Freeski and Cross Country World Cups yield strong performances, while there were Para Nordic FIS podiums to celebrate
Muir’s podium charge foiled by weather
Kirsty Muir’s first World Cup appearance of the season ended in a frustrating fourth place finish after poor weather conditions scuppered the Finals at the Stubai Slopestyle World Cup, leaving the result to qualification standings. Muir’s 63.50 first run looked to have been enough to secure comfortable passage to Finals, but with weather conditions deemed too dangerous to compete in taking hold across Austria, she found herself behind Mathilde Gremaud, Tess Ledeux, and Ruby Star Andrews in the curtailed final standings. The result nevertheless extends Muir’s run of top-10 World Cup finishes to nine consecutive competitions, dating back to the 2021 Silvaplana World Cup.
In the men’s competition, Tyler Harding was the pick of the Brits with a 22nd place finish, with Chris McCormick in 25th and James Pouch in 55th.
Musgrave doubles up with top-10 finishes in Ruka
The first Cross-Country World Cup races of the season saw Andrew Musgrave bank back-to-back top-10 finishes with a superb fifth place in the 10km Classic, followed by eighth in the 20km Free Mass Start. In the 10km, Musgrave was one of only two non-Norwegians in the top-5 alongside Finland’s Iivo Niskanen, finishing just seven seconds short of a podium spot. In a Norwegian dominated 20km race, Musgrave was once again right in the reckoning for the top spots, with a time of 48:13.5 putting him only 2.5s outside of the podium places. Andrew Young took 35th place in the 20km and 51st in the 10km, along with a 53rd in the 1.2km Sprint Classic with Musgrave in 67th.
Para Nordic Podiums
The Para Nordic race calendar saw strong performances from Scott Meenagh and Steve Arnold in FIS level races in Alberta as the calendar gears up for a busy year for the discipline. Meenagh demonstrated the form that took him to a World Championships silver last year with third place in the Men’s Interval Start race, with Steve Arnold taking seventh. In a reduced field 8km (5 x 1.6km) contest, Meenagh and Arnold took first and third spots respectively, though the event saw only one other competitor at the start line for logistical reasons.
Wordley makes Alpine World Cup debut in Killington
18-year-old Nicole Wordley made her World Cup debut at the Killington GS World Cup, in only her third full season of competitive competition. A challenging course saw her record a first run DNF, but the experience will prove invaluable in Wordley’s long-term development as she continues her progress through the Alpine ranks. In the Slalom World Cup, Charlie Guest also took a first run DNF in a race notable for delivering Michaela Shiffrin’s 90th World Cup victory.
GB Snowsport has today confirmed the selection of 14 athletes to the Para Alpine, Para Nordic, and Para Snowboard squads ahead of the coming season.
A ten-athlete Para Alpine squad featuring luminaries of the sport Menna Fitzpatrick and Neil Simpson is joined by a returning three-person Para Snowboard team, with Scott Meenagh named as the sole representative of the Para Nordic squad.
Fitzpatrick and Simpson are named alongside Shona Brownlee, Alex Slegg, Michael Kear, and VI Guides Katie Guest, Andrew Simpson, Rob Poth, Adam Hall, and Louise Harrison in a Para Alpine squad rich in experience and success over recent seasons.
The Para Snowboard squad remains unchanged from last season, with James Barnes-Miller, Ollie Hill, and Nina Sparks seeking to build on a series of high-grade performances last year which returned multiple World Cup and World Championships podiums across the team.
Scott Meenagh, meanwhile, returns in the Para Nordic squad having made history last season with a first ever World Championships medal, delivering on the rich promise that British Para Nordic skiing has shown throughout the past few years.
GB Snowpsort Para Programme Manager, James Redpath, said:
“The stability and success of our Para Snowsport squads has been really clear over recent seasons, and that’s reflected in the growing list of race and competition victories held by athletes named in these squads today.
“This is a really important season for all of our athletes, many of whom will have ambitions to compete at the next Paralympic Winter Games in Milan-Cortina in 2026, and I’d like to congratulate all of them alongside their coaching and support teams for their selections today.”
With pre-season training underway and a number of athletes making their way back from injury, the countdown to the season is on with the first Para Snowboard World Cup scheduled for Landgraaf in late November, while the Para Alpine World Cup season is slated to begin in Steinach am Brenner in mid-December. The Para Nordic calendar is expected to be confirmed shortly.
