16-year-old World champion rounds off breakthrough season with international recognition
Mia Brookes, Britain’s youngest ever snowsport World Champion, rounded off her breakthrough season in senior competition with third place in the voting for the European Olympic Committees’ Piotr Nurowski Prize.
In a season packed full of higlights, including becoming Britain’s youngest snowsport World Cup podium athlete and the youngest ever Snowboard World Champion, Brookes’ recognition from Europe’s Olympic Committees showcases the extent of her impact on the global stage.
In taking third place behind Slovakian Ice Hockey starlet Nela Lopusanova and biathlete Oleksandra Merkushyna, Brookes becomes Britain’s highest placing winter athlete in the history of the Piotr Nurowski Prize, and only the third British athlete in history to make the winter sport shortlist after Madi Rowlands in 2016 and Kirsty Muir in 2021, who finished fourth and fifth place respectively.
British Snowboard Cross star in superlative form to take 2022/23 overall title, while more British stars shine as World Cup season draws to a close
Britain’s Charlotte Bankes took the second Snowboard Cross Crystal Globe of her career on a dramatic weekend of World Cup action on Canada’s Mt. St. Anne circuit.
Leading the standings going into the final weekend of the 2022/23 World Cup season, Bankes’ sixth straight race win in the weekend’s first race set her on the way to defending the title she first secured last season, with victory secured with a fifth place finish in the last race of the season.
Chloe Trespeuch’s second place finish in the first race left the French racer needing victory in the final competition to overhaul Bankes in the overall standings, with her eventual third place leaving the British star in top spot with 723 World Cup points to Trespeuch’s 650.
The result capped another remarkable season for Bankes, which saw her take victory in six of the nine World Cup meets, as well as a World Championships title in Team Snowboard Cross alongside Huw Nightingale.
Bankes’ back-to-back titles make her the first women’s Snowboard Cross athlete to defend the Crystal Globe since Canada’s Dominique Maltais who took a remarkable four consecutive titles between 2010/11 and 2013/14.
There was further success for Bankes’ Team Snowboard Cross teammate, Huw Nightingale, whose 23rd and 17th place finishes delivered the best World Cup results of his career to date, with the 21-year-old demonstrating impressive progress across the season.
Elsewhere, the Freestyle World Cup season also drew to a close in Silvaplana, with Mia Brookes taking fourth place in Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle, while in Freeski Slopestyle Kirsty Muir took sixth, Tyler Harding tenth, and Chris McCormick 14th with both Harding and McCormick’s results their best of the season. Brookes’ result, meanwhile, secured third place for her in the overall Snowboard Slopestyle standings on a World Cup debut season capped most memorably by her World Championships title in Bakuriani.
In the Moguls Junior World Championships, Mateo Jeannesson took a brilliant third place in Dual Moguls to back up his fifth place in Single Moguls in a season which has seen the 18-year-old deliver a series of superb performances, while the Telemark World Championships saw Jaz Taylor take a brilliant brace of podiums with third in Classic and second in Parallel Sprint, giving her the best World Championships result of her career.
The Cross-Country squad delivered more impressive 2022/23 results with Andrew Musgrave taking his seventh top-10 place of the season with tenth place in the Lahti World Cup 20km C Mst, while James Clugnet and Andrew Young finished an impressive seventh in the Team Sprint Free in a strong field.
This International Women’s Day, we look at women blazing a trail for GB Snowsport this season
By any measure – and with a few weeks of competition still to go – the 2022-23 season has been a spectacular success for British skiers and snowboarders. And in a year of unprecedented successes, one thing is clear – British women are etching their name into national snowsport history time and time again. This International Women’s Day, we take a closer look at the female athletes blazing a trail for GB Snowsport this season.
Where else to begin, except with perhaps the biggest breakout star in British sport this year? Mia Brookes’ name has been spoken with awe and excitement for years now by those in the know, but on her first season on the World Cup circuit the 16 year old’s raw promise has emerged as fully-fledged success.
From a podium on her Slopestyle World Cup debut in Laax in January to her breathtaking Slopestyle World Championships victory in Bakuriani this month, Mia is fast emerging as one of the most exciting sport talents in Britain. Plus, she’s already written her name into the history books as the first woman to land a cab-1440 in competition.
You could be forgiven for thinking Zoe Atkin has been around forever – 2023 is, after all, her fifth year on the World Cup circuit. But the 20-year-old Freeski Halfpipe sensation has really come into her own this year, a rise she puts down in part to giving herself a mental break after the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing last year. And the results speak for themselves: Gold at X Games 2023, and a brace of silvers at the Bakuriani World Championships and Mammoth Mountain World Cup since the turn of the year.
