Cross-Country – Sognefjellet, Norway
Andrew Musgrave and James Clugnet with Austria’s Mika Vermeulen
Freestyle Ski & Snowboard – Genk, Belgium
Topping the bill, Snowboard Cross Crystal Globe holder Charlotte Bankes recorded her second World Cup victory of the season at the Cortina d’Ampezzo World Cup in a typically dominant display of Snowboard Cross racing. The result – her first World Cup win in Cortina – moves Bankes up to second in the season’s overall standings, behind Chloe Trespeuch who Bankes beat into third place with Faye Gulini taking second spot, and Manon Petit Lenoir fourth. In the men’s races, Huw Nightingale came in in 41st place.
Fresh from their X Games heroics, Kirsty Muir and Zoe Atkin also both returned to the World Cup podium this weekend at the Mammoth Mountain Freestyle World Cup. In the Freeski Slopestyle competition, Muir put down a superb demonstration of Slopestyle skiing to take second place in the standings, matching in the process her career best World Cup result from Aspen in 2021. Muir’s score of 84.00 left her just 2.00 points behind Johanne Killi in top spot, and continues a run of form which has seen Muir finish inside the top-8 in seven consecutive World Cup competitions, dating back to March 2021.
In Freeski Halfpipe, Zoe Atkin took the third World Cup podium of her career and joined Muir in taking second place on the podium in her first World Cup competition of the season, straight off the back of her spectacular victory at X Games last weekend. A huge score of 92.75 was only just beaten by China’s Kexin Zhang who topped the podium with 93.50 in a contest that demonstrated again the reasons that Atkin, at just 20 years of age, is so highly rated within the sport.
In the men’s competitions, James Pouch bagged his best ever World Cup result with 32nd place in Slopestyle, just ahead of Tayler Harding in 35th and Tom Greenway, in only the third World Cup entry of his career, coming in 43rd.
On the Europa Cup circuit, meanwhile, Ash Clayton took a brilliant double podium with second place in Big Air and third place in Slopestyle at La Clusaz EC. The results gave Clayton the first EC podiums of their career, having competed in only one previous EC level competition.
Laurie Taylor also notched a career best World Cup result in the Chamonix Slalom World Cup, ending the weekend in 23rd position. Taylor, who is part of the squad that will travel to the Alpine World Championships, was joined in the second run by Dave Ryding who was pushing hard until a straddle prematurely ended his race. Billy Major, meanwhile, was unfortunate not to qualify finishing not far outside of the second run qualification spots.
The weekend’s final British podium fell to Telemark star Jaz Taylor who took third place in the second of two World Cup Sprint races in Les Contamines-Montjoie for her first podium of the season. The earlier of the week’s races saw her finish fifth while, in the men’s races, Timote Gough took a promising 17th place finish.
James Clugnet and Andrew Young continued their preparations for the Cross-Country World Championships with three races in the Toblach World Cup, the pick of the results coming in a 12th place finish as part of a FIS team in the 4 x 7.5km Relay. In the Sprint F, Clugnet took 28th and Young 41st, while Young finished in 36th spot in the 10km F with Clugnet in 57th.
Meanwhile, the Moguls squad travelled to Deer Valley for the latest in their World Cup tour. Will Feneley had the best of the weekend’s action with 8th place in the Dual Moguls competition, matching his best ever World Cup result from Alpe d’Huez in December. Makayla Gerken Schofield came 11th in the Single Moguls competition, Mateo Jeannesson finished 19th in Dual Moguls and 21st in Single Moguls, and Thomas Gerken-Schofield 25th in Single Moguls.
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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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Having suffered the disappointment of a sickness-related withdrawal at the season’s first World Cup in Les Deux Alpes, Bankes was back in the familiar position of podium finishes, taking third place in the first World Cup race and first in the second of the weekend.
