Rocket rides into history books, Lillehammer lays down Paralympic marker

Rocket rides into history books, Lillehammer lays down Paralympic marker

An historic weekend for British snowsport saw Dave Ryding take the nation’s first ever Alpine World Cup win, while in Lillehammer the Para Snowsport Squad continued their remarkable run of form at the World Para Snow Sports Championships.

On a course that has long been written into the annals of Alpine skiing lore, Dave Ryding rode into the history books in Kitzbuehel, Austria, on Saturday, taking Britain’s first ever Alpine World Cup victory. Having recorded his previous best result at the same venue with a second place finish in 2017, Ryding’s time of 1:41.26 was enough to hold off the Norwegian pair of Lucas Braathen in second, and Henrik Kristoffersen in third.

Placed sixth after the first run, the Rocket put down a blistering second run of 49.86 and then watched as those after him were unable to match his combination of skill, balance, and speed on the course. Ryding’s victory was confirmed when Italy’s Alex Vinatzer saw errors lose him time, and sparked wild celebrations in Austria and back home in Britain.

The result takes Ryding’s career World Cup podiums to four, all of which have come in his 30s, and marks a serious show of late-career intent on the day after Ryding was confirmed as part of the Team GB squad for the Beijing Olympic Winter Games starting next month.

Speaking to GB Snowsport after his win in Kitzbuehel, Dave said:

Hard work pays off, and this was a victory that everybody – my fiancée,  my coach Tristan, my wax tech Jai, Billy, Laurie, Alain Baxter, my ski tech Ryan, all the sponsors, the Lottery, and everyone involved at GB Snowsport and UK Sport – played a part in.

I always said I’d be proud of myself if I knew I gave my best, and Saturday showed what my best can lead to. I hope if there’s young skiers who were watching on Saturday in Britain, they can look at it and know it’s possible for them too. It’s hard work, and there’s ups and downs, but I promise it’s all worth it.”

Meanwhile, at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Britain’s Para Snowsport squad continued their remarkable form this season, taking the country’s overall medal tally from the Championships to 10.

A 1-2 in the Para Alpine VI Super Combined saw Millie Knight and Brett Wild crowned World Champions with Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest taking silver. Fitzpatrick and Guest later notched gold of their own in the VI Slalom race, giving Britain a brace of Para Alpine World Champions heading into the Paralympic Games in Beijing. Neil Simpson and Andrew Simpson took silver in the Super Combined, while James Barnes-Miller took his personal Championships tally to three with Snowboard cross silver, followed by a bronze in the team event competing alongside Ollie Hill.

Shona Brownlee’s Sitting Super Combined bronze added to her earlier silver in the Sitting Super-G in an astonishing World Championships debut. More detail on the team’s outstanding performances in Lillehammer will be available in our dedicated post-Championships round-up, coming later.

Aspen, Colorado, played host to a remarkable X Games competition which saw four British skiers take on one of the world’s most iconic freestyle sport gatherings. Zoe Atkin’s fourth place in Superpipe was the pick of the results, while Kirsty Muir landed an outstanding fifth spot having learned just one run before competition began that she would step up to compete from her alternate position. James Woods bagged sixth in Slopestyle, while Gus Kenworthy signed off on his X Games career with ninth in Superpipe on his 32nd Games appearance.

The weekly GB Snowsport results summary is presented in association with Snow+Rock

Header Image: Dave Ryding celebrates victory at Kitzbuehel World Cup, January 2022 Photo: Gepa Images/Wolfgang Grebien

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