Zoe’s result in Bakuriani saw her follow in sister Izzy’s footseteps be taking back-to-back World Championships medals, having previously taken bronze at the 2021 World Championships.
What is there to say about Charlotte Bankes, which hasn’t already been said? The reigning Snowboard Cross Crystal Globe holder remains a near-permanent fixture on the World Cup podium, but perhaps more impressive is her resilience and dedication in the face of adversity.
Elimination in the individual Snowboard Cross World Championships contest could have knocked any athlete from their stride, but Charlotte returned alongside Huw Nightingale to deliver a stunning Team Snowboard Cross World Championships title, the first in British history, and ensure she goes down as a back-to-back World Champion, having taken the solo title in 2021.
At 18, Kirsty Muir is already recognised as one of the finest Slopestyle and Big Air skiers in world snowsport, and her performances this year have done nothing to undermine that reputation. Whether it’s double bronze medals at X Games 2023, World Cup silver at Mammoth Mountain in February, or a fourth place that left her agonisingly close to a Big Air medal at the Bakuriani World Championships having suffered an injury ahead of the Slopestyle competition that left any question of participation at the Championships up in the air, Kirsty’s continued excellence marks her out as one of the world’s best despite her young age.
In a remarkable season for the Para Snowboard squad, Nina Sparks has shown her promise with a superb overall victory in the Europa Cup competition. In landing the overall title, she joined fellow teammates James Barnes-Miller and Ollie Hill in taking overall titles, with her two compatriots doing so on their respective World Cup circuits.
In a season full of breakthrough performances, the biggest challenges still lie ahead, with the rescheduled La Molina World Championships getting underway this week, and offering another opportunity for Nina to show her talent on the biggest stages.
Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest
Winter Olympic gold medalist. Three time World Champion. Multiple World Cup medalist. Britain’s most decorated Winter Paralympian. And still just 24 years old.
Menna Fitzpatrick is a phenomenon, and her performances alongside her guide, Katie Guest, this season have continued to show why she is so highly respected on the Para Alpine circuit. Another two medals – a silver and a bronze – at the Para Alpine World Championships added to a medal collection which is near unsurpassed in any British winter sport. A legend of the sport, and an icon in British Paralympic history.
Makayla Gerken Schofield
A trailblazer alongside her siblings, Makayla became the second Gerken Schofield (after her brother, Tom) to achieve a World Cup podium with her bronze medal in Val St Come earlier this year, and the first woman in British history to achieve a Moguls World Cup podium.
Indeed, so exceptional have Makayla’s performances been this season that she has only once dipped below the top-10 on the World Cup stage, before delivering another pair of top-10s including a stunning sixth place in Dual Moguls at the Bakuriani World Championships. A fierce competitor, and a superb talent.
One of the most pre-eminent names in the world of Telemark skiing, Jaz Taylor’s performances this season have added another two World Cup podiums to her already astonishing tally of performances over recent seasons.
With World Championships also on the horizon, Jaz has every opportunity to continue her role as one of Britain’s pre-eminent snowsport athletes.
With two gold and one silver medals, Britain emerged from the Bakuriani 2023 Freestyle World Championships on a historic high
After a remarkable two weeks in Bakuriani, Britain’s ski and snowboard athletes returned from the 2023 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships with two World Championship titles and a stunning silver medal to deliver Britain’s most successful World Championships of all time.
Here, we run down the key results from another history-making moment in a stunning 2022-23 season for GB Snowsport athletes
Gold, Gold, Silver
- Mia Brookes – Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle – Gold
- Charlotte Bankes and Huw Nightingale – Team Snowboard Cross – Gold
- Zoe Atkin – Freeski Halfpipe – Silver
- Makayla Gerken Schofield – Moguls – Ninth
- Makayla Gerken Schofield – Dual Moguls – Sixth
- Mia Brookes – Freestyle Snowboard Big Air – Fifth
- Kirsty Muir – Freeski Big Air – Fourth
- Tenth – Overall Medal Table
- Third – Snowboard Medal Standings
British athletes continue to rewrite the history books in another week of storming successes
Mia Brookes made snowboarding history in Bakuriani this week, where she became not only Britain’s youngest ever Freestyle World Champion, but the youngest Snowboard World Champion in world history, and the first woman to ever land a cab 1440 in competition. In doing so, the 16-year-old delivered on the rich promise that she’s shown since childhood, and opened the book on a new chapter in Freestyle Snowboarding. Read more about Mia’s stunning World Championships gold medal winning performance here.
