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

Ahead of the World PAra Snow Sports Championships, we take a look at what to expect from the British squad in Norway

The World Para Snow Sports Championships, which get underway this week in Lillehammer, Norway, marks the biggest Para Snow Sports competition in the country since the 1994 Paralympic Winter Games.

GB Snowsport has named its largest ever squad for a World Para Snow Sports Championships, with 18 athletes and 5 guides travelling out for the competition.

Who’s in the squad?

The GB team was named on 23 December, and contains a mix of experienced World Championships athletes and some of the most exciting new names in world Para Snowsport.

PARA ALPINE

  • Shona Brownlee
  • Menna Fitzpatrick (Guide: Katie Guest)
  • Millie Knight (Guide: Brett Wild)
  • Neil Simpson (Guide: Andrew Simpson)
  • Dan Sheen
  • Alex Slegg
  • James Whitley
  • Adam Hall (Supporting Guide)
  • Gary Smith (Supporting Guide)

PARA NORDIC

  • Steve Arnold
  • Callum Deboys
  • Hope Gordon
  • Scott Meenagh
  • Steve Thomas

PARA SNOWBOARD

  • James Barnes-Miller
  • Jon-Allan Butterworth
  • Ollie Hill
  • Andy MacLeod
  • Owen Pick
  • Nina Sparks

When does it get underway?

Competition starts on 13 January, with Para Alpine Downhill and Cross Country Middle Distance. The Para Snowboard programme gets underway on 14 January with the Dual Banked Slalom races.

How have the preparations gone?

GB’s Para Snowsport squad have already put down some impressive results this season, with Alex Slegg, Shona Brownlee, Menna Fitzpatrick, Millie Knight, Neil Simpson, and James Barnes-Miller all notching podium finishes in World Cup competitions ahead of the Championships.

The Para Nordic squad have also been on good form, and are benefiting from their first season in the new Williams Advanced Engineering designed sit-ski rigs which were unveiled late last year.

How can I watch the Events?

All Para Alpine, Para Nordic and Para Snowboard events will be streamed live on the World Para Snow Sports Facebook page: www.facebook.com/parasnowsports and live links will be available via the International Paralympic Committee’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/paralympics

Where can I find out more?

The official Championships website has all the latest information, including details on all of the events, at www.paralympic.org/lillehammer-2021

We’ll be bringing you news of British performances and results as soon as we get them across GB Snowsport’s social media channels.

Header Image: James Barnes-Miller at the Paracross World Cup, Pyha, 2021

Britain to take 18-strong squad to Lillehammer for Norway’s biggest Para Snowsport event since 1994 Paralympic Winter Games

GB Snowsport are delighted to name the 18 athletes and five Guides who will form the biggest ever squad taken by Britain to January’s World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. The Championships, which will run from 8-23 January 2022, are expected to draw together around 750 of the world’s most talented Para Snowsport athletes, and mark the first time that the Para Alpine, Para Biathlon, Para Cross-Country and Para Snowboard World Championships are held in a single host nation.

British hopes will be spearheaded by some of the biggest names in Para Snowsport, including Winter Paralympic medallists Menna Fitzpatrick and Millie Knight and 2019 Para World Championship silver medallist Owen Pick. The squad announcement also confirms that, for the first time, Britain will have female representation across each of the discipline squads, marking an important step forward in the sport’s ongoing efforts to build strength and depth across more classifications and events than ever before.

The World Para Snow Sports Championships will see a number of athletes making their Para Snow Sports World Championships debut for Britain, including Hope Gordon, Ollie Hill, summer Paralympic medallist Jon-Allan Butterworth, Nina Sparks, Shona Brownlee and Dan Sheen.

