The Brits'09  - Ski Union

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The Brits’09

The annual UK wintersports and music festival AKA ‘the Brits’ have just taken place in Laax, Switzerland. Not only does the event involve some legendary parties and a great opportunity for the UK industry to get together, but there is also the small matter of the British freeski Championships, so here’s what went down event by event…

The SNO!zone Halfpipe Championships kicked off proceedings despite some challenging weather, and James Machon and Emma Lonsdale attacked the 19ft monster superpipe with style to take top honours and the 2009 SNO!zone British Halfpipe Championship titles.

During the qualification rounds younger competitors including, 11 year old Molly Summerhayes, 12 year old Tyler-Jay Harding and 15 year old Josh Fawcett all stepped it up with impressive runs which secured them a spot through to the finals. In the Women’s final it was Emma Lonsdale who retained her title as the 2009 British Halfpipe Champion with a selection of big and stylish grabs, back to back alley-oops and a smooth zero spin. Second place went to Katie Summerhayes who linked together stylish alley-opps and solid grabs. Claire Hughes finished in third place with a run including smooth back to back alley-oops.

Emma Lonsdale quoted “I’m really happy about winning, I was a little bit worried because Katie had some big spins. It would’ve been nice to have some sunshine but it didn’t matter as the pipe was really nice. I love the BRITS, it’s one of my favourite comps as everyone comes together at the end of the season and celebrates.”

Emma Lonsdale

As the men’s final got underway the clouds rolled in and visibility worsened resulting in scores from the qualification rounds being used. James Machon qualified in top spot taking the 2009 British Halfpipe title after an impressive and stylish run including huge back to back flares and a zero spin 540. Second place went to James Woods, who threw down a run full of ally-opp 540’s and flares. Third place went to Charlie Richards who was going huge with a combination of back to back flares.

The Halfpipe podium, James Machon is straddled by James Woods on the left, and Charlie Richards on the right

James Machon quoted “It’s great to win as I came second last year. The weather didn’t bother me as I felt really confident. It was great to compete again at the BRITS it’s the most fun event of the year and it’s great to see all my friends and family”

Halfpipe Video Review Other >>

SNO!zone British Halfpipe Championship Results
1st – Emma Lonsdale, Settle
2nd – Katie Summerhayes, Sheffield
3rd – Claire Hughes, Fife

1st – James Machon, Bamford
2nd – James Woods, Sheffield
3rd – Charlie Richards, Sheffield

The second day of the British Freeski Championships saw stylish and solid runs as the best of British freeskiers attacked the course for the Animal British Slopestyle Championships, with youngsters James Woods and Katie Summerhayes dominating the day. And if that action wasn’t already enough for the crowds to take in, Animal’s Pro Mountain Biker Sam Pilgrim, winner of Europe’s biggest dirt Slopestyle events, also stepped up to the Animal Slopestyle Challenge at this year’s BRITS by hitting the course on his bike, alongside his Animal team mates, Freeskier James Webb and Team GB Snowboarder, Dom Harington!

Sam Pilgrim gives an alternative to the thats Gnar!

With the top six women from the qualifications going through to the final, it was the youngest competitor of the day, Katie Summerhayes, 13, who won her first ever BRITS, with a winning run consisting of tail tap over the barrel jib, 180 on the wall, switch up on the box followed by two super high grabbed airs in the quarterpipe. Katie then did a 360 with a solid grab, a 720 and a 540 on the kickers. Claire Hughes scooped the silver with jib over the barrel, a switch up on the box and two big airs in the quarterpipe. On the kickers Claire did a switch 180, 360, and then a straight air off the big kicker. Last years reigning champion Emma Lonsdale took the third spot with a 180 over the barrel, to switch wall ride and a solid grind on the box, followed by two huge grab mute airs in the pipe. On the kicker section she did a switch 180, 360, finishing off with a 180.

Katie Summerhayes said of her win – “It’s an amazing feeling to have won, especially as this is only my second time competing at the BRITS and is my first overall title win at the event. I just can’t believe it, I’ve had a great day competing.”