Medals were also in the offing for the Para Alpine squad, with Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest taking a hard-fought bronze in the first of two back-to-back Kitzbuehel Slalom World Cup races. The site of so much of Britain’s recent Alpine success, Fitzpatrick and Guest and Neil Simpson and Rob Poth will be hoping for more in the week’s second set of races today.
Britain’s Team Sprint pair of James Clugnet and Andrew Young took the second best Cross-Country World Championships result in British history with a stunning sixth place in Planica. Coming into the Championships fresh off a season which had already seen a World Cup top-10 for the pairing in Livigno last month, Clugnet and Young’s final time of 18:00.66 left them more than five seconds clear of the German team in seventh, and confirmed the nation’s second best Cross-Country World Championships result, behind only Andrew Musgrave’s benchmark setting 50km fourth place in Lahti in 2017. The result also marks the first time that Britain has secured a top-10 World Championships finish in a Cross-Country Sprint discipline.
Andrew Musgrave’s World Championships got underway with 14th place in the Skiathlon 15km/15km C/F in a race which also saw Joe Davies take 40th place on his World Championships debut.
Personal records were also being set elsewhere in the Freestyle World Championships in Bakuriani, where Makayla Gerken Schofield took a brace of top-10s with ninth place in Moguls and sixth in Dual Moguls. The results were Makayla’s eight and ninth top-10 finishes of the season, with the Dual Moguls performance coming through an epic Quarter Finals battle against the imperious Perrine Laffont, a five-time World Champion and 2018 Olympic Winter Games gold medallist.
Elsewhere in Bakuriani, Mateo Jeannesson finished just outside the top-20 in both Moguls and Dual Moguls with 21st and 24th place finishes, Will Feneley came 25th and 27th, and Tom Gerken Schofield finished 33rd and 28th. In Freeski Slopestyle, Chris McCormick and Tyler Harding both finished outside of the qualification spots coming 16th and 20th in their respective heats. A weather-interrupted Ski Cross World Championships race, meanwhile, saw Ollie Davies finish in 27th place, having earlier qualified in 13th spot.
With the Alpine World Championships concluded, the World Cup circuit shifted focus to the US for the Lake Tahoe World Cup. In a dramatic Slalom race, Britain returned two top-20 finishes with Dave Ryding taking 16th and Billy Major a fantastic 18th place including the third fastest second run of the race, giving him the joint best World Cup finish of his career.
Mia Brookes makes history in Bakuriani, becoming first woman to land cab 1440
16-year-old Mia Brookes made history in Bakuriani, becoming Britain’s youngest ever Freestyle World Champion in Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle. Coming into the second final run in the silver medal spot, Brookes delivered a stunning second run including the first ever cab 1440 in women’s snowboarding competition to score 91.38 and take a breathtaking World Championships gold.
Brookes, who qualified for Finals in second, got the better of New Zealander Zoe Sadowski-Synnott when she upped the technical ante with the first ever successful cab 1440 in women’s Freestyle Snowboard competition, leaving Sadowski-Synnott with too much to do in the final run of the contest.
The result makes Brookes the youngest ever Brit to take a Freestyle World Championships medal, and only the second British snowboarder to become a World Champion after defending Snowboard Cross World Champion and Bakuriani teammate, Charlotte Bankes.
There she is. @Mia_brookes. Your 2023 @fissnowboard Slopestyle WORLD CHAMPION 🤩🥇👏
She also lands the first-ever CAB 1440 double grab in a women’s event💥#gbsnowsport pic.twitter.com/NcavN2ZP1E
— GB Snowsport (@GBSnowsport) February 27, 2023
Speaking afterwards, Mia said:
“I’m just really, really happy – live, I’ve never been so happy in my life. I feel like I’m going to cry!
“I actually can’t believe [the cab 1440]. When I did it, I wasn’t sure I’d managed it, but I thought about it and was like…yep, I’ve done a 14!”
Pat Sharples, GB Snowsport Head Coach, said:
“What Mia’s done out here today is just next level. We all know Mia’s got the talent, but this is her first season on the WC circuit and her first World championships so to land a run like that with all the pressure of a World Championships tells you everything you need to know about her. We’re all so stoked for Mia, her coaches Mikey and Ben, her parents Vicky and Nige, and the whole team around her.”