Those results being Bankes’ astonishing recent World Cup record to eleven podiums in the last thirteen World Cup competitions, including seven victories, and further cements her reputation as one of the finest snowsport athletes currently competing on the world circuit. Huw Nightingale found himself just outside the top-30 in both Men’s races, taking 31st and 33rd spot, and marking another step up in his young career having taken 52nd place the last time he was in Cervinia in 2021.
In the third Moguls World Cup competition of the month, Makayla Gerken Schofield’s stunning early-season form brought Britain’s best-ever single Moguls World Cup result as her fourth-place finish sparked jubilation among the British contingent in Alpe d’Huez, before backing it up with yet another top-10 with sixth in the Dual Moguls. Her score of 73.49 in the Singles left her less than 1.5 points off the podium, while her Dual Moguls performance saw match her previous best Dual Moguls result, secured in February 2021 in Deer Valley.
The men’s competitions saw enormous results for Will Feneley and Tom Gerken Schofield, with both taking top-10s in the Dual Moguls. Feneley’s eighth place finish, coming off the back of a 32nd in the Single Moguls, marked the best result of his World Cup career to date, while Gerken Schofield’s 10th place gave him his first top-10 finish since his history-making second place in Krasnoyarsk in February 2020. Mateo Jeannesson, meanwhile, took 21st place in both the Single and Dual Moguls marking an excellent return for the 18-year-old taking the best World Cup results of his career to date.
In the Copper Mountain Big Air World Cup, Freeski sensation Kirsty Muir equalled the third-best World Cup result of her career and her best Big Air World Cup result to date with a superb fifth place. Having qualified in second place, Muir then recorded a sensational 94 for the 1440 on her second Final jump before finishing in an excellent fifth spot, less than eight points outside of the podium positions.
The men’s contest saw British interest from Chris McCormick and James Pouch, with McCormick finishing in 36th spot and James Pouch in 50th.
In Cross-Country, James Clugnet continued the squad’s excellent season in Davos with a superb sixth place in the Sprint Free competition, the highest solo finish of his career to date. Andrew Young took 33rd with Andrew Musgrave finishing in 37th, before Musgrave took tenth place for his fourth top-10 of the season in the 20km F.
In Alpine, Laurie Taylor’s fourth place in the Obereggen Europa Cup was the pick of the results, while Charlie Raposo grabbed ninth place in the Zinal Europa Cup GS before coming 55th in the Alta Badia World Cup GS.
Andrew Musgrave’s incredible start to the 2022-23 season continued in Beitostolen this weekend, with third place in Saturday’s 10km C giving the 32-year-old his first World Cup podium in five years. Having record fifth and fourth place finishes in 10km races in Ruka and Lillehammer so far this season, Musgrave’s race strategy finally brought him back to the podium with a performance that saw him finish just 10s behind Paal Golberg’s race-winning time.
Andrew Young recorded his own career milestone in the same race, his 23rd place marking his best ever 10km World Cup performance, while Joe Davies took a highly respectable 63rd place in only the third World Cup race of his career.
The weekend’s Sprint C races saw Young take 32nd spot, Musgrave 54th, and James Clugnet 60th, but the weekend belonged firmly to the 10km C and a result which acts as a rich reward for one of Britain’s most dedicated endurance athletes.
A career-best result was also on the cards in the Moguls World Cup in Idre Fjall, Sweden, as Makayla Gerken Schofield took 6th in the Moguls and 8th in the Dual Moguls, with the former marking her best ever Moguls finish and the latter a second career top-10 in Dual Moguls. Leonie Gerken Schofield also performed excellently in Idre Fjall, taking 23rd in the Moguls and 20th in the Dual Moguls, while in the Men’s competitions Will Feneley came 29th in the Moguls and 24th in Dual Moguls, Thomas Gerken Schofield 38th in Moguls and 25th in Dual Moguls, and Mateo Jeannesson 30th in Moguls and 39th in Dual Moguls.