Para Alpine Squad

  • Shona Brownlee
  • Menna Fitzpatrick (Guide: Katie Guest)
  • Millie Knight (Guide: Brett Wild)
  • Neil Simpson (Guide: Andrew Simpson)
  • Dan Sheen
  • Alex Slegg
  • James Whitley
  • Adam Hall (Supporting Guide)
  • Gary Smith (Supporting Guide)

Para Nordic Squad

  • Steve Arnold
  • Callum Deboys
  • Hope Gordon
  • Scott Meenagh
  • Steve Thomas

Para Snowboard

  • James Barnes-Miller
  • Jon-Allan Butterworth
  • Ollie Hill
  • Andy MacLeod
  • Owen Pick
  • Nina Sparks

Jayne Kavanagh, Head of Paralympic Programmes, said:

After a superb start to the season from all our Para Snowsport athletes, we go into this year’s World Para Snow Sports Championships ready to show the world what this group of athletes can achieve. We’ve got an exciting blend of experienced athletes and Championship debutants which reflects the strength-in-depth that we have to call on across all our disciplines.

The extra year of preparation from the delay to the Championships has given us the opportunity to really build towards this moment, and we all look forward to seeing British athletes out there competing with the best in the world.”

The World Para Snow Sports Championships get underway on 8 January 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway. For more information on the Championships, visit https://www.paralympic.org/lillehammer-2021/about

Header Image Credit: Pam Doyle

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

As we hit the 100 day countdown to the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games, GB Snowsport Chief Executive, Vicky Gosling, explains how innovation is powering our team’s efforts

In just 100 days’ time, British Para Athletes will be out in Beijing waiting for their moment to shine. The Paralympic Winter Games have been a source of pride for fans of British skiing and snowboarding for some years now and heading into this winter’s Games I know that every one of our athletes will be doing everything in their power to continue that proud tradition.

Success on the slopes, though, doesn’t come from dedication alone. As a sport, we need to make sure we’re providing all of our athletes with the very best tools available to help them eke out the performance benefits that can make the difference between a very good performance and a truly great one. For me, that means investing time and effort into new innovations that will give us an edge over the competition.

The launch, today, of our new Para Nordic sit-skis, is an example of the type of innovation I think we can bring to the table. Developed in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, they’re an example of combining British engineering excellence with a specific area that we, and our athlete team, feel we can extract real benefits from. The proof will come as the season progresses, of course, but the early reports from testing and the athletes’ feedback thus far has created a real buzz around the team.

Para Nordic Squad Member, Steve Arnold, with the new Williams Advanced Engineering Sit Ski Rig. Photo: Tom Pilston.

British sport, of course, has a track record of embracing innovation. Cycling, sailing, swimming, rowing, and so many other of our other Olympic and Paralympic sporting jewels have thrived through a belief in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It needn’t all be about technical innovation, either. When I spoke, earlier this month, about building partnerships with other sports to help identify the next generation of snowsport talent, that was another area of potential innovation that I think could bear fruit for the future of our sport. We just have to allow ourselves the opportunity to think outside of the box.

We’re fortunate, in snowsport, that our athletes and coaches are so open to the benefits of embracing innovation. Instead of the resistance that some sports have faced to doing things differently, we’re pushing at an open door. With that mentality in place, and some of the world’s most forward-thinking teams working to bring more success to our sport, there’s really no reason that we shouldn’t be at the global forefront of our sport in these areas.

And the truth is, we need to be. Unlike our neighbours and rivals, we aren’t blessed with training and competition-ready snow conditions year-round. We don’t have a culture whereby children strap on skis and snowboards the moment they can walk. What we do have is bravery, dedication, creativity, and a willingness to look for the winning edge wherever we can find it.

That’s what I believe today’s launch represents, and it’s why I’ve got such optimism for the new season, and for the years to come. If we have to make our own success, we can be absolutely certain that we’ll have explored every angle, and considered every possible solution. We owe our athletes and the nation that supports them nothing less.

New technology will provide Para Nordic squad with best-in-class innovation support going into 2021/22 season

With 100 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, GB Snowsport and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) have unveiled new sit-ski technology that will support the nation’s Para Nordic athletes in their quest for Paralympic success at the Games and across the 2021/22 winter season.