Full Squad Lists
- Shona Brownlee
- Menna Fitzpatrick
- Katie Guest (Guide)
- Adam Hall (Guide)
- Louise Harrison (Guide – Invitational)
- Michael Kear
- Rob Poth (Guide)
- Andrew Simpson (Guide)
- Neil Simpson
- Alex Slegg
- Scott Meenagh
- James Barnes-Miller
- Ollie Hill
- Nina Sparks
We look forward to working with Phil Smith in the build-up to the 2026 Paralympic Winter Games
GB Snowsport are delighted with the news of ParalympicsGB’s appointment of Phil Smith as Chef de Mission of the British team for the Milan-Cortina Paralympic Winter Games,
Phil, who has built strong relationships with members of the GB Snowsport Paralympic discipline squads, held the same role at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and has been a staunch supporter of British Paralympic skiers and snowboarders throughout his time at ParalympicsGB.
We look forward to working with Phil again in the coming years, and hope to enjoy more positive results at the Milan-Cortina Games following the significant successes seen in Beijing.
Find out more about Phil Smith’s appointment from the British Paralympic Association here.
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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Dave Ryding and Mia Brookes put the crowning touches on an exceptional week of competition for Britain’s Skiers and Snowboarders
A year to the day from his jaw-dropping victory at the Kitzbuehel Slalom World Cup, Dave Ryding was back on the podium for the first time this season as he delivered a blistering second run performance to rise from sixteenth to second on one of the world’s most revered Slalom stages. Remarkably, it was the third time that Ryding had made the podium at Kitzbuehel, having also taken second spot in the 2017 race exactly six years earlier.
In a packed and highly competitive field, Ryding’s first run put him in sixteenth place and with work to do if the race leaders were going to face a challenge from the reigning champion. From the moment he left the gate for this second run, though, it was clear that Ryding wouldn’t relinquish his crown without a fight, putting down a staggeringly fast and technically perfect run that saw him move straight into top spot. In the end, only Switzerland’s Daniel Yule could match Ryding’s endeavours, coming in 0.40s ahead of the Rocket, but 0.31s down on the Brit’s sensational second run time.
Earlier in the competition, Billy Major took an excellent 23rd place finish for his best World Cup finish of the season, while Laurie Taylor just missed out on qualification for the second run.
Incredibly, Ryding’s podium marked Britain’s second snowsport silver of the day, with Mia Brookes earlier delivering on her incredible potential by taking silver in the Laax Open Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup. Competing in only her third World Cup competition, having been ineligible through age last season, and the first Slopestyle World Cup of her career, Brookes was in breath-taking form throughout the weekend, qualifying for Finals in top spot before delivering a sensational performance to leave her with a score of 79.91, behind only Beijing Olympic Gold Medallist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand.
Brookes’ World Cup career has now yielded a ninth place, a fifth place, and a runner’s up spot across three World Cups, with the 16-year-old next set to compete in the prestigious X Games competition later this month.
Brookes will be joined at X Games by Freeski sensation Kirsty Muir, who notched yet another World Cup top-10 with sixth place in the Laax Open Freeski Slopestyle World Cup. Muir’s result came through the qualifying rounds as the Final was eventually called off owing to treacherous weather on a weekend beset by challenging conditions. The result gives Muir her eighth World Cup top-10 finish at the age of just 18, with each of her three World Cup competitions this season ending in the top-10.
In the men’s competitions in Laax, Billy Cockrell came 28th in the Snowboard World Cup, while in the Freeski contest Tyler Harding was the pick of the Brits with a 24th place finish, Chris McCormick coming in in 41st, and Tom Greenway in 48th.
Ollie Davies’ World Cup season continued with 17th and 30th placed finishes in Idre Fjall’s back-to-back Ski Cross World Cups, with the first of the two races granting Davies his second best result of the season after his exceptional seventh place finish in the last of 2022’s World Cup races in Innichen, Italy.
While the Para Alpine World Championships suffered schedule changes and delays due to high winds, the Para Nordic World Championships in Ostersund had enjoyed more serene conditions, and a pair of outstanding results for Britain’s sole competitor at this year’s Championships, Scott Meenagh. His fourth and seventh place finishes in the 7.5km Sprint Biathlon and 18km Individual Classic represented an outstanding demonstration of the skill and strength that Meenagh has shown over his years competing for Britain as a Para Nordic sit skier. The Championships are set to continue until 27 January with Meenagh’s form promising more excellent results.