In Alpine, the Men’s Slalom World Cup season finally got underway in Val d’Isere, with Dave Ryding finishing just outside the top-20 having qualified for the second run in ninth spot. Laurie Taylor and Billy Major both took DNFs from the first run, as did Charlie Raposo in the weekend’s Giant Slalom races.
Charlie Guest finished 43rd in the Sestriere Slalom races, with Alex Tilley recording a DNF.
Earlier in the week, the Ski Cross World Cup season got off to a promising start in Val Thorens for Ollie Davies with a 16th place finish in the week’s second WC competition, after a 34th place in the first contest.
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Andrew Musgrave’s stunning start to the 2022-23 season continued in Lillehammer with fourth place in Friday’s 10km Free giving him his best result since the 15km F Mass Start in Oberstdorf in December 2021. Coming in just 12.5s behind race winner Iver Tildheim Andersen and only 3.4s off a podium spot, the race continues a superb start to the season, with Musgrave’s weekend also returning 30th and 39th place finishes in the Sprint Free and 20km Classic Mass Start races.
Racing in the first World Cup contests of his career, Joe Davies took an excellent 43rd in the 10km F, placing him seventh among the U23 group, before a DNF in the 20km C Mass Start, while Andrew Young and James Clugnet secured 23rd and 27th in the Sprint Free, and 41st and 52nd in the 20km C Mass Start respectively, capping a promising weekend for the Cross-Country squad now racing as part of Team Aker Daehlie.
In the first Moguls World Cup of the season, Makayla Gerken Schofield topped the British bill in Ruka with an exceptional 10th place finish. Makayla, who lit up the Olympics in Beijing with the best ever result for a British Moguls skier at an Olympic Winter Games, came in between the Japanese pair Haruka Ihara and Hinako Tomitaka to take the fifth World Cup top-10 finish of her career. Leonie Gerken Schofield lodged a promising 23rd place, while in the Men’s competition Mateo Jeannesson took 23rd, Thomas Gerken Schofield 35th and Will Feneley 42nd spot.
The opening Snowboard Cross World Cup of the season saw a weekend of frustration for British athletes. In the women’s races, defending Crystal Globe holder Charlotte Bankes looked in typically exceptional form qualifying for finals in first spot, but was forced to withdraw before the beginning of the final having suffered with sickness throughout the weekend. Huw Nightingale, meanwhile, took 45th spot one place ahead of the USA’s Beijing Olympic Winter Games Team Gold medallist Nick Baumgartner.
A difficult week for the Alpine squad saw a flurry of DNFs, with Roy Steudle, Giselle Gorringe, Owen Vinter, Samuel Todd-Saunders and Charlie Raposo all landing DNFs in Beaver Creek, Zinal and Gurgl. Gorringe did manage to take a 54th spot in the second of the EC Super G races in Zinal in the first EC race of her career.
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Reigning Snowboard Cross World Champion and Crystal Globe holder, Charlotte Bankes, is among the 52 athletes named today in the British Freestyle Ski and Snowboard squad ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season.
Featuring athletes competing across seven disciplines, the squad also boasts 9 World Cup, World Championship and X Games podium holders, as well as perhaps the world’s most exciting young snowboarder in Mia Brookes.
Brookes, who is set to make her World Cup debut as part of the Freestyle “A” Squad, heads into the season off the back of a record of eight victories and one runner-up spot from nine competitions in the 2021/22 season as well as three ANZ competition wins in Perisher, Australia this summer. She is joined by Beijing Olympian Katie Ormerod, Maisie Hill, Billy Cockrell, Jamie Nicholls and Fin Bremner in an exciting Slopestyle/Big Air line-up which also includes Liam Tynan, Lenny Fenning, Charlie Lane, Teiva Hamaini, Amber Fennell, and Emily Rothney in the ‘B’ Squad. Siddartha Ullah, meanwhile, takes a ‘B’ Squad spot as the sole member of the British Freestyle Snowboard Half Pipe line-up. Matt McCormick, who has been an integral part of the Freestyle Snowboard squad since 2015, will be stepping away from the World Class Programme squad environment owing to the effects of a long-lasting concussion. Matt will focus on other projects while remaining a part of the snowboard community, and will always remain a valued and highly-respected part of the GB Snowsport family.