The new rigs, which have been tested extensively by the country’s leading Para Nordic athletes since the summer, are the result of an advanced engineering innovation process led by WAE’s in-house Design Team, GB Snowsport’s Sport Sciences department, and a multi-disciplinary research team from Coventry University. Athlete involvement in the design process means each sit-ski is tailored specifically to the individual athlete’s technique, drawing on WAE’s impressive track record of supporting British Paralympic efforts since the Summer Games in 2016.

The new sit skis will be used by the four-man Para Nordic World Cup squad, Steve Arnold, Callum Deboys, Scott Meenagh, and Steve Thomas, throughout the 2021/22 season, beginning in Canmore on 3 December. The rigs’ design and materials have further benefited from the input of experts from Coventry University, BAE Systems, and Formaplex.

Vicky Gosling, GB Snowsport Chief Executive, said:

“With just 100 days to go until the Paralympic Winter Games get underway in Beijing, I’m delighted that we can reveal the results of this exciting partnership between GB Snowsport and Williams Advanced Engineering.

By working with Williams Advanced Engineering, we are ensuring our Para Nordic athletes will benefit from access to some of the country’s leading innovation experts, providing the team with the very best chance of success throughout the season and into the Paralympic Winter Games.”

Paul McNamara, Technical Director at Williams Advanced Engineering, added:

“We are delighted to be involved in this project and using our experience in design and manufacture, to support some of the country’s leading athletes in their preparations for the forthcoming Paralympic Winter Games. During the course of the programme we have seen some significant progress, and we look forward to translating this into positive gains in Beijing.”

Richard Swain, Engineering Team Leader in BAE Systems Maritime Services’ business, said:

“Working with our partners and apprentices on this project in support of our country’s athletes has been hugely rewarding for everyone involved. Our apprentices, who manufacture small boats in their day job have used their engineering skills to manufacture the seats for each sit-ski, working with new materials and specialist tooling from Formaplex. We wish our athletes every success for the Paralympic Winter Games.”

Dr Samuel Oxford, Associate Professor and Project Lead for Coventry University, added:

“As a university we were delighted that a team of experts from across our research centres (Centre for Sports, Exercise and Life Sciences, and the National Transport Design Centre) were able to work together to help support Williams Advanced Engineering and the GB Snowsport athletes in their preparations for the forthcoming Paralympic Winter Games.”

Matt Sellens, Composites Director, Formaplex, said:

“We are so proud to have been involved in this project supporting the fantastic athletes competing in the Paralympic Winter Games. It’s been a privilege to combine forces with two the UK’s best engineering companies and to see the sit-skis realised.”

The Para Nordic season gets underway in Canmore, Canada, on 3 December, with the World Para Snow Sports Championships following in Lillehammer from 8-23 January 2022, followed by the XIII Paralympic Winter Games which begin in Beijing on Friday 4 March 2022.

Header Image: GB Para Nordic athletes Steve Arnold (l) and Callum Deboys (r) with the 2021/22 season Williams Advanced Engineering Sit Ski. 18/11/21 Photo: Tom Pilston.

After a life-changing 2021, Scott Meenagh is fully focused on creating a legacy in Para Nordic skiing

“She’s given me a lot of reasons to get up and do my best every day,” Scott Meenagh explains, with a smile. The British Para Nordic trailblazer is talking about the birth of his daughter. “She arrived three months early, which was a bit of a shock”, he says with just a hint of understatement, “but it’s been really special.”

Special, undoubtedly, but for an athlete whose dedication to their sport is near-legendary among his teammates, a challenge nonetheless. “I used to eat, train, rest; eat, train, rest;” he explains, “but now I’m doing these hard sessions, and then pretty much going straight from there into my car, to the hospital and…”, he tails off for a moment. “Any regard for your own welfare, you know, is out the window. You’re caring for your daughter and for your wife.”