In the Olympic Cross Country discipline, James Clugnet and Andrew Young took a stunning top-10 finish in the Livigno World Cup Team Sprint, with Clugnet also finishing in the top-20 in the Sprint Free race, coming 17th having qualified for Finals in 7th. Andrew Young came in 32nd, just outside of the qualifying sports for the Quarter Finals round.
The Telemark squad saw their first World Cup races of the season deliver a pair of fourth-place finishes for Jaz Taylor in dual sprint races in Carezza, Italy, with Timote Gough also picking up an excellent 12th place finish in the second of the week’s World Cup races.
At the World Junior Alpine Championships, Calum Langmuir picked up the best British men’s result since 2021 with 17th place in the Super-G competition, with an excellent run which saw him looking close to podium form until a tricky few gates near the bottom of the course. Meanwhile, the World University Games saw Britain’s snowsport athletes bank two medals with Scott Johns taking a first ever British WUGS Ski Cross Gold, while Thea Fenwick took bronze in the Freeski Slopestyle event, just ahead of teammate Olivia Burke in fourth. Jay Hebblethwaite also took fourth in the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle, while Ben Carpenter finished 22nd in both Alpine Snowboard Parallel SL and Parallel GS.
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GB Snowsport are delighted to confirm the British squads set to compete at the Para Alpine World Championships and Para Nordic World Championships this month.
In a break from the model set at last year’s Championships, where all Para snowsport disciplines competed in the same location, this year’s World Championships will see the Para Alpine team compete in Spain’s Espot resort, with the Para Nordic Championships taking place in Ostersund, Sweden.
The Para Alpine squad will see Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games medallists Neil Simpson and Menna Fitzpatrick both compete in the VI class, with Simpson partnered with Rob Poth as his guide, and Fitzpatrick once again guided by Katie Guest. Gary Smith will travel as reserve guide.
The Espot Championships will mark Fitzpatrick’s fourth World Championships at the age of just 24, with a tally of eight World Championships medals in her possession, while Simpson will be competing at World Championships level for the second time, having taken silver in the Super Combined in Lillehammer last year.
In the Sitting class, Alex Slegg is set to compete in his second World Championships having made his debut at the delayed Lillehammer 2021 Championships last January.
The Para Nordic World Championships will see Scott Meenagh travel as the sole British competitor after injuries and retirements ruled out the remainder of the squad who travelled to the Paralympic Winter Games last year. Now into his seventh year of competing internationally in Para Nordic, Meenagh will be looking to build on an exceptional 2021/22 season which saw him claim his best result at a Paralympic Winter Games, with sixth place in the long-distance biathlon.
Paralympic Programme Manager, James Redpath, said:
“These World Championships are a great opportunity to show again how strong Britain’s Para Snowsport programmes are. We’re fortunate to have some incredible athletes representing the nation in both Championships, at a time where Para Snowsport around the world is getting stronger and stronger.
“It’s been a challenging build-up to the Championships, and we’re really disappointed on behalf of those athletes who miss out this year through injury, but we’re all confident in the teams we’re taking out and look forward to an exciting, competitive Championships.”
Para Alpine World Championships – Espot, Spain – 20-29 January 2023
Visually Impaired Classification
- Menna Fitzpatrick
- Katie Guest (Guide)
- Rob Poth (Guide)
- Neil Simpson
- Gary Smith (Reserve Guide)
Sit Ski Classification
- Alex Slegg
Para Nordic World Championships – Ostersund, Sweden – 20-29 January 2023
- Scott Meenagh
Header Image: Menna Fitzpatrick competes in the Para Alpine Skiing Women’s Super Combined Super-G Vision Impaired at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics on March 07, 2022 in Yanqing, China. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Beijing 2022 Paralympians Steve Thomas and Callum Deboys have announced their retirement from Para Nordic skiing, ahead of the beginning of the 2022-23 season.
Both overcame significant hurdles and challenges in the build-up to the Beijing Games to take their place in the biggest ever British Para Nordic squad to compete at a Paralympic Winter Games, with Steve going on to compete in three events and Callum five, with the pair’s highest finishes being a 12th spot in the Open 4 x 2.5km relay event.
Callum’s route into the sport came having undergone an above knee amputation of his left leg in 2017 following a serious road traffic accident. He was introduced to Para Nordic by Scott Meenagh, who had been Britain’s only Para Nordic skier at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Steve meanwhile joined the Para Nordic programme after a storied Paralympic career which took in four Paralympic Summer Games in Sailing, before reversing an earlier retirement decision to compete in Para Nordic at two World Championships in 2019 and 2022 and subsequently the Beijing Games.
