The youngsters stepped up to hold their own against the established names at the Animal Freeski Slopestyle on the second day of the BRITS. “It was the best slopestyle finals I’ve ever seen,” commented MC Pat Sharples, “The course held up really well and the standard was just sky high – it wasn’t just British class it was world class.”
With a cool cloud cover keeping the course in pristine condition all day, Katie Summerhayes, aged 14, showed the crowd why she’s in the world’s elite by throwing down a clean run that included a long rail slide on the street rail and a switch 5 Japan, a 7 then a 5 to win Gold for her second consecutive year. Sissy Herant, also 14, showed a solid combination of rail slides on the top section of the C-Box and wall ride. She then booted a 3 off the big kicker and a 5 of the bottom one to take second place. Kelly O’Donnell, aged 19, pulled a Switch 5, a Straight air and then one of the biggest 7s of the day to take third place.
Other stand-out performances from the girls came from the next generation of female stars – nine-year old Maddy Rowlands showed the crowd she’s not only the youngest but one of the finest by going big over all of the kickers. Molly Summerhayes, who qualified in third place had one of the cleanest runs of the day and laid down some textbook rail slides, followed by a super smooth wall ride. She then stomped a 360 mute on the first kicker, followed by a truck driver on the second and a big 540 on the third.
Katie Summerhayes said: “It’s amazing. I won it last year and I didn’t expect to win again this year – big up to the other girls they were all great – this week is the best week of the year for me.”
In the men’s qualifiers, 30 riders threw down all the stops in the hope of getting one of the 12 spots in the finals – it was an open fight and some of the new breed proved they’re tough competition for the established names. But ultimately, the final podium places were a dual between James Woods and Paddy Graham. Woodsy secured his second consecutive Gold with a 270 upslide onto the street rail, a double flip, a 9 tail shifty followed by a switch 10. Paddy Graham, made his run look like a walk in the park with a run that featured a corked 540 off the wall ride, followed by huge clean switch cork 9, double cork 10, cork 9 tail on the kickers to land second place. James Machon, the current British Halfpipe champion, fresh from training in the States proved he’s also handy on the slopestyle and laid down a really smooth pretzel 450 off on the box then stomped a 9 tail, switch 9, and 7 to take third.
James Woods said: “The course was fun and it was quite similar to the course I did a few weeks ago at the European Open so maybe I had a little bit of a head start on the practice, but I’m pretty stoked because the European Open got cancelled because of the weather so I finally got to put down my run today so I’m absolutely psyched. I can’t really put it into words – it’s not just the competition, it’s great to catch up with all my ski and snowboarding friends and seeing what everyone’s been up to in the winter so winning is the cherry on the icing on the cake!”
Animal British Slopestyle Championship Results
1st – James Woods
2nd – Paddy Graham
3rd – James Machon
1st –Katie Summerhayes
2nd –Sissy Herant
3rd – Kelly O’Donnell