Freestyle Snowboarder recognised following comeback from injury

Katie Ormerod has been named British Elite Athletes Association Athletes’ Athlete of the Month for January 2024, following her return to competition at the Laax Open World Cup.

The Award, which is voted for by athletes from across Britain’s elite sport community, recognises the efforts made by Ormerod in her recovery from serious injury and on-going infections, which she detailed in an exclusive interview with GB Snowsport last month.

Speaking to the BEAA after being named winner, Katie said:

“It means so much after going through everything wth my bone infection, to getting back to competing, and then knowing that my fellow athletes have voted for me means a lot. I know probably a lot of them have been in similar situations.

“We all understand how it is, so to be acknowledged for finally getting back to competing again feels amazing.”

Freestyle Snowboarder celebrated for return to competition

Katie Ormerod has been nominated for the British Elite Athletes Association’s Athletes’ Athlete of the Month Award for January.

Having marked her return to competition after almost two years of injury and illness rehabilitation at the Laax World Cup, Ormerod secured a top-12 finish and now finds herself acknowledged by her athlete peers.

Ormerod is nominated alongside shooting’s Dean Bale, bobsleigh’s Leon Greenwood, and hockey player Katie Robertson.

The winner of this month’s award will be confirmed shortly by the British Elite Athletes’ Association.

Back in World Cup competition after almost two years of recovery, we catch up with Freestyle Snowboard trailblazer Katie Ormerod

There were 660 days between the moment Katie Ormerod dropped in for the Silvaplana World Cup Finals in March 2022 (finishing in eighth place, between Finland’s Eveliina Taka and Switzerland’s Bianca Gisler), and the moment she stood back in a World Cup starting gate for the first time in almost two years at this season’s Laax World Cup. 

For an athlete who was for so long the poster child of British Freestyle Snowboarding and whose record of eleven World Cup podiums remains a key marker of what British Snowboarding can achieve, the wait felt interminable. But first and foremost, above the frustration, was fear. 

“It was a really scary time,” Ormerod says over the phone in the gap between the Laax and Mammoth World Cups. “Up until we knew what it was, I thought my body was failing. I’m only 26, and all I could think about was ‘why is this happening to me?’, or ‘am I ever going to get to snowboard again?’” 

Some context: having battled back from a brutal injury in training for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games in 2018 (“I was in shock that it was possible to feel so much pain”, she told the Guardian in 2022), Ormerod’s injury nightmares must have felt like a bad memory. Until a routine operation threw up complication after complication. 

“All I knew was that one day, I woke up in so much pain, and my surgical scars had opened up. I didn’t know what it was at all, everything came totally out of the blue.” What followed was a nightmarish process of intervention, elimination, assessment, until finally a full diagnosis was made. 

“It was a really long time,” she recalls. “Months and months, and multiple surgeries, before we finally found out it was a bone infection. I’m just really grateful to my surgeon at the Specialist Infection Unit; he got straight to the bottom of things, and fixed it for me, and gave me a way back to doing what I love.” 

660 days later, when the time finally arrived, how did she feel? 

“It just felt like I’d got my normal life back, if that makes sense,” she says. “Once you’re in the start gate, about to drop in, you just get in the zone, and for me I was right back into competition mode.” The importance of competition is something that comes up time and again as we speak. “I’ve always been a competitor, and I’ve always had that natural competitive instinct. Getting back to it at Laax and landing a good run, finishing 12th on my first World Cup back, it was a really good start for me, and it gives me something really positive to build on for the rest of the season and going into Olympic qualifying next year.” 

Ah. The “O” word. I wasn’t going to bring up the Olympics, I tell her, but for Ormerod it’s never something far from her mind. 

“I haven’t had the best Olympics experiences so far,” she laughs, “so I’m really driven to get to Milan-Cortina and have a good time there.” Does she spend much time thinking about it? “To be honest, the Olympics, it’s always on my mind. It’s like I said: I’m a competitor, and the Olympics is just the biggest event of all of them.” 