Charlotte Bankes will compete alongside Maisie Potter and fellow Beijing Olympian Huw Nightingale in the Snowboard Cross World Cup Squad, while a nine-person Ski Cross Squad will see World Cup Squad members Ollie Davies and Emma Peters joined by Tommy Dade, Scott Johns, Owen Johns, Gregory Baillie, Max Vaughton, Patrick Young, Alannah Lawrie, and Claire Winthrop in the Europa Cup Squad.
In a Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air ‘A’ Squad roster packed full of experience at the top of the sport, Beijing competitors James Woods, Katie Summerhayes and Kirsty Muir have been selected alongside 2018 Olympic medallist Izzy Atkin and are joined by Tyler Harding, Chris McCormick, James Pouch, Tom Greenway and Connie Brogden. Jasper Klein, Felix Klein, Justin Taylor-Tipton, Mason Ferebee, and Dylan Boyes make up the ‘B’ Squad.
Fresh from her Olympic debut in Beijing, Zoe Atkin is the sole Freeski Halfpipe ‘A’ Squad competitor for the coming season, with Sam Gaskin and Sam Ward both selected in the ‘B’ Squad. Gus Kenworthy, whose final competition came in the Beijing Olympic Winter Games Halfpipe Final, leaves the Squad as one of the most iconic Freeskiers of all time, following confirmation of his retirement.
A number of athletes named across the squads are included on provisional selection status, pending their ability to hit agreed criteria during the coming season.
“I can’t wait for the season to get started and to get going with all the other guys on the GB squad. The last couple of years have been insane, and this year’s a big opportunity for me to show the world what I can do. I’ve grown up seeing what Katie and Jamie have done for British snowboarding over the past few years, and training alongside them is pretty cool.”
“Looking ahead it’s definitely going to be a busy season with a lot of contests in the calendar. It’s an exciting time with plenty of experience in the team as well as some new faces and we’re all stoked to show what British Freeskiing is capable of.”
“We’re really proud to name a Freestyle Squad with so many of the world’s biggest names in its ranks. Our Freestyle skiers and snowboarders are some of the most exciting athletes in the world, and the blend of experience and emerging talent in the British ranks is super exciting.
“Everyone selected in this year’s Squad should be really proud of themselves, and I’d like to particularly congratulate all the athletes selected for the first time this year. This is such an exciting time to be part of this team and we can expect to see some huge performances over the next 10 months.”
World Cup Squad
World Cup Squad
Europa Cup Squad
World Cup Squad
* Provisional selections pending meeting criteria by dates agreed by the Coaching team
British athletes were back on snow this month as pre-season training kicked up a gear ahead of the resumption of the 2022/23 World Cup programme in October.
During a phased return to the slopes, as each discipline takes advantage of enhanced athlete testing, conditioning, and fitness work, the men’s Alpine squad were into training in Stelvio, while the Freeski and Freestyle Snowboard travelled to Genk, Belgium, for training blocks on cutting-edge Air Bag facilities and to Manchester for UK camps and screening sessions.
Meanwhile, the Ski and Snowboard Cross and Para Snowboard squads have been in Les Deux Alpes for on-snow training blocks, with Ski and Snowboard Cross also travelling into Corsica for bike camp training, while Moguls have banked dry land and water camp training as preparations for the new season ramp up. The Cross Country squad have been put through their paces in Bo, Norway, with a camp taking in the Rollerski World Cup, which saw Andrew Young take fourth place and James Clugnet fifth, with the Para Nordic squad also taking part in the British Rollerski Championships.
For others the preparations continue at home with athletes from the Moguls, Cross Country, and Ski and Snowboard Cross teams helping support Home Nations competitions and development programmes across the country.