The BRITS, the UK’s official Snowboard and Freeski Championships, will return to Cairngorm Mountain in April
A core part of Britain’s Freestyle Snowsport history, the BRITS returns to the UK on 1-2 April 2023 at the nation’s biggest resort, Cairngorm Mountain.
The event, which has previously welcomed current and former British World Cup, World Championships, and Olympic Games athletes including Billy Morgan, Kirsty Muir, and Mia Brookes, will see hundreds of Freestyle athletes compete for the Ellis Brigham British Freeski Championships and the TSA British Snowboard Championships, as well as Banked Slalom and Rail Jam titles. Competitions will take place across two days, with Saturday given over to Freeski and Snowboard Slopestyle competitions, while Sunday hosts the Banked Slalom and Rail Jam contests.
Registration for the BRITS 2023 is now open with info, including event programme, online registration, lift passess, accommodation recommendations, and much more available at www.britssnow.com
Five 2022/23 World Cup podium holders have been named in a 13 athlete British squad who will travel to Bakuriani for the 2023 Freestyle World Championships this month
Zoe Atkin (Freeski Halfpipe World Cup Gold, Mammoth Mountain; X Games Superpipe Gold), Mia Brookes (Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup Silver, Laax), Makayla Gerken-Schofield (Dual Moguls World Cup Bronze, Val St. Come), Kirsty Muir (Freeski Slopestyle World Cup Silver, Mammoth Mountain; X Games Slopestyle Bronze; X Games Big Air Bronze) and reigning World Champion Charlotte Bankes (Snowboard Cross World Cup Gold, Cervinia and Cortina, World Cup Bronze Cervinia) headline a squad that features two debutants in Brookes and Beijing 2022 Snowboard Cross Olympian Huw Nightingale.
A four-person Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air squad brings a collective 15 World Championships under their belts with 2019 Slopestyle World Champion, James Woods, lining up alongside Tyler Harding in his fourth World Championships, Chris McCormick competing for the third time and Kirsty Muir in her second Championships. Zoe Atkin, meanwhile, will compete in her third World Championships in Freeski Halfpipe, having taken bronze in the 2021 Championships in Aspen.
Snowboard Cross and Ski Cross
Charlotte Bankes and Huw Nightingale will reprise their Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in the Snowboard Cross Team Event, while Bankes will be looking to defend the World Championships title she secured at the 2021 World Championships in Idre Fjall.
In Ski Cross, Ollie Davies will be the sole British representative on his third World Championships, having taken an exceptional fourth place at the 2021 Idre Fjall Championships.
On her World Championships debut, Mia Brookes will be the sole British Freestyle Snowboard competitor, where she is set to compete in both the Slopestyle and Big Air competitions. Brookes comes into the Championships on the back of an outstanding debut World Cup season which has seen her notch three top-10 finishes, including a silver medal at her last World Cup in Laax in January.
The Moguls competitions will Makayla Gerken-Schofield, Will Feneley, Tom Gerken-Schofield and Mateo Jeannesson representing British interests, in a season which has seen Makayla Gerken-Schofield take the first World Cup podium of her career, Jeannesson break into the World Cup top-20 for the first time, and Feneley match his best ever World Cup result with an eighth place finish in Dual Moguls at this month’s Deer Valley World Cup. The team will be looking to Tom Gerken-Schofield’s sixth place at the 2021 Almaty World Championships for inspiration with a rich combination of experience and form to draw on from the season to date.
Freestyle Snowboarders Maisie Hill and Katie Ormerod, both of whom met selection qualification criteria, miss out on the Championships through injury.
The Bakuriani Freestyle World Championships begin on 18 February with the first British athlete due to be in action on 23 February, with the Ski Cross Qualification rounds.
Full Squad Selections
- Charlotte Bankes
- Huw Nightingale
- Ollie Davies
Freeski – Slopestyle and Big Air
- Tyler Harding
- Chris McCormick
- Kirsty Muir
- James Woods
Freeski – Halfpipe
- Zoe Atkin
Freestyle Snowboard – Slopestyle and Big Air
- Mia Brookes
- Will Feneley
- Makayla Gerken-Schofield
- Tom Gerken-Schofield
- Mateo Jeannesson
Header Image: Kirsty Muir competes during the Women’s Freeski Big Air Finals on day three of the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Resort on December 16, 2022 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
On a week of unprecedented success for British skiers and snowboarders, the nation’s athletes delivered 12 medals including three golds in a show of strength that confirms Britain’s standing as home to some of the world’s most exciting snowsport competitors.