It’s almost a startling thing to hear, given what Ormerod’s endured on the Olympic stage to date. First, a shattering injury that took her from the pinnacle of the Team GB limelight to agonising recovery before she got to fulfil her Olympic ambitions in PyeongChang in 2018, then the startling, isolating experience that was Beijing 2022. “It was really lonely,” she recalls. “It was nobody’s fault, but with covid and not being able to mix with others, and so many of my friends being on the ski team, it was really, really lonely. It’s such a big event, and I wanted to perform my best, but away from that support system with my friends and teammates around me, I really struggled to be honest.” 

Thankfully, for Ormerod, the clouds are burning away. The competitive instinct is back, she’s got a roadmap in mind – “I’m planning to do every Slopestyle World Cup this season, and I really want to get into Finals” – and, perhaps most importantly, she’s back among friends doing what she loves. 

“The team is really important to me,” she says. “All that time I was recovering, nor being a part of that team, not being with my best friends – your whole life changes. It really sucked.” 

“But it’s so good being back with everyone now. The first trip away this season [a training camp in New Zealand over the summer] was probably the most amazing trip of my life. Just being back riding with my friends, and training, being back to normal… it was the most amazing feeling.” 

For British snowsport fans, seeing Ormerod back on the start list and ready to drop in is an amazing feeling too. She’s the 26-year-old veteran. The supremely stylish rider. And a beacon of excellence for a generation of British snowsport athletes. We should all be grateful to have her back. 

Katie Ormerod is next due to compete at the Mammoth Slopestyle World Cup this week.

Katie Ormerod Biography:

  • Born: 1997
  • Discipline: Freestyle Snowboard
  • Squad: World Cup Squad
  • Hometown: Brighouse

Mia Brookes and Zoe Atkin brought their A Games to X Games 2024, while there were Para Alpine podiums to celebrate in Veysonnaz

Brookes and Atkin take Gold and Silver in Aspen

Mia Brookes and Zoe Atkin continued Britain’s proud record at X Games with medals in Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle and Freeski Superpipe at the 2024 edition of the contest.

Brookes, the second youngest athlete at the invitational event, got the Games off to a stunning start with victory in the Women’s Freestyle competition. Such was Brookes’ dominance of the event that any of her three runs would have scored highly enough to take victory, with flawless rail sections, a Cab 12 on her highest scoring run, and a Cab 14 on her final run.

In the Women’s Freeski Superpipe, Zoe Atkin delivered a super clean display of Halfpipe skiing that included the highest amplitude recorded on the night to take Silver behind Eileen Gu, and back up the Gold medal that she won at X Games 2023.

British interest rounded out with a solid fourth place finish for Brookes in the Freestyle Snowboard Big Air competition.

Fitzpatrick and Guest take Para Alpine Podiums in Veysonnaz

Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest added two more World Cup podiums and two FIS podium to their season tally in a busy week of competition in Veysonnaz. Bronze medals in World Cup Giant Slalom and Super G races were followed with Gold and Silver in FIS Super G competitions to round out a successful week of racing in the Swiss resort.

In the Women’s Seated classification, Shona Brownlee was also in action with a pair of fifth place finishes.

Taylor adds fifth podium of season in Melchsee-Frutt

Jaz Taylor’s remarkable Telemark World Cup campaign continued with a fifth podium of the season in the Melchsee-Frutt Classic World Cup. With third place in the first of the weekend’s competition, Taylor secured her first Classic podium since March 2022, further consolidating top spot in the Telemark overall rankings, where she sits 135 points clear of France’s Lily Chaucheprat. In the Men’s competition, Timote Gough was also in action, with 14th place in the Classic the pick of his results.

And the rest…

In Ski Cross, Ollie Davies made it through to the 1/8 Finals stages at the St. Moritz World Cup to take 20th spot while Scott Johns, on World Cup debut, finished in 58th place. The St. Moritz Snowboard Cross World Cup saw Charlotte Bankes finish just outside the top-10 with an 11th place finish, while Huw Nightingale took 55th spot.

In Moguls, Makayla Gerken Schofield continued their comeback from a knee injury with 22nd place in the Waterville World Cup, while Mateo Jeannesson finished 24th in the Dual Moguls event.