Both Steve and Callum have made an enormous contribution to Britain’s Para Nordic programme, and will be greatly missed by teammates across the whole GB Snowsport team. We would like to congratulate them on all their achievements in the sport and wish them well in their next endeavours.
Header image: ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA – MARCH 12: (L-R) Steve Thomas, Steve Arnold, Scott Meenagh, Hope Gordon and Callum Deboys of Team Great Britain pose for a photo on day eight of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre on March 12, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
GB Snowsport have today (4 August 2022) issued the following statement
In light of July’s announcement by UK Sport regarding investment into GB Snowsport for the Milan-Cortina Olympic and Paralympic cycle, we have had to communicate the deeply disappointing news to our Alpine, Cross-Country and Para Nordic athletes that UK Sport have deemed the three disciplines to not be investible for World Class Programme funding.
While all three disciplines have been named for potential funding at national squad level, and UK Sport have ringfenced a minimal amount of programme funding for the Men’s Slalom programme and for Para Nordic, neither investment level is sufficient to sustain elite performance at the levels required.
This is a heavy blow to athletes, coaches, technical staff, and GB Snowsport employees who have shown enormous dedication in their efforts to grow Britain’s standing in Alpine, Cross-Country and Para Nordic skiing, not least through the exceptional on-snow performances of so many of those athletes over the past two seasons.
As a Governing Body, we have worked tirelessly to protect the continued development of our Alpine and Nordic programmes, and we fundamentally disagree with the decision not to invest further into those disciplines, particularly at a time when athletes in all three areas have been delivering some of Britain’s greatest ever results on the snow.
We are now urgently exploring all other options to continue these programmes, including new commercial partnerships, reducing costs throughout the organisation, and seeking greater efficiencies within our programmes, but we do anticipate that difficult decisions will need to be made in the coming weeks. Additionally we will be appealing against the UK Sport decisions, and will want to understand relative comparisons of funding support for other sports, whether Winter or Summer, Olympic or Paralympic.
We also know that this will be extremely dispiriting for everybody who supports and is involved with British Alpine, Cross-Country and Para Nordic Skiing at every level. We feel it is important to take this opportunity to reaffirm our continued belief in the internationally competitive potential of all three disciplines and our commitment to exploring every avenue available to us.
We are grateful to UK Sport for their continued support of our other disciplines, and expect to be able to build on the success demonstrated on snow over the past four years.
IN RESPONSE TO THE DECISIONS OF THE IPC, FIS, AND IBU TO TRANSFER INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE OF THE PARA SNOWSPORT DISCIPLINES, GB SNOWSPORT HAVE COMMENDED THE STRATEGIC THINKING OF THE THREE AGENCIES
GB Snowsport welcomes the decision by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) to transfer governance of Para Alpine Skiing, Para Cross-Country Skiing and Para Snowboard to FIS, and the IPC and International Biathlon Union’s (IBU) confirmation that Para Biathlon’s governance will be transferred to the IBU.
Over recent years, we have seen first-hand the benefits of integrating Olympic and Paralympic snowsport disciplines under the auspices of a single Governing Body system. Not only has that ‘One Team’ ethos strengthened the support available to Para Snowsport teams and athletes, but it has also provided reciprocal benefits to Olympic discipline squads through innovative training, conditioning and competition practices.
We strongly support the decisions made by the IPC, FIS, and IBU and look forward to seeing the growth of all Para snowsport disciplines as the Milan-Cortina Paralympic cycle begins into the new season.
Jayne Kavanagh, GB Snowsport Head of Paralympic Programmes, said:
“This is a really exciting development for the global Para Snowsport community, and I join colleagues around the world in commending the decision of the IPC, FIS, and IBU.
“The past few years have seen so many great examples within GB Snowsport of the benefits of Paralympic and Olympic discipline squads training, developing, and supporting one another as a collaborative group, and this step will hopefully see more opportunities for the sport to join forces, and to grow and thrive together.
“We also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the IPC, whose efforts have been so important in growing the Para Snowsport disciplines to their existing world-renowned status.”
Header Image: Neil Simpson competes during the Men’s Giant Slalom Vision Impaired Run 2 on day six of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre. Photo Credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images.