“With pre-season now underway, it’s great to see how high motivation is among all the athletes, coaches, and support staff, especially after such a busy last year. For the first time in a long time, it feels like we’ve come out of the stresses and the challenges of managing the pandemic and the preparations for Beijing, and this year really gives us all a fresh start as we lead up to Milan-Cortina.
“We’ve got a lot of training and a lot of hard work still to come, but it’s really exciting to be counting down to the start of the new season.”
Andrew Musgrave and James Clugnet with Austria’s Mika Vermeulen
Image Credits: Jostein Vinjerui, Ben Kinnear
The new programme, announced yesterday by Snowsport England, will focus on increased participation in Moguls and Ski Cross, while providing athletes with developments in skills applicable to multiple snowsport disciplines.
A team of coaches led by Paul Telling (Snowsport England Cross-Discipline Pathway Coach), Luke Feneley (Ski Cross) and Joss Englert (Moguls) will oversee the delivery of the programme, with support from GB Snowsport Head of Talent, Mark Ritchie, and coaches and support staff from across the Home Nations Snowsport system.
The programme will be based out of domestic training facilities, and will provide opportunities for aspiring British athletes to hone the skills that will allow them to progress in Moguls or Ski Cross, or to develop capabilities that will support successful transition between snowsport disciplines.
Speaking about the project’s launch, Paul Telling said: “The UK has a huge number of exciting young skiers, and several excellent ski centres and facilities that are keen to be involved in the development of these future champions.
“By providing more opportunities for skiers to develop the skills needed for Ski Cross and Moguls, and more opportunities for skiers to try multiple disciplines, we give ourselves the best chance of increasing participation and raising standards, helping GBS to talent spot the next generation of Olympic athletes.”
Ollie Davies, GB Snowsport Ski Cross World Cup squad member and Beijing 2022 Olympian, said: “Ski Cross is an exciting discipline. For more young and up and coming racers to have the opportunity to try Ski Cross on the domestic scene is great. Hopefully it can be the beginning in shaping the next generation of Olympic Ski Cross competitors.”
Will Feneley, Moguls World Cup squad member and also a member of the Team GB squad at Beijing 2022, added: “It’s great to see initiatives like this being put in place. Mogul skiing has been a particularly hidden discipline in the UK, so it’s nice to see that opportunities are being put in place for younger skiers to come through, try the sport out, and take steps towards the top.”
We are pleased to be supporting Snowsport England in this programme as part of our wider commitment to supporting a broader, deeper pipeline of athletes in the British snowsport system.
Header Image: Skier, Will Feneley for Team GB during moguls qualification second run at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on the 5th February 2022 at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjakou, China. Photo by Sam Mellish / Team GB.
As a season of record-breaking highs and heart-breaking disappointments draws to a close, the British snowsport scene can look back on a year where the history books were rewritten, even as we felt the joy and the despair of an Olympic and Paralympic Games like no other.
In Beijing, British athletes battled covid restrictions, challenging snow conditions, crashes, injuries, and disruption, and returned home with pride, disappointment, new successes, agonising defeats and, from the Paralympic squad, six medals from the Alpine and Snowboard events. But those are results that only tell a fraction of the story.
On the World Cup and World Championships stages, British athletes took 26 podiums with Charlotte Bankes’ Crystal Globe winning Snowboard Cross season and Dave Ryding’s history-making Slalom victory in Kitzbuehel leading the way. Europa Cup contests added another 25, including four for the remarkable Mia Brookes, each a victory, and all before she has turned 16 years of age. FIS level races saw British athletes notch another 12 podiums, including seven victories, in Alpine, Freeski, Snowboard and Ski Cross. World Championships and World Junior Championships, meanwhile, accounted for an additional nine. On podium places alone, British skiers and snowboarders at every level, are showing themselves among the world’s best athletes.
And off the slopes, yet more progress has been made. New partners in Redrow, Fusalp, and Williams Advanced Engineering have helped to grow the sport at home and overseas. More work is underway to champion equality and diversity at every level. Efforts to bring our sport closer to people at home have taken root.