In Cross-Country, James Clugnet sealed his best World Cup result of the season with 20th place in the Sprint F World Cup in Goms and 26th in the 20km F Mass Start, with Andrew Musgrave finishing 12th in the latter.

Mia Brookes took a sensational Gold Medal at X Games in a breathtaking Women’s Slopestyle contest

Mia Brookes delivered another stunning performance in an already record-breaking season to take Gold at X Games 2024 in a high-calibre Women’s Slopestyle event.

Taking victory ahead of the Japanese pair of Kokomo Murase and Reira Iwabuchi, Mia’s second run capped with a Cab 12 was enough to secure a spectacular victory in one of the world’s biggest Snowsport competitions, while she also landed the Cab 1440 which made history at the 2023 Freestyle World Championships in her third and final run.

More to follow…

British Alpine history was made on the slopes of Kitzbuehel and Gangwon on a superb weekend of British snowsport action

Kitzbuehel sees three in top-20

All three members of the Men’s Slalom team finished inside the top-20 at the Kitzbuehel Slalom, marking the first time in modern history that Britain has delivered three top-20 finishes at an Alpine World Cup.

Billy Major roared out of the first run to finish in joint-10th spot alongside teammate Dave Ryding at the end of the first run, while Laurie Taylor showed superb grit to see out tricky conditions and qualify for the second run in 29th spot.

From there, with five skiers failing to finish the second run, Dave Ryding delivered his now typical second run brilliance with the second fastest second run of the day to catapult himself to the top of the standings, before being overhauled in the latter stages of the race for an eventual fifth place finish. Taylor landed the seventh best second run of the day to bring himself a 19th place finish and a person best, while Major also secured a World Cup personal best with 13th spot, less than 0.3s outside of the top-10.

Elsewhere on the Alpine World Cup circuit, Charlie Guest finished just outside of the top-30 at the Jasna Slalom World Cup, missing out on the second run by hundredths of a second.

Carrick-Smith takes Gold in Gangwon

Zak Carrick-Smith delivered a sensational performance in Team GB colours at the Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon to take Britain’s first ever Alpine gold medal in an Olympic competition, with victory in the Alpine Combined.

Find out more about Carrick-Smith’s history-making victory here.

Taylor goes four-from-four in stunning Telemark SPrint run

Jaz Taylor’s sensational World Cup season rolled on with back-to-back victories in the Carezza Dolomites Telemark Sprint World Cup, leaving her with four victories from four World Cup races this season, and a firm grasp on top spot in the overall rankings.

The wins, the 10th and 11th of Taylor’s career, mean she has now equalled the best season of her career which saw her take four victories across the 2017/18 season, just four races into the season.

Makayla Gerken Schofield, Maisie Hill, and Katie Ormerod make injury comebacks

Moguls skier Makayla Gerken Schofield, and Freestyle Snowboarders Maisie Hill and Katie Ormerod all made their World Cup comebacks this week after significant injury lay-offs. Hill and Ormerod were both back in action at the Laax Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup finishing in 15th and 12th spots respectively, while Gerken Schofield marked their return with a 19th place finish at the Val St. Come Moguls World Cup.

Elsewhere in Laax, Mia Brookes cruised through to Finals in the Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle competition before finishing eighth, while Matty Cox marked his first World Cup in British colours with a 36th place finish in the Men’s Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle contest. Siddhartha Ullah’s sixth World Cup appearance finished with a 38th place in the Men’s Halfpipe.

In Freeski, Ash Clayton was the pick of the bunch taking tenth place in the Women’s Freeski Slopestyle in only their second World Cup appearance.

In Moguls, Mateo Jeannesson came 33rd in Moguls and 17th in Dual Moguls in the first World Cup of 2024, with the latter marking the best Dual Moguls result of his World Cup career to date.

Davies takes 16th in Nakisaka

Ollie Davies’ World Cup season took off with an excellent 16th place finish in the Nakisaka Ski Cross World Cup. In a difficult season, Davies showed serious grit and application to make it through to the Quarter Final stage, and the best result of his season to date.

