top-10 finishes in Calgary World Cup. Her first, an eighth-place finish, came after she was forced to withdraw from the final having qualified in fifth after sustaining a cracked helmet in training. Having successfully come through required head injuries protocol assessments, she returned to land sixth place in the year’s first World Cup competition having qualified in third. The two results continue Atkin’s streak of top-10 World Cup finishes which now extend back to her very first World Cup competition in 2018, and includes two podium finishes in Copper Mountain and Aspen in 2019 and 2021.

Calgary also marked Connie Brogden’s return to snow for the 20-year-old’s first World Cup competitions since March, landing 20th and 22nd place Halfpipe finishes. Katie Ormerod took 23rd place in Snowboard Slopestyle and Sam Ward a brace of 26th place Freeski Halfpipe finishes rounded out British results in the Canadian resort.

Three-time Cross-Country Olympian, Andrew Musgrave, delivered one of his finest results in recent years at the third stage of the Tour de Ski in Oberstdorf, Germany, on New Year’s Eve, with a fourth-place finish in the 15km free, which saw him miss out on a podium place by just 1.6s.

In Alpine, Laurie Taylor secured World Cup points in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, with an excellent 25th-place finish amid an extremely strong field. Dave Ryding had seemed on course for another tilt at the top positions but was unfortunate to ski out in the second run having come through the first run in fourth place. Charlie Guest saw similar misfortune at World Cup Lienz in Austria after an excellent first run that saw her move into 14th place. Reece Bell, meanwhile, delivered an excellent World Cup debut finishing just 0.45s outside of qualification for the second round before suffering the agony of an ACL tear in training.

Britain’s leading Telemark skier, Jasmin Taylor, got her season back underway with third and fourth place finishes at the Meiringen National Championships in Switzerland. World Cup competition in Telemark resumes from mid-January in Samoens, France.

And finally, off the slopes, Para Alpine skier, Shona Brownlee, was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours lists, with her nomination citing her as an exemplary ambassador for the Royal Air Force. Brownlee was recently named in the British squad for the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, which get underway on 8 January.

The weekly GB Snowsport results summary is presented in association with Snow+Rock

Header Image: Andrew Musgrave, GEPA pictures/ Daniel Schoenherr

After covid slammed the breaks on a fast-developing career, Connie Brogden’s back with a new awareness of what matters

“It was really tough. Even just entering the pandemic in the first week, I was already having such a hard time.” Connie Brogden’s reflecting on the challenges she faced when covid restrictions threw life off course in 2020. Still just 19 years old (her 20th birthday is approaching, on New Year’s Eve), the Connecticut born British freeskier had just made her first strides onto the World Cup circuit when the emerging pandemic brought competition to a halt.

Up to that point, Brogden’s career had seen a more or less unbroken upward trajectory. Promising results on the junior stage generated a buzz, before she broke her way into public awareness with a stunning victory in the 2019 Junior World Championships in Switzerland at just 17. Her overriding reaction to that victory? Surprise.

“I was more in shock than anything!”, she recalls. “During the event I was just focused on putting down the best run I physically could. My adrenaline was really pumping, and when I found out I had won, I was so pumped I actually forgot to call my mum and dad to tell them. They had to find out by looking at the scores later that day!”

As it turns out, the best run she could put down was something seriously impressive, including one of her first nine hundreds in competition. It was a victory that served as a marker that Brogden possesses some serious talent.

What followed was a host of increasingly impressive performances, including FIS, National Championships and NorAm podium finishes, and a World Cup debut later that same year in Mammoth in the US. Behind the scenes, though, Brogden was struggling without knowing why.

“Prior to covid, I was suffering from anxiety on my own,” she says. “I had no idea what it was or that I actually had it.” And then the pandemic struck. “Going into lockdown made it much worse and made it too tough to keep ignoring.”

It’s a cloud which had a distinct silver lining, with the forced stop leading to a diagnosis which gave her the opportunity to address and manage the challenges she was acing. “After being diagnosed with anxiety and mental health struggles I was able to get my mental health under control and focus on doing tings that I love. During the pandemic I was forced to stop skiing, but it was honestly a good thing for me to take a break. Being forced into a break it was something I really needed for my mental health. It made me realise that you do have to prioritise not just your physical health to be able to compete, but also your mental health. Just as much, if not more.”

