GB Snowsport athlete Charlotte Bankes was today crowned the 2021 Snowboard Cross world champion at the International Ski Federation Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships in Idre Fjall, Sweden.
25-year-old Charlotte was first in yesterday’s qualifying and followed that up with a dominant performance in today’s action. In a close final she beat current Olympic champion, Michaela Moioli, who took the silver and the current world champion, Eva Samkova who took bronze.
Charlotte, who clinched silver at the 2019 World Championships, said: “I am extremely proud to win gold at the World Championships and to be the first GB Snowsport athlete to win a Snowboard Cross World Championship. It feels like the hard work is paying off and everything is coming together.
I’ve had a great week on this track, it’s been really fast, and I am really pleased I managed to hold it together in the final and stay on my feet. I had fun racing with the girls, Michela and Eva pushed me all the way and I’m really sorry for Belle (Brockoff), it was a really tight race and unfortunately, she crashed out because of me.
I want to say a massive thanks to the GB Snowsport coaches and wider team, but also the GB Snowsport Ski Cross team as well. We’ve worked as one team all preseason and it is great that they were there to watch and now to be able to share this with them means a lot. This win means even more after the really difficult year we have all had. This medal is for all of GB.”
Vicky Gosling, GB Snowsport CEO commented: “We have said that we will change perception, break boundaries and take Britain to heights way behind expectation and we are doing just that. It has been a particularly tough period because of cancelled events due to Covid, and despite this, Charlotte’s resilience, spirit, dedication, and hard work has clearly paid off. It is an incredible result for Charlotte, and I want to give credit to the wider GB Snowsport team who are continuously working behind the scenes to help make sure our athletes can compete at the highest level.”
When was the last time you thought about your progression towards growing into the person you want to be? How long has it been since you’ve taken stock of your successes and setbacks on that journey? Do you know exactly what support you need to excel and reach your personal goals? At the Chill Foundation we work with youth from marginalized identities and backgrounds in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and a growing number of European countries to identify and ignite their personal progression through experiential learning opportunities and the power of boardsports.
Chill is a positive youth development program where boardsports become a vehicle for empowerment. Revolving around a core value-driven curriculum, Chill programs consist of experiential learning activities, reflection, and discussion, paired with board sport lessons. Chill’s six core values (respect, courage, persistence, patience, pride, responsibility) provide youth with a foundation and framework for learning and growth, supported and enhanced through on-board progression and adult mentorship. Chill removes all barriers to accessing boardsports by providing youth with everything they need to get after it, at absolutely no cost. New skills gained through boardsport progression and core-value exploration are then directly applied to everyday life, challenging youth to step out of their comfort zone – both on and off their board.
Everything we do at Chill revolves around providing experiences that lead to learning. In our everyday lives we take part in all kinds of experiences, but it is the intentional selection of experiences that lead to growth. Therefore at Chill we strive to design and select our experiences with that intention in mind. What is an experience at Chill? Doing an icebreaker at the beginning of program, connecting with new people, taking part in the core value activity for the day, learning how to snowboard, skateboard, surf, or stand-up paddleboard!
Challenge by choice defines our culture. It’s all about creating a community that is emotionally safe for all participants. Taken literally, participants are presented with challenges and are given the choice to accept at the level they feel comfortable. It’s not a yes or no, it’s a how and a what. How do you choose to accept this challenge? What do you feel comfortable with?
Every single day at Chill, we challenge youth to step outside their comfort zone and into their growth zone. From one program day to the next, as youth engage in new experiences and overcome challenges and fears, their comfort zone expands. Pretty soon, what was their growth zone is now a part of their comfort zone. And their growth zone is now new territory, which a few weeks ago may have been in their danger zone. It’s all about incremental growth, knowing personal limits, and having the support to make that choice.
Challenge by choice is introduced on day one and revisited every day of program to ensure that youth understand the power of this choice – at Chill and in their daily lives. Through personal goal setting, positive encouragement, and the elimination of imposed completion standards, challenge by choice becomes a cultural norm and a guiding principle for individual growth and achievement.
We know that the global pandemic has had, and continues to have, outsized effects on the communities Chill serves around the world. We have heard directly from our agency partners and the youth we jointly serve that many kids are struggling with a lack of structure, a lack of movement in their lives, and real anxiety about a very uncertain future. These feelings of restriction and the associated negative mental health outcomes are exacerbated for youth that have experienced trauma in their lives. Chill is adjusting our curriculum to address the needs of our participants, ensuring that our programs are a strong link in the overall chain of support that our youth so desperately need.
Chill is looking forward to 2021 as a year of growth and recovery. We are committed to rapidly expanding our programs in Europe, including the registration and launch of Chill UK. For twenty-five years we have harnessed the power of positive youth development paired with boardsports and we are looking forward to being an integral part of young people’s recovery from a challenging 2020.
Chill relies on donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations around the world. We are currently registered as a non-profit, or registration is in process, in 10 countries, with several more to get underway shortly. Please contact Chill to learn more about donating in your specific country. Chill also frequently has mentoring and board service opportunities available depending on country-specific and program needs. Please follow Chill Foundation on social media and visit www.chill.org for up-to-date information and opportunities to contribute to our impactful work.