Andrew Musgrave returns from illness in Oberhot

Andrew Musgrave returned from the bout of illness that put paid to his Tour de Ski endeavours, finishing just outside the Top-20 at the Oberhof 20km C Mass Start World Cup. A 21st place finish there along with a run out in the Sprint C event marked his first appearance of the year, having had to drop out of the 2023/24 Tour de Ski after the 10km C on 31 December.

Freestyle Snowboarder to miss Youth Olympic Winter Games

Following the announcement of his selection to the Team GB squad for the Gangwon Youth Olympic Games, Freestyle Snowboarder Charlie Lane sustained an injury to his fractured radial head in his elbow during training which is expected to rule him out of action for a number of weeks. 

Charlie will be working closely with the GB Snowsport Sport Sciences and Medicine team and UK Sports Institute practitioners to oversee his recovery and rehabilitation, and the whole team will also be supporting Charlie through the disappointment of missing out on the Youth Olympic Games. 

Charlie said  

“I am gutted to be missing out on the Youth Olympic Games. For me this was one that I was really looking forward to but injuries are a part of snowboarding and you have to take them as they come”. 

The Europa Cup circuit saw debuts and comebacks for GBS athletes, while World Cup action continued in Alpine and Cross-Country

Cox and Hill take EC Freestyle Snowboard podiums

Matty Cox, in his first competition as a member of the British team, took first place at the Font Romeu Slopestyle Europa Cup, giving him his first competition victory since first place in an ANZ contest in Perisher in August 2022. Also stepping up to the podium in Font Romeu was Maisie Hill, making her comeback from serious injury after almost a year in rehabilitation and recovery. In weather-impacted conditions, the women’s Slopestyle contest Finals were cancelled leaving Hill in third place from her qualifying run, which she backed up with a repeat third place finish in the Big Air contest.

The unusually challenging conditions on the mountains put paid to Billy Cockrell’s hopes of a strong performance in Slopestyle, with high winds throughout the qualifying run jeopardising his prospects from the outset.

Young secures top-30 berth in Tour de Ski

As his teammates, Andrew Musgrave and James Clugnet were struck down by illness, Andrew Young delivered a week of highly consistent performances to secure a top-30 finish at the 2023/24 Tour de Ski. His 30th place finish in the final leg, a 15km C Mass Start, was enough to hold him in 27th spot in the overall contest after a gruelling week of racing.

Musgrave and Clugnet, whose Tours were both cut short early due to sickness, are now focusing on recovery ahead of the resumption of the World Cup circuit later this month.

Frustration for alpine Team amid tough conditions

The Alpine World Cup team endured a frustrating weekend amid challenging conditions across Europe.

In the Men’s Slalom, Dave Ryding was the pick of the bunch with a 21st place finish in Adelboden. Billy Major took 38th spot, while Laurie Taylor failed to finish the first run. Ryding’s finish, though, was enough to maintain a strong hold on third place in the overall season Men’s Slalom World Cup standings.

Charlie Guest’s first World Cup of the year saw her finish in 41st spot, while in Men’s Giant Slalom Charlie Raposo finished in 58th spot.

16-year-old recognised for history-making achievements in 2023

Mia Brookes, who became the youngest snowboard World Champion in history in at the Bakuriani Freestyle World Championships, has tonight been named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Named in a shortlist of three last month, Mia was confirmed as the winner of the Award by a judging panel including former England footballer Theo Walcott, European champion sprinter Harry Aikines-Areyeety, European champion diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, and Paralympic and World Champion rower, Lauren Rowles.

Speaking after receiving the Award, Mia said:

“Receiving the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award is one of my biggest dreams. The Olympics is coming in the two years and I want to keep going and try to get gold there. A huge thanks to my mum and dad, GB Snowsport, all my coaches, and sponsors.”

As well as her World Championships victory, Mia has also had a stunning year on the World Cup tour, winning the 2023/24 season Big Air Crystal Globe on Friday after a series of strong showings including three podiums in four contests since the beginning of the season.

Everyone at GB Snowsport is delighted for Mia.

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