The induction to fatherhood might have thrown up some new routines, but Scott Meenagh is a man who’s used to blazing new trails.

Back in 2018, Meenagh became the first British Para Nordic skier to represent his country at the Paralympic Winter Games. It’s an experience that he describes as “probably the first time in my life that a dream – which was truly a dream – had finally, really come true.” Typical of Meenagh, though, his thoughts were less on his own achievements and more on what they could mean in time to come.

“Mostly, I was really proud”, he explains. “Really proud of the programme and the support around me, the people who’d dared to dream with me and to make it happen. At PyeongChang we were just as passionate about creating a legacy and blazing a trail for others to follow. And I think the squad we have now, the support we have from GB Snowsport and UK Sport now, is a real testament to that legacy.”

And as for Beijing? “You know, the fact that there is a Nordic team shows that we left a real marker in PyeongChang. That’s something we all want to take into Beijing.”

Meenagh’s enthusiasm for what that team represents is clear, never more so than when he talks about the dynamic within the squad; “a really good relationship”, he explains, but one built on a code. “As a team, we do everything we can to make each other better every day. You know, essentially, the better I get today, the better everyone else in the team will have to get as a result of it. We pick each other up, and we share an identity. It’s a really cool dynamic, and I get so much energy out of the time I spend alongside the other guys.”

And on race day?

“Well, we’ve got an understanding that when we’re on the start line, essentially the outcome…it’s quite an individual, selfish performance. But the better we each do, the better we all are on that start line.”

He might be best known for his Para Nordic exploits, but for Meenagh – a double above knee amputee – it might have been another sport altogether. In his youth, he was a highly promising rugby player who represented Scotland at Under-18 level and then, post injury, an international level Para Rower. And while Meenagh’s pleased with the support around the Para Nordic discipline now, when it first came to switching disciplines, the contrast from the Rowing environment was stark.

“Coming over…probably the most challenging part was coming from GB Rowing – probably the most well-oiled, well-refined Olympic medal machine that’s ever existed – to a system where I really had to build that system around me, and find the people who were passionate and willing to believe in that journey.”

It’s a decision he shows no regret over. “Nordic’s just such a complete sport, you know? You have to be really, really fit. Strong, a diligent endurance athlete. You’ve got to have the technical skills of a skier, good decision making, knowing when to gamble and when to risk manage. And that’s what attracted me to it. That’s why I love it as much as I do.”

It’s that love for the sport, and the dedication to blaze a trail through it, that’s a large part of the reason Para Nordic is seen as one of the nation’s most promising disciplines on the eve of the new season, a sense boosted by the launch of new Williams Advanced Engineering sit-ski rigs, which he describes as “really good, really confident in them. It’s been a great project to be involved in; the guys [WAE’s expert engineering team] have been super patient with us, and we’ve felt very included in the design process from the very start.” Around the squad, there’s a definite buzz. “We’re just really excited with the outcome.”

We return, finally, to the rugby. Meenagh continues to stay in touch with Glasgow Warriors and the Scottish national team, environments from which, he says, he’s been able to take lessons on culture and group behaviour, and apply them to the Para Nordic world. Will his old teammates be cheering him on? “Yeah, I hope so!”, he says. “They always take a keen interest in what I’m doing. As much as I admire the work they do, I think the feeling’s mutual. They’re interested, and they like to see us do well.”

Family. Current and former teammates. And a whole nation. When he next sits at the starting line, Meenagh knows he’s got a world of support behind him.

Scott Meenagh Biography

  • Born: 1989
  • Discipline: Para Nordic
  • Hometown: Cumbernauld, Scotland
  • Top Paralympic Finish: 13th, Men’s 12.5km Sitting Biathlon, PyeongChang 2018

Header Image: Scott Meenagh

What’s your usual diet like while training during the off-season? 