We cannot, though, forget the frustration felt in Beijing. For the Olympic squad to return without a medal was a disappointment given the good form of so many athletes going into the Games, but even among the sense of missed opportunities there were green shoots to be found. Kirsty Muir’s Olympic debut hinted at the promise her talent holds, Makayla Gerken-Schofield’s best-ever Moguls result for a British Olympic skier, and Zoe Atkin’s top-10 in the Halfpipe all showed a core of young talent with their best years ahead of them.
Even as the emotions of defeat were present, so the grit and determination among the team came to the fore, whether in Leonie Gerken-Schofield’s ability to get back up again and put down a run after a fall in the Moguls, Charlotte Bankes’ breath-taking display of overtaking in the Snowboard Cross Team event after her shock elimination in the Women’s competition, or Gus Kenworthy’s determination to finish his Olympic career with a clean run after a bone-shuddering fall in the Halfpipe Finals.
Where Olympic results didn’t deliver a medal, the Paralympic squad was a regular fixture on the podium throughout the Games. Its six medals – one gold, one silver, and four bronze – came through a mix of old hands (Millie Knight and Menna Fitzpatrick both adding to their remarkable Paralympic records) and new blood (medals on debut for Neil Simpson and, for Ollie Hill a first ever British Paralympic snowboarding medal), and built on a World Championships that saw Britain return home with seven medals from Lillehammer.
As one four-year cycle draws to a close another begins, and eyes are already beginning to turn to Milan-Cortina, the venue for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As plans for that cycle begin to take shape both the current and the next generation of British stars are making an ever-stronger mark.
As a country and as a Governing Body, we are still at the beginning of our journey to become one of the world’s leading snowsport nations. Results aside, the performance standard for British snowsport athletes has increased dramatically in the four years since the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, with the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic squads the strongest a British team has ever sent to a Winter Games. These are the levels that athletes will now have to meet and exceed as Milan-Cortina approaches, and the potential that a new generation of skiers and snowboarders is showing gives us reason for optimism.
In Snowboard Cross, the first Crystal Globe of Charlotte Bankes’ career shows the depth and consistency of her talent, with Huw Nightingale also enjoying a breakthrough season, while Ski Cross prospects are encouraging with Ollie Davies and Max Vaughton both making an impact this year.
In Alpine, Charlie Guest continues to go from strength-to-strength, with repeated forays into World Cup top-20 spots, while Reece Bell’s long-awaited World Cup debut has arrived, and Charlie Raposo has delivered the best British men’s performances in Giant Slalom for decades.
The Para Nordic squad has grown in stature with a series of career-best performances over the season hinting at the potential to come, while in the Para Snowboard ranks new talent continues to break through with Ollie Hill, Nina Sparks, and Jon-Allan Butterworth all bolstering British hopes at the highest levels.
Mateo Jeannesson’s development in Moguls has catapulted him to the top of the podium.
Mia Brookes looks ready to conquer the world after a season which saw her take eight wins and one runner up spot from nine FIS, Europa Cup and Junior World Championship event entries.
The country’s Freeski prospects look encouraging, with Kirsty Muir, Zoe and Izzy Atkin, Connie Brogden, and Tyler Harding all showing promise this year.
The future, then, looks in good hands. But in the present, the 2021/22 season leaves behind a moment that will never be forgotten in British snowsport history. As the man himself said, “I remember in the past comments like ‘Ah, I’ve been beaten by a Brit’, or calling us an ‘exotic’ nation. Those comments have gone pretty quiet now. I’ve always said to the younger generation that it’s possible; I don’t have to say that anymore. I can just put the video on and say: ‘watch that’.”
A victory to showcase a great sportsman’s talent, and to mark Britain’s place on the global snowsport map.
Header image: Charlie Guest at Schladming World Cup, January 2022. Photo: GEPA pictures/ David Geieregger