Like many of her generation, Brogden is a prolific – and talented – user of social media. It’s something she puts down to the community involved in freeskiing. “In the freeskiing community, social media is huge,” she explains. “It’s a way for skiers to share what they’re working on, be creative, even meet each other.”

As she describes her social media use, it’s clear that she’s talking about something that’s deeply philosophical for freestyle sports. “Skiing’s not just about competing all the time,” she says. “It’s also about bringing the sport forward and progressing it, and the way to progress the sport is to bring new tricks and new style into the park. It allows people to not just compete in competitions, but also online with each other, about who can do the newest trick or the most stylish trick. It really breaks down the limits.”

While she’s good at finding community online, Brodgen’s equally adept at doing so within the British team, and she picks out Katie Summerhayes as one of the individuals that she really looks up to.

“I had just started park skiing and remember watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics and seeing a girl from the UK [Summerhayes] competing. At such a young age, it was inspiring to me. Now, being on the team and spending time on trips with the team, she’s someone I really look up to.

“Being around Katie really motivates me; she has such a love for skiing, and she does it because she loves it.”

It’s a philosophy that resonates for Brogden. “Skiing is meant to be fun, and Katie definitely helps me see that. I really look up to her.”

Post-covid, things seem to be getting back on track for Brogden. After a gap of almost a year from competition, she was back on snow to record a pair of podium finishes at the Copper Mountain National Championships in March, and took 13th and 15th positions in the World Ski Championships and World Cup in Aspen later that same month. And while a concussion has delayed the beginning of her 2021/22 season, she’s got a few new tricks up her sleeve, including hopefully her first double “probably a dub flat 900” and “some bigger switch tricks, and working on my left cork 900”.

The world had better be ready: Connie Brogden’s coming back strong.

Connie Brogden Biography:

  • Born: 2001
  • Discipline: Freeski
  • Squad: World Cup Squad
  • Hometown: Riverside CT, USA
  • Best World Cup Result: 11th, Freeski Slopestyle, 2020 Mammoth World Cup

Header Image: Connie Brogden

A strong result for Freestyle Snowboarder Katie Ormerod, and Europa Cup podium finishes for two of the Para Snowboard squad headlined a busy weekend for Britain’s skiers and snowboarders

Freestyle Snowboarder Katie Ormerod notched her highest World Cup finish since February 2020 and her best Big Air result since August 2019 with fifth place at Steamboat World Cup on Saturday. Ormerod, making her first competition appearance of the 2021/22 season, banked a score of 112.75 bringing her in just ahead of Canadian Jasmine Baird, whose 111.75 was enough to secure her sixth place.

Ormerod was joined in Steamboat by fellow Brits Billy Cockrell, who claimed 34th spot in the men’s Freestyle Snowboard Big Air, James Woods and Chris McCormick (21st and 25th in men’s Freestyle Ski Big Air), and Izzy Atkin and Katie Summerhayes (16th and 23rd in women’s Freestyle Ski Big Air).

In Landgraaf, the Para Snowboard squad saw noteworthy Europa Cup Banked Slalom results for Nina Sparks (2nd) and Jon-Allan Butterworth (3rd) in the women’s and men’s competitions. At World Cup level, Owen Pick landed 4th and 5th placed finishes in the week’s two World Cup competitions, Ollie Hill a pair of 6th places, and James Barnes-Miller 5th and 6th.

Meanwhile, the Para Nordic squad were in action in Canmore, Canada, with Scott Meenagh (7th) and Steve Arnold (9th) both securing top-10 finishes in the Para Nordic World Cup.

Lloyd Wallace’s first Aerials World Cup of the season saw him land a 17th placed finish, while the GB Moguls Squad saw a number of post-injury returns at the World Cup, Ruka, with Tom Gerken Schofield, Makayla Gerken Schofield and Skyler Nunn all making their first appearances of the season. The pick of the results saw Leonie Gerken Schofield finish in 28th place in the women’s competition.

Andrew Musgrave secured another top-20 finish in the 15km F at the Cross Country World Cup in Lillehammer, coming in a little ahead of Russia’s Artem Maltsev who finished in 21st.