“We normally get around 3-4 weeks of relative down time at the end of a season. Normally April time. This is when I am more relaxed about the types of foods I eat. Still pretty balanced I would say, as once I’m so used to eating healthier foods, it’s hard to crave things like a take away as they make me feel rubbish. I’m more likely to go for pancakes or waffles after a dog walk or something.”

What’s your favourite quick and easy healthy meal/snack? 

“Nothing beats a peanut butter and banana smoothie after a tough training session.”

 What’s your typical workout routine in the off-season?

“I always go back to my local athletics club and CrossFit gym in the off season. It’s a great way to train in my local community and for the fun of it. My favourite type of off-season training is turning up to the gym without any plan and just doing what I feel like or what’s on the board. As normally our training is so heavily structured.”

What’s your favourite exercise and why? 

“Running. I love the freedom and social element to it.”

Any tips for someone wanting to get active this summer? 

“Get outside! Rain, hail or shine, it’s never as bad as it seems once you’re outside.  The hardest part about getting active is taking that first step outside your front door.”

Paralympic medallists Menna Fitzpatrick, Millie Knight and Kelly Gallagher joined by seven new athletes in 22 person Para Snowsport squad for 2021/22 season

Britain’s World Class Para Snowsport squad for the 2021/22 season has been confirmed today by GB Snowsport with Paralympic legends and experienced world-class athletes joined by a host of new talent in the nation’s largest ever World Class Programme squad for Para Snowsports.

Paralympic medallists Menna Fitzpatrick, Kelly Gallagher, Millie Knight and World Cup Winner Neil Simpson are joined by new selections Shona Brownlee and Dan Sheen in the Para Alpine squad alongside invitational athlete, Alex Slegg, with all three new selections competing in sit ski disciplines – making this season the first time that GB will have sit ski representatives since the Para Snowsport programme was taken over by GB Snowsport. Three new Para Alpine guides join the squad ranks for the first time, with Lachlan Veitch, Adam Hall and Katie Guest joining returning names in Gary Smith, Brett Wild and Andrew Simpson.

The Para Nordic squad remains unchanged from the 2020/21 season with Scott Meenagh, Callum Deboys, Steve Arnold and Steve Thomas all selected to represent the Great Britain in the year ahead.

In Para Snowboard, talent transfer Jon-Allan Butterworth is named in the Para Snowboarding squad, having announced his retirement from Para Cycling in January, where he will compete alongside James Barnes-Miller, Owen Pick, Andy Macleod and Ollie Hill, who joins up with the squad for the first time.

Pat Sharples, GB Snowsport Head Coach, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to announce such a strong Para Snowsport squad to represent Britain in the coming season – the biggest ever Para Snowsport World Class Programme in the nation’s history. Having so much Paralympic experience in the ranks is a huge benefit to the whole squad and we’re excited by what we will be able to achieve over the next twelve months.

“Across the world, the competitiveness of Para Snowsport is growing every year, and with this squad we believe Britain can hold its own in the biggest competitions.”

Menna Fitzpatrick, four-time Paralympic medallist and member of the Para Alpine squad, said:

“I’m really looking forward to getting underway with the new season. We’ve got a great team this year, and after a frustrating year for all of us in 2020/21 we’re all really looking forward to getting back out on the slopes, putting in some big results and focusing in on the Paralympic Winter Games in March.”

Para Alpine

Shona Brownlee*, Menna Fitzpatrick, Kelly Gallagher, Millie Knight, Dan Sheen*, Neil Simpson, Alex Slegg**

Para Alpine Guides

Katie Guest*, Adam Hall*, Andrew Simpson, Gary Smith, Lachlan Veitch*, Brett Wild

Para Nordic

Steve Arnold, Callum Deboys, Scott Meenagh, Steve Thomas

Para Snowboard

James Barnes-Miller, Jon-Allan Butterworth*, Ollie Hill*, Andy Macleod, Owen Pick

* denotes newly selected athletes

** denotes invitational athlete

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