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.
The GB Snowsport Results Round-Up is brought to you by Snow+Rock. Header Image credit Sam Mellish