Thank you for your interest and support! YOU can be a part of Chill’s bright future!
There will be two athletes representing GB Snowsport at the Ski and Snowboard Cross World Championships in Idre, Sweden.
Snowboard Cross athlete, Charlotte Bankes and Ski Cross athlete Ollie Davies, will be competing at the event between 9th to 14th Feb with Snowboard Cross qualifying on 9th Feb and Ski Cross Qualifying on 10th Feb.
Charlotte Bankes, Snowboard Cross Athlete “I am really happy to be heading to Sweden for the World Championships next week, representing GB Snowsport. With a slow start to our season it was great to be back in the gate in Valmalenco. Now I am looking forward to build on that and have some fun racing in Idre.”
Ollie Davies, Ski Cross Athlete “I’m super excited to be selected and competing for GB Snowsport at my second World Championships. With some good skiing in the early part of the winter, I’m feeling positive heading into the event.”
By Charlotte Bankes, GB Snowsport Snowboard Cross Athlete
I grew up with two older brothers, in a pretty active family which meant we spent a lot of time outside. Most of our holidays were spent out in the Southern Alpes in France and I started skiing at around two.
When I was four my parents decided we would all move out to France, which meant spending even more time outside in the mountains, on the snow in the winter and on walking, biking and sailing in the summer. To help us integrate and keep us active and learning new skills, our parents got us involved in lot of the local clubs.
I started snowboarding at around five and got involved in the club at seven. This is when I discovered Snowboardcross. As kids it was all about riding down a course with jumps and lumps and turns in it as fast as you could, very much like what I would do on the slopes trying to keep up with my two older brothers.
I loved it and did all the local races in which I did well which motivated me even more. I started to get even more involved in the sport at the age of fifteen, when I started to race on the international circuit. This was great as the courses got faster and more technical which made it even more challenging with more competitors as well.
Unfortunately, I had a pretty bad injury the first year which meant the first couple of years on these bigger tracks were challenging but I worked hard and was doing well.
In December 2013, I made my World Cup debut in Montafon. For me this was very a very tough step as all the features where bigger, the track was running really fast and I didn’t feel like I had the level to be part of it. Luckily, I could count on the support and reassurance from my brothers who were both on tour as well and this really helped me get over this challenge and not get overwhelmed by everything.
Moving onto the World Cup circuit, I got to experience the best our sport had to offer with great tracks with high speed, big jumps, technical sections and all this riding against the best riders in the world. As each track is different you always get an adrenaline rush before the first training run as you don’t know how it runs but then you just enjoy riding the track and trying to generate speed wherever you can and finding places to overtake by taking different lines from the other riders. This is really the best bit about our sport as it requires us to be always alert and adapt to different situations and then just let the instinct take over while racing.
What do you love about your Discipline?
Snowboardcross is a really fun discipline, I think that what I really enjoy is the fact that it’s a combination of all the aspects of snowboarding and demands that you work on all terrain which really diversifies the training. I also really love the head to head racing, it’s a real adrenaline boost and you always have to be alert and adapt to what the other riders are doing around you.
What do you think is the most important mental and physical attribute for your discipline?
In boardercross you need to be able to adapt and let the instinct take over. Many different types of riders do well so there isn’t a specific attribute needed but it’s important to never give up and persevere. You also need to have power in your legs to generate speed from all the features and have a good feeling on the snow to let the board glide and accelerate.
Who inspires you from inside or outside the sport?
When I was growing up, I really looked up to both my brothers and tried to keep up with them. This was a big challenge as they’re both older than me but has really helped to push me and help me get to where I am now.
In 2006, with our local club we got to go and see the Olympic race to support Pierre Vaultier. He was a part of the club and went on a couple of years later to win several Crystal Globes, Olympic Gold medals and World Championship Gold. That was inspiring for me.
How do you get in the zone before a big event?
I concentrate on the course and try and visualize the whole race track. I think about my strong sections and where I can make a move to overtake.
What is your favourite moment on snow?
I think the most rewarding moment on snow is when you’ve managed to overcome a challenging track and you actually feel comfortable on it. Then racing it with other riders is just really enjoyable and you can push harder to try and generate speed all the way down the track.
Outside of snowboardcross, my most enjoyable times on the snow are powder days in between the trees where you can just lap, and get fresh tracks every time getting that feeling of just floating on the snow.
What would you say to someone wanting to get into your discipline?
It’s a really fun sport, you should come and have a try for sure. The great thing about it is that it’s a mix of all aspect of snowboarding, you need to be a good all-round snowboarder and comfortable on all terrains. Then it’s all about adapting top the terrain and playing with it to generate speed.
In our sport there is a wide range of different types of riders and this makes it fun and also entertaining to watch as each rider as their strengths and weaknesses. It’s also really easy to understand for spectators and easy as riders to know where we stand. You can’t afford to make a mistake when you’ve got 3 riders around which is even harder.