At the Para Alpine World Championships Espot, Spain, Neil Simpson and Rob Poth banked gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Super-G, Slalom, and Giant Slalom respectively, crowning a 12-month period that secured gold and bronze medals in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games for Simpson alongside his brother Andrew, as well as silver in the Super-Combined on Simpson’s World Championships debut in Lillehammer last year. Skiing together for the first time at major competition, after injury to Andrew in training over the winter, Simpson and Poth delivered a string of outstanding race performances amid fierce competition from the Italian pairing of Giacomo Bertagnolli and Andrea Ravelli, and Austria’s Joannes Aigner and Matteo Fleischmann.
In the Women’s VI Class, Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest continued to show the form which has made Fitzpatrick Britain’s most decorated winter Paralympian with outstanding silver and bronze medal performances in the Giant Slalom and the Slalom, echoing the two medals the pair took at last year’s Lillehammer World Championships.
The Para Nordic World Championships in Ostersund, Sweden, meanwhile delivered a richly-deserved silver medal for Scott Meenagh in the 12.5km Biathlon. Meenagh, whose performances throughout the Championships were exceptional, finally took the podium that he has battled towards for so long, with a pristine shooting performance matched by a blistering ski pace. In the process, Meenagh delivered a first ever British Para Nordic World Championships medal, proving beyond doubt his strength as a skier and as a competitor at the highest levels of one of the most physically demanding sports in the world.
The 2023 X Games in Aspen, Colorado, saw three of the stars of British Freeski and Freestyle Snowboard invited to compete, with Zoe Atkin taking gold in a jaw-dropping display of half-pipe skiing, Kirsty Muir securing a brace of bronze medals in Slopestyle and Big Air that confirmed her status as one of the sport’s most promising athletes, and Mia Brookes a superb sixth place on her X Games debut. The team’s performances propelled Britain to seventh in the medal table, and saw some of Britain’s finest young athletes matched with the world’s best and most exciting freestyle talent.
Freestyle medals were also in the offing at the European Youth Olympic Festival where Team GB flagbearer, Charlie Lane, took gold in Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle and silver in Big Air. At just 16 years of age, Lane’s performances continue a meteoric rise for the young Brit who first competed at international level in 2020.
In Moguls, Makayla Gerken-Schofield’s superb 2022/23 season finally brought the World Cup podium that her performances have so richly deserved, with third place in the Val St. Come Dual Moguls World Cup. Having taken eighth place in the previous day’s single Moguls contest, Gerken-Schofield’s third spot means she becomes the second Gerken-Schofield to take a Moguls World Cup podium following older brother Thomas Gerken-Schofield’s history-making second place in Krasnoyarsk in 2020, and leaves her having not finished outside the top-10 in any of the season’s seven World Cup competitions to date. In the Men’s competitions, Mateo Jeannesson took 31st in single Moguls and 40th in Dual Moguls, while Makayla’s fellow Beijing 2022 Olympian, Will Feneley, came 36th and 31st in single and Dual Moguls respectively.
With the Cross-Country World Championships on the horizon, Andrew Musgrave, Andrew Young, and James Clugnet were in action at the Les Rousses World Cup, with Young’s 15th place finish in the Sprint C the highlight of the team’s performances. Young also added a 47th and 50th place in the 10km F and 20km C, while Musgrave finished 17th, 52nd, and 35th in 10km F, Sprint C, and 20km C. Clugnet, meanwhile, was 61st in 10km F and 48th in Sprint C.
Alpine interests were focused on Schladming and Spindleruv Mlyn, with the Men’s Slalom and GS teams in action in Schladming, and Reece Bell returning for only the second World Cup race of her career in Spindleruv Mlyn, Dave Ryding delivering the week’s best performance with a 12th place finish in the Schladming Slalom WC.
The Alpine World Junior Championships concluded, with Calum Langmuir and Giselle Gorringe seeing the pick of the results. Langmuir’s 17th in the Men’s Super-G was a performance of real grit and promise, while Gorringe’s 23rd place in the Women’s Super-G left her unfortunate not to secure a top-20 spot, but still with much to reflect positively on. The Men’s Downhill, meanwhile, saw all three British entrants finish within the top-40, with Calum Langmuir in 32nd, Dominic Shackleton in 34th and Max Laughland in 37th. Further finishes were secured by Louis de Pourtales, Laughland, and Langmuir in the Men’s Giant Slalom.
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