It was a super tight final in the men’s category with the 12 finalists pulling out all of the stops in the hope of winning the coveted title, keeping the crowds entertained with their array of world class riding. It was regular competitor and winner on the British Snow Tour, James Woods, who was crowned the king of the Animal British Slopestyle Championships, after his impressive and faultless run, consisting of a tailtap 180 out, switch tail press on the wall, 450 out on the street rail followed by huge stylish airs and flares in the quarterpipe. Finishing his run off with a 720 nosegrab, a double lincoln and a switch cork 9. It was super tight between first and second place, with the silver medal going to reining champion and Animal’s very own James Webb. He started off his faultless run with a handplant frontflip over the hitching post, the only competitor to use it, followed by a 180 stall on the wall, a 270 switch up, a massive straight air and air to fakie in the quarterpipe. Over the kickers he chose a switch cork 9, Double Front Flip, followed by a cheeky front flip off the knuckle and then a 9 mute grab to finish. Julian Ball took the final podium spot with a 360 handplant on the snow, 180 stall on the wall, regular 270 off the rail and high airs in the pipe. His tricks of choice for the kickers were a DSpin 7, double backflip, a definite crowd pleaser, and a switch rodeo 7 to finish.

Mens slopestyle podium

“The competition was pretty intense and such a high level of riding from everyone. This is my first time for winning overall gold at the BRITS so I’m so stoked to have won.” Said James Woods of his win.

Slopestyle Video Review

More Other >>

Animal British Slopestyle Championship Results
1st – James Woods, Sheffield
2nd – James Webb, Bracknell
3rd – Julian Ball, Kent

1st – Katie Summerhayes, Sheffield
2nd – Claire Hughes, Fife
3rd – Emma Lonsdale, Settle

Following on from the exceptional standard witnessed in the Slopestyle Championships earlier in the week all were excited and anticipation was in the air to see what the freeskiers would pull out of the bag for the final day of competition, the Quiksilver British Freeski Big Air Championships. Despite the slow snow conditions, the standard of riding was immense, with both Katie Summerhayes and James Woods winning their second gold medals of the week.

In the women’s competition, six went through to a two run, best-run counts final. Youngster, Katie Summerhayes, fresh from winning the gold in the Slopestyle earlier in the week took the title after landing a solid 360 mute grab off the big kicker, whilst Claire Hughes came in second place with a stylish 360 off the big kicker. Jessica Thom did a 720 off the medium kicker, slightly backseat on landing, to take third.

“I am so happy to have won as I came 2nd last year so I really wanted to win this time and it is such an amazing feeling coming away from the BRITS with two gold medals, I still can’t quite believe it”. – Said Katie Summerhayes on her win.

In the men’s competition, 12 of Britain’s finest freeskiers went through to the final in the hope of winning the coveted title. After the super high standard that was thrown down in the Slopestyle Championships earlier in the week, the finals were set to be an extremely close one for the judges as well as an exciting one for the crowds as all of the finalists went big and pulled out all the stops. James Woods, who’s been on top form all week and fresh from victory in the Slopestyle, added another gold medal to his collection, winning with a perfect textbook switch 900 mute grab. With his first appearance of the week, Paddy Graham, was on fine form taking the second spot after stomping a super stylish and floaty switch 720 crossed out mute grab. Third spot went to Joe Tomlinson who impressed the judges with a Switch 900 misty mute grab.

woodsy tweaks his way to victory

“I’m super stoked to have won a second gold medal at the BRITS. Winning this and the Slopestyle in the same week is an amazing feeling as I’ve had so many second place finishes in the past. Competing at the BRITS is such a great feeling as you get so much support from the crowd, so it certainly feels great to have won here twice!”. – Said James woods of his second win of the week.

Big Air Video Review

More Other >>

Quiksilver British Big Air Championship Results
1st – James Woods, Sheffield
2nd – Paddy Graham, Sheffield
3rd – Joe Tomlinson, Rossendale

1st – Katie Summerhayes, Sheffield
2nd – Claire Hughes, Fife
3rd – Jessica Thom,


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