In Alpine, Victoria Palla added to her collection of podium finishes for the 2021/22 season, coming second in the National Junior Grand Slalom Race in Santa Caterina Valfurva, while Ted Slade also notched a National Junior Race podium with third place in Slalom in Passo Monte Croce.

The weekly GB Snowsport results summary is presented in association with Snow+Rock

Header Image: Katie Ormerod, Photo Credit: Matt McCormick

British athletes lit up the Freestyle World Cup in Stubai, while the Alpine squads tasted success around the world

The Freeski World Cup Stubai 2021 saw British athletes lay down a significant marker for the coming season, with Chris McCormick landing a career-best seventh place in the men’s competition, and Kirsty Muir just missing out on a podium position as she finished fourth in the women’s event.

Muir, who at 17-years-old was among the youngest competitors in the field, finished marginally behind Norwegian, Johanne Killi, including two perfect back-to-back 9s, to record her second-best World Cup finish following her stunning second place run at World Cup Aspen in March and a big step up from her previous visit to Stubai, which saw her finish in tenth position.

McCormick, meanwhile, banked his first ever World Cup top-10 place with his previous best result a 19th place finish at the Silvaplana World Cup in March. In a strong field, McCormick’s score of 78.18 from a run including a switch 1440 and switch 12 up top was enough to hold off the challenge of Sweden’s Jesper Tjader, who finished .08 of a point behind him in eighth position.

James Woods and Katie Summerhayes also banked World Cup points in the men’s and women’s competitions respectively, Woods finishing in 22nd place, and Summerhayes in 29th.

Freeski Head Coach, Jamie Matthew, praised Muir and McCormick’s performances, noting that “Muir’s technicality and consistency were top notch this week”, and McCormick “finally getting the chance to showcase the depth of tricks and ability he has, with a barrage of technical rail wizardry on the lower sections”.

On the Alpine circuit, Charlie Guest’s first World Cup weekend of the 2021/22 season saw her bank her second ever top-20 finish on the World Cup circuit in Sunday’s race, after a frustrating day on Saturday ended up with a DNQ. After a brilliant first run from bib 32 on Sunday saw her move into 21st position ahead of the second run, Guest went one better ending up in 20th spot, a result only bettered by her 16th place finish in Are in March.

Elsewhere, 14-year-old Mia Brookes dominated the Women’s Slopestyle competitions in Landgraaf this weekend finishing in top spot in both the FIS and European Cup competitions. Those results continue Brookes’ sensational form from last season, which saw her record five podium finishes in six competitions, including two European Cup top spots in Davos and Leysin.

Dave Ryding’s first FIS level competition in more than six years saw him land top spot in Kaabdalis, while in Junior Alpine competitions 20-year-old Victoria Palla recorded two podium finishes in Livigno, with first and second places on Thursday and Friday.

The weekly GB Snowsport results summary is presented in association with Snow+Rock

Header Image: NEUSTIFT,AUSTRIA,20.NOV.21 – FREE SKI, FREESTYLE SKIING – FIS Freeski Slopestyle World Cup, men. Image shows Chris McCormick (GBR). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Patrick Steinerr

The snowsport season got off to flying start this weekend, with Alpine star Alex Tilley equalling her career best World Cup result in Soelden, Austria, and four British athletes picking up FIS ranking points in Chur, Switzerland.

Racing in Bib 40, Tilley laid down a marker at the traditional season opener in Soelden, coming home in 13th place and equalling her previous career-best GS World Cup finish in Courchevel in 2017. Going into the second run in 24th position, she then posted the fifth fastest second run of the competition putting her comfortably in the top-15 and just 0.9 seconds outside of a top-10 finish in her first race in the new GB Snowsport x Fusalp Alpine team kits.

Joining her in flying the British flag in Austria, Charlie Raposo got some valuable race minutes in the Men’s GS, coming 41st in a strong field.

The Freestyle Ski and Snowboard squads were also in action over the weekend in windy conditions at the Big Air World Cup in Chur, Switzerland. James “Woodsy” Woods and Chris McCormick landed 26th and 31st placed finishes in the Men’s Freeski competition, while Katie Summerhayes finished in a strong 18th place in the Women’s event. Billy Cockrell’s 43rd place result in the Men’s Freestyle Snowboard event rounded out the weekend’s action for British athletes as the winter season got back underway.

Header Image: SOELDEN,AUSTRIA,23.OCT.21 – ALPINE SKIING – FIS World Cup season opening. Image shows the rejoicing of Alex Tilley (GBR). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Thomas Bachun

Making sure the athletes are well looked after extends across the whole performance team, no least to Ali Robb, Lead Physio for Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle, Big Air and Half-Pipe. Ali is an expert in the field of Physiotherapy with an impressive career in snowsport, so we know our freestyle athletes are in good hands.

What’s your background with physiotherapy?

“I was introduced to physiotherapy in my late teens due to suffering a hamstring injury which put me out of training and competing in my sport. I thought it would be a really interesting and rewarding job helping others in a similar position to get back to full fitness. I got the entrance qualifications and went straight from school to train in Aberdeen to become a Chartered Physiotherapist.

“I am lucky enough to have worked in snow-sport in some capacity for most of my career. I started working with the National alpine teams on a voluntary basis, expenses paid only, and I did this part-time for 5 years. I worked for over 10 years with the Ski rescue patrol in Cairngorm and a winter season doing the same in New Zealand.  Working also in physio clinics, immersed me in the world of snowsport injuries, and gave me experiences that have been invaluable in my career. With the introduction of the National Lottery in the 90s and the creation of the National Institutes of Sport, there was injection of money to develop high performance sport, snowsport being one of those supported. I began working with half-pipe snowboard in 2002 and have supported Snowboard and then Freeski since then at numerous training camps and world events including three Olympic Winter Games, allowing me to meet and learn from many knowledgeable people along the way.

“Working in sport it is important to have a good knowledge and skill set to diagnose and treat injuries effectively. Having a good understanding of the demands the sport places on the body physically, physiologically and mentally is crucial in order to build preventative and rehabilitation programmes. Understanding the culture of the sport you are working in is of equal importance in order to build good working relationships with athletes and coaches and to allow you to be effective in your role.”

What are your main activities as a physiotherapist? How do you support the athletes and help them reach their goals?

“I am lead physio for Ski/Snowboard Slopestyle, Big Air and Half-Pipe. Prevention of injuries is our biggest and most important challenge. Every spring we profile the athletes and from this establish baselines, strengths and weaknesses and athlete programmes are made from the findings and then periodically re-assessed and adjusted as necessary. I work closely with the acrobatic/gymnastic coach and the strength and conditioning coaches. Regular communication between us and the athletes is key.

“I also (in a normal year) travel to many training camps and competitions, and where I cannot go, myself and the team managers organise other physiotherapy support for the athletes and I communicate closely with that physio so that important information is shared. Over the years I have been able to develop quite a network around the world, a couple of which we use regularly and have proved to be invaluable! The best scenario is that we as physios help prepare the athletes to be as physically ready as they can be, to enjoy a good session of training or competing. Often there are small aches and pains that we can help ease and manage with treatment and further injury is prevented. Occasionally, larger injuries occur and in these circumstances we are there to help make sure the athlete is evacuated safely from the mountain and that appropriate investigations are carried out and the injury is managed in a way to achieve the best outcome. This usually involves communication with the coaches, team Doctor, insurance companies, and families. With the more complicated injuries which require operations and rehabilitation back in the UK, I communicate closely with the athlete and team Doctor and we endeavour to set up the best surgeon and rehabilitation package to suit the injury and the individual needs of the athlete. I remain in close contact with the rehab team involved in the recovery process through the whole period of rehabilitation.  Individual programmes are built and targets are set through all the stages of the rehab process until the athlete is ready to return to snow. Returning to snow for an athlete requires monitoring and TLC to some degree as it is impossible to absolutely replicate the forces on land that the athletes experience on snow. This is one of my favourite parts of the job.”

Most common injuries:  “Knee injuries, back and neck injuries, concussion, shoulder injuries.”

Best part of my job as a physio: “Working with this team since 2012 I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the athletes through thick and thin and seeing them grow and develop as people as well as in their sport. Also meeting and talking to really interesting people. I have been able to work in incredibly beautiful mountain environments and ski as part of my job. Very lucky.”

You can follow Ali on